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October 8, 2008

IBM helps salvage cancelled Virtual Worlds Forum Europe 2008

A serious incident on Sunday morning at The Bridge venue in London resulted in the suspension of the Virtual Worlds Forum Europe 2008, which was due to take place there this week. Although it was impossible for organisers to find an alternative venue at such short notice, incredibly delegates were still able to meet up and network, thanks to some rapid reorganising, innovative thinking and the help of IBM.

The incident involved the shooting of a member of the public, who tragically died in hospital. As a result, the police closed The Bridge for several days.

Although, the Virtual Worlds Forum could not take place as planned, some of the networking events and parties were able to go ahead, and the four-day pass to London venue the Hospital remained, with the South by South West party also going ahead on Monday night at Digress City, City Point 1.

Despite the major disruption, networking and meetings still took place all day at the Hospital during the scheduled period of the forum. What’s more, the quick and creative thinking of the organisers and associated companies also meant that two innovative alternatives to the forum were set up to make the most of the fact that many key guests had been unable to cancel their trip.

First, the Virtual Worlds Forum Unplugged – Unconference was held on 7 October at the Hospital, bringing together those delegates that were still in London. The event consisted of informal sessions throughout the day.

In addition, Second Life camp – The Show Must Go On was kindly set up by IBM as a virtual ‘refugee camp’ expo for displaced avatars at the company’s Virtual Business Center in Second Life, meaning people could still meet up virtually.

The organisers plan to reschedule the Virtual Worlds Forum, probably early in the New Year.

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