Cybercafes in Boston, New York, San Francisco, London, and Paris tomorrow morning will host a sneak preview of what may be the world's first virtual reality trade show schedule for later this month.
InterAct 96 is an entirely Web-based conference scheduled for April 23-25. Attendees with VRML-enabled browsers will be able to send 3D avatars--or representations of themselves such as a person, dog, or other animate or inanimate objects--to navigate a 3D, virtual trade show floor. Each booth will include information about the company's products in video, audio, and text formats that is activated once the user enters the booth. If users are interested in talking to a company representatives, they can go off to a real-time chat room. Registration is free, and the InterAct site will provide users with a "toolbox" for participating in the event.
Many of the speakers scheduled to appear at the conference--cosponsored by InfoWorld, Time, and Stratus Computers--will also be on hand for tomorrow's preview, which will link several test sites via White Pine Software's CU-SeeMe videoconferencing technology.