cross-posted from my Second Life blog
1 IBM’s plans for Second Life
Robin Bloor from IT-Director.com reports on an email from a reader of his. The email gives some stunning insight into why IBM are in SL and what they plan. Cop this:
“IBM’s interest in Second Life is not a fad chasing, or passing, gesture. With a 2007 commitment of $100M in Second Life development, they are fathoms ahead of others in this arena. They are not fools. Most of IBM’s Second Life development is not even open to the public. They have built large scale office parks off the public grid, accessible only to IBM employees, where far flung global team members are given virtual offices, replacing tele/video conferencing as the primary mode of holding project meetings, augmented by Voice over IP. Note that VoIP is the next major interface enhancement that will be implemented within the Second Life application. Headset based eye-wear is sure to follow soon. As bandwidth increases and compression/streaming technologies improve, the realism of the platform will continue to evolve in the same exponential manner as we’ve seen in video games over the past decade.
“Neither is IBM’s interest a gamble on Second Life’s success. It is an investment in a new communication paradigm. While other companies are looking at Second Life as a short term PR based marketing opportunity, IBM is busy becoming THE company with extensive experience in VR based business practices—the business implications of operating a global company with full integration of Virtual Reality as a business communications platform. A communication tool where geography presents no limitations on speech, sight, or the full spacial interaction between participants. Whether Linden Lab’s product, or a competitor’s, becomes the standard is not so relevant. It is the experience with Virtual Reality as a business tool that is of value. This experience will transfer to any successful VR platform. In time, as VR joins the web, email, instant messaging, video conferencing, the telephone, the cell phone, the PDA, the fax machine, as just another ubiquitous communication tool, when other companies are just waking up to the notion, IBM will already be positioned as the authority on Virtual Reality best practices. All this, at a time when many companies are only pretending to have their internet/ intranet/extranet strategies in place. For many businesses, VR could prove a greater impact than even the internet itself.”
2 Wagner James Au reports on an interesting tidbit: that the Cayman Islands (does the word ‘tax haven’ mean anything to you?) are home to some of the most interesting SL members.
“Over the last several decades, the Caymans have existed as an artificial appendage to the global economy, a country that thousands of corporations call home– even if their headquarters is a mere mailing address. (And here’s a good place to note that corporations are themselves a kind of avatar, a fictitious entity authorized by governments to conduct business as if they were a person.)
“So now, with our active Cayman Residents, the circle of economic unreality is almost surely complete: real money is converted into the currency of a virtual world, which is then converted back into the real money of a semi-virtual country, where it becomes the assets of a company that only exists as a post office box by the Caribbean sea.”
3 “Now You Aren’t Listening”
“Geert Desager, a Marketing Manager for Microsoft, commissioned this commercial, The Break Up, to show the relationship between most advertisers and their consumers. While it was intended to reflect real life situations, it certainly rings true in Second Life.
“Does this sound like any real life companies that came to Second Life? How many of them showed up to much fanfare only to never be heard from again?”
Good point, Moo — it’s not about the launch, it’s about the ongoing value your enterprise brings to the/any community.
4 Moo also notes that Linux users are having to stay voiceless for a little while yet. Even though Mac and Win users can now have ‘voice’ within SL, lil’ ol’ Linux is left behind again.
As I’m seriously toying with the idea of moving my noisy notebook across to Linux, this is a bit of a nuisance.
5 Baggies and a northern accent are a must
Says the paper,
“Clicks and Links, which specialises in making the internet available to people who wouldn’t otherwise discover it, have created a Manchester in the Second Life virtual world.
“The city, which includes virtual bars and art galleries, could also include virtual apartment buildings if deals with developers in the real world are agreed.”
6 IBM and Wimbledon and Second Life
Back in January of this year (it feels like ages ago!) I was given a fantastic sneak preview of what IBM had been up to when they allowed me to visit their Australian Open site.
Now they’re at it (of course!) with Wimbledon. Bloody stunning and can’t wait to see if I can wangle a press pass!
7 Ninja Crayon is launching a new soho entrepreneurial venture in Second Life, and will blog about it. Worth following…
8 Metaverse points out that the ‘Walled Garden’ approach will not work for Virtual World customers.
Courtesy of Metaverse is Cisco Systems Christian Renaud, who in one
of the most important blog posts we’ve seen on the subject in months, goes into great details on the state of play in the business of virtual worlds. Where are we now? Right back at the beginning, right back at the BBS.
Christian predicts the following:
- Right now we have one major player, few minor
- Entropia’s recent China deal could be a game changer
- One year from now, 3 or 4 major players will be competing for customers on many fronts. They will also discover that a large part of their success may rely on how much data from outside of their world they can bring in. Think web services, RSS etc.
- 3-5yrs from now, attrition and consolidation will have boiled the market down to 2 or 3 big players. Customers are demanding standards, and interoperability
- Adoption = 20% Gartner got it wrong [But everyone knew that – Lee]
- 5-7 years from now, there will be a “rich immersive standard” with Avatar portability, but the major players, like Netscape and Microsoft before them, will snipe at each other with proprietory extensions to those standards at the expense of users for some time to come.
Interesting views and, as Metaverse say, interesting times.