Virtual receptionist project

I am going to build my dream woman. Or maybe a man. Someone who will greet me warmly when she sees me.

She’ll take messages for me, tell me if there’s someone waiting for me in my office,  send me a teleport request, greet visitors by name, give landmarks to people — or teleport them straight to where they want to go. She’ll offer them a subscription to our magazine — in the form of a group invite.

My inspiration -- the OSGazet receptionist -- at hg.osgrid.org:80:osgazet.

And I’m going to make the script open source and share it with people. If you’re interested, take a look at my planned functionality and suggest any other features that might be useful.

Initialization

You stop by Hyperica and pick up a box labeled “Desk with receptionist” with a nice picture of a receptionist sitting at a desk. It contains the desk, the chair, the sitting animation, everything else you need. You can replace the desk and chair or edit them if you don’t like the way they look.

There’s a notecard labeled “Receptionist Name” — open it and edit it to change it.

You place the box in your reception and area, deed it to your group (group of employees, tenants, whatever) and touch the activate button.

It puts out the desk, the chair, the sitting pose, the message pad.

It creates a blank notecard called “Visitors” and a blank notecard called “Guestbook.”

And it makes an identical copy of you and sits the clone down behind the desk. That way, you can have a receptionist looking any way you want, just by putting on a different skin and outfit. Her avatar name is whatever’s in the “Receptionist Name” notecard.

Then the receptionist says hello to you, and checks if you’re in its group or its owner.

If you’re not in its group, it checks to see whether you’re on the list of Visitors — and if you’re not, it says, “I see this is your first time here” and adds you to the visitor list.

The virtual receptionist on the Metropolis grid.

For owners

If you’re in the owner group, she’ll check the notecard with your name on it to see if you have any messages. If there are, she can hand you the notecard, or read the messages to you. Then she’ll ask you if you want her to save the messages or delete them, and do that.

She’ll also tell you how many visitors have stopped by today.

And — this part is just for me — how many dead gate reports there have been today, by pulling this data down from a Google spreadsheet. But really, you can have her report anything at all if its out there on the Web somewhere.

She will also tell me if any of the other owners are online, and, if so, where they are.

And she’ll add you to a notecard called “Owners.” (If you’re on the Owner notecard, but you’re no longer a member of the group — she’ll take you off the notecard and express regret that you’re no longer on it.)

For visitors

She’ll ask you if you want to see someone in particular. If there’s only one owner, she can say something like “Are you here to see Maria?” — otherwise, she can give a choice. And if that person isn’t there, she can say that, and say, “I’ll tell them that you stopped by.”

She’ll ask you if you want to leave a message. If you do, you chat it, and it gets added to a notecard with the owner’s name on it.

Or she’ll ask you if you had an appointment, and, if yes, she’ll send an instant message and ask you if you want to wait in the lobby, or in their office. And if in the office, she’ll teleport you there. And if in the lobby, she’ll tell you to walk ahead and have a seat.

Whether to send visitors to offices or not can be a setting, part of a “Configuration” notecard.

If it’s your first time visiting, she’ll ask you if you want to sign a guest book, and if you do, you chat a message, and it gets added to the Guestbook notecard and displayed in the Guestbook on the desk.

She can also check Hyperica to see whether there are any events scheduled for today. If there’s anything within the next hour or so, she can offer to teleport them there. Otherwise, she can offer them a notecard with a direction to the event. Or she can have an inventory of landmarks to event locations, and hand those out, instead.  Or she can check a public Google calendar, or a Facebook group — anything that’s on the Web, and public, and has location information stored in a consistent way.

List of OpenSim-specific functions I will use

To save lists of visitors, or lists of employees: osMakeNotecard (I don’t know if there are any commands to edit notecards, but I can always use llRemoveInventory to delete it and just write a new notecard with the same name.)

To retrieve the list from the notecard: osGetNotecard

To invite the visitor to a group: osInviteToGroup

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maria@hypergridbusiness.com'

Maria Korolov

Maria Korolov is editor and publisher of Hypergrid Business. She has been a journalist for more than twenty years and has worked for the Chicago Tribune, Reuters, and Computerworld and has reported from over a dozen countries, including Russia and China.

  • That is an impressive list. Should work though. Love to see the result, when is it ready?

    • I got as far as getting her to jump out of a box! 🙂 but give me time!

  • The OSSL notecard functions are nice. I’ve often wished LSL supported the ability to modify notecards via script. The documentation on osMakeNotecard lists its “threat level” as “High” which is why, i assume, LL has not implemented something similar in LSL. What are the risks of notecard modifying scripts ?

    Anyway, good idea and good luck! I have been working on something similar only within the constraints of LSL in Second Life.

    • Maybe because a script could create a million notecards and bog down the asset server?

      Or maybe it’s a slippery slope. First scripts modify notecards. Next, they modify landmarks. Then, they modify the very fabric of reality as we know it. 

  • I can’t wait to see her (or him) when she’s (or he’s) done!

  • Thank you for getting me excited about this. I am having so much fun playing with my npc now. I have ideas for a million of them. I’ll bring your receptionist flowers and candy on secretaries day. 🙂 Good luck. Keep us updated.

  • poor thing, you are making her a slave – i’m gonna start a call for avatar rights!  =D

    pretty cool Maria and i like your receptionist idea! very, very cool  =)

  •  sounds great. I would also add a option to send a email notification.

  • I was thinking of having her automatically check my Google calendar and tell me if I had anything scheduled for the day … and use Wolfram Alpha to answer questions.

    This would mean that, for each owner, she’d need to save their public Google calendar URL, their zip code… maybe even a language for multi-lingual offices. But I’d save that for v.2.

  • Thanks! I can definitely see myself chopping this up into a multi-purpose conversation script.

    Level one: office-specific stuff — where are the owners, leave a message, what’s on my schedule.

    Level two: the Eliza-style chats, but edited to fit in with what a receptionist might say, particularly catching anything with “you” or “yourself” in it.

    Level three: Ship questions of to Wolfram Alpha to answer.

  • Can’t wait to see this in action.  Are you using this now?

    • not yet. been swamped with other work. 🙁

      • Well Maria, if you are too busy for a great project like this may I suggest you use a service like http://www.unitedcallcenter.com/.  We’d LOVE to help you so you could get more work done!