Virtualis Convention and Learning Center™ Expands Due to Demand

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Virtualis™ expands in Second Life™ based upon demand for virtual solutions for meetings, conventions and special events, doubling in size to accommodate 360 virtual attendees.

The New Virtualis Boardroom

The key to making this environment work was to gather together the right people from our industry aligning our talents and needs with those who are well-versed in their areas of expertise within Second Life™.

Today, Dan Parks, President and Creative Director of Corporate Planners Unlimited, Inc. announced the expansion of Virtualis Convention and Learning Center™ due to increased demand. Virtualis™ is the largest and most meticulously-designed convention center in the revolutionary, computer-generated world of Second Life™. Second Life™ is accessible through a free downloadable application - the Second Life™ Browser. Using this application, people can create a graphical 3D representation of themselves, avatars, which can be maneuvered within the Second Life world.

Mirroring lavish real-world convention centers, Virtualis™ boasts state of the art facilities with educational breakout rooms, a grand ballroom, an exhibition hall and a new arena to accommodate as many as 360 virtual meeting, symposium, convention, special event and teambuilding attendees.

Virtualis has doubled in size in less than a year based upon the need for corporations and associations to find virtual solutions as a result of economic trends as well as long-term focus on corporate social responsibility and the reduction of carbon imprint. One company who recently held a meeting for 75 virtual attendees from five global destinations without leaving their desks asked if Parks could bring in several hundred attendees from around the globe. Virtualis™ Founder, Parks, immediately responded to the need by purchasing two additional virtual parcels of land and commenced with the expansion and relocation of existing buildings to build the new arena to meet 1Q 2009 demands.

The expansion includes an arena with a center stage allowing each attendee to hear live presentations with colleagues and/or peers all in real-time. From each of the quadrants of the arena design are four additional breakout rooms where virtual attendees walk through glass tunnels to go to their respective smaller sessions. Additional space is available if the agenda has need within the vast space offered at Virtualis™. The innovative design of the new arena also will incorporate the same technology to integrate any form of white paper into a slide show presentation on multiple viewing screens along with live and/or streaming audio and video from external inputs. The construction of the build allows the balance of virtual property support with maximum capacity to be managed within a large oval arena centered on the four parcels. This means each attendee will have a seamless in-world, virtual experience all from the comfort of their own computer workstation. In addition, Virtualis™ has added a 22 seat Executive boardroom downstairs along with 6 additional breakout rooms, bringing the total to 10 individual breakout rooms. One of the new breakout rooms has been customized to be an exact duplicate of the room that will be used at MPI's Meet Different Educational Conference in Atlanta to discuss Second Life.

After discovering initial success in Second Life™ with his MeCo (Meetings Community) Mansion which served as a test model for Parks and his team, Parks went to work on the initial build of Virtualis™ with the grand opening launch held in April 2008.

Spurring the expansion has been the rising fuel costs, corporate budget cuts, reduction of carbon imprinting and security concerns. Parks realized it was the right time to introduce a virtual solution, with real-life components, to accommodate meetings and events in a cost-effective and safe manner by industry professionals. His original instincts formed over two years ago have proven right and the expansion is timely as clients look for virtual solutions. Unlike other platforms, Second Life™ is 3D and robust with the ability to integrate various inputs as well as orchestrating compelling agendas. Says Parks, "We keep looking for a new and better option daily, but so far, nothing comes close to the offerings of Second Life™ and the support they offer along with their financial viability".

Parks states, "My team of experts and I have successfully produced in-world programs at Virtualis™ with wonderful testimonials from not only the attendees, but accolades from our strategic partners who have been immersed in Second Life™ with real business enterprises such as filming documentaries. A highlight video for one of the meetings recently held in Virtualis for Trend Micro, the Internet security corporation, can be viewed here: http://blip.tv/file/1391317/.

"The key to making this environment work was to gather together the right people from our industry aligning our talents and needs with those who are well-versed in their areas of expertise within Second Life™." Industry peers are now receiving mandates to find virtual solutions to their programming needs and based upon the requests for proposals (RFP's) Corporate Planners Unlimited, Inc. has received in the past several months, it became abundantly clear Virtualis™ needed to expand to accommodate greater numbers of attendees. "Virtualis™ has also received growing attention from the association market as they are looking to expand reach with their audiences and provide exhibitors the opportunity to have 24/7 exposure even when their booths are unmanned in-world," shares Parks.

With the ability to engage the human senses, sans smell and taste, and integrate PowerPoint, .jpeg and .pdf slides along with live and streaming audio and video, presenters and attendees are able to achieve a complete meeting experience in Virtualis--without ever leaving the comfort of their home or office. Avatars can meet and network with others, gather meaningful educational content, visit different tradeshow booths, attend live events, engage in competitive teambuilding activities and even relax by a gleaming pond or retreat to an outdoor fire pit area for a private place to network or engage in group work with colleagues.

The expansion now provides 58,000 square meters of meeting, convention and exhibition space. Customization is key in Virtualis™ and recreations of real trade show booth builds can easily be recreated and equipped with technology allowing people to walk into the booth and receive a notecard with show specials, URL links to website, streaming video of product or service or a powerful slide show presentation.
To further ensure program success, Parks has assembled a team of Certified Meeting Professionals (CMP's) and a Certified Special Event Professional (CSEP) which no other facility has in Second Life™. Virtualis™ is the only Second Life™ meeting facility managed and operated by award-winning and experienced hospitality and meeting industry professionals. The Virtualis™ Team truly understands planner needs based upon solid goals and objectives.

Interested parties can schedule a preview tour of Virtualis and/or an interview with Dan Parks, Virtualis Founder, by contacting him at cpudan (at) mac (dot) com or calling (800) 493-2545 Ext. 201 or visit the Virtualis website at http://www.virtualiscenter.com.

About Corporate Planners Unlimited, Inc.
Corporate Planners Unlimited, Inc. (CPU) is a full service meeting planning, event planning, and corporate travel company all in one. Whether it is the planning and execution of business meetings, group travel service or corporate event planning, CPU provides total quality services worldwide. We plan and implement meetings, events, conferences, and trade shows, featuring online registration services, registration web page design and development, combined with VIP travel services to their satisfied clients. For more information, visit http://www.corporateplanners.com.

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