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Monday, February 16, 2009

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cube

My guess is that more people get lost and make false turns into these companies realife office's parking lots each day than visit the SL sims then.

What does that suggest about these projects value beyond the initial
press release.

Maybe new thoughts are needed.:)

Gaynor Gritzi

The trouble is that no-one would visit the real life offices of these places unless they had a real life business reason to do so.

None of them are Disneyland, and I'm guessing that their Second Life versions aren't either.

The only one I've ever visited (in SL) is the Nissan sims, and actually had quite a nice time there trying the cars and looking round. But that was when they were newish and still getting publicity.

The really interesting thing though is that it seems even the corporate people at these companies aren't using their sims for their business meetings. If they can't be bothered, why would anyone else?

Drew Stein

Interesting thing so, most of the developers I know of including my own company have clients who's sims are private, who presences are unknown and who use the sims for corporate meeting and such. So how would these clever little bots know of their existence in order to count the green dots on them.

Sounds to me like another wasted survey full of incomplete info so a consultant can get there name in the press. I like the idea, you no longer have to build an SL presence to get your PR hit, now you just do an inaccurate or semi accurate job at counting green dots and you get the same hit. Its a stroke of genius, don't you think

Loraan Fierrens

@Gaynor: Speaking as a cog in a very large machine (I work for a large company that shall remain nameless but is not mentioned in this article), I can tell you that the reason these companies don't use their SecondLife sims for business meetings has a lot to do with the fact that us cogs would have to treat it as a public place. Corporate espionage is a very real issue for these companies, and we have strict rules about what we can say and where. If a conversation can be overheard (we're in a café) or if sensitive information can be intercepted (we are using a cell phone), in many cases we are not allowed to share it.

SecondLife has the problem that, even if you have a private sim, you don't really know where IMs, chat text, voice data, or images are going or who might be able to intercept them. All that data would be going outside the company's network and direct control. For some company's (including mine) this is a big no-no.

This is not to say, incidentally, that no one is using SecondLife technologies for business meetings. Some companies may have more relaxed rules than mine does. Also, some companies might be using completely internal versions of SecondLife (e.g. Open Simulator installed on internal servers). I'm sure people are experimenting with it. There is a lot of work being done in these big companies around how to get dispersed teams working more effectively. Heck, it's why I started using SecondLife in the first place.

Here's an analogy: if you were to go to my company's head office, you would find a big, pretty meeting room right of the reception foyer. It's got comfy chairs, slick flat panel screens, and wood furnishings. Anybody can walk into it, and it's empty 95% of the time. The real meetings happen behind the locked doors the security guards are watching. Those meeting rooms are cramped, a bit dingy, and 95% of the time they are booked.

Louis Platini

@cube: Low average visitor counts does not imply that those sims are not used a lot for meetings. If you have a meeting once a day with 50 avatars and no visitors during the other hours, the average visitor count for that day is 2. This means a weekly average visitor count of 50 is very high!

@Loraan: More and more companies are using hosted services (for example their mail server). Also business critical application are often hosted by ISPs, such ERPs, accounting software, etc. The arguments you used where valid 5 years ago for hosted applications, so why have all those companies that provide hosted services a profitable business today?

Maggie Darwin

The IBM site has some features useful for beginning scripters.

The Sun Micro site, sad to say, is a total snooze, and has not had any signficant updating (unless you count deletions as "updating") in the last year or so). I'd very much like to see them do more with it, being a Java developer IRL.

Ann Otoole

This begs the question of why LL doesn't provide us with this data since it is all probably collected in the data warehouse. A nice add to the about land thing would be average visitors by hour, day, week, and month.

Another interesting report would be how many unique avatars have a landmark to each location. That should be an inbound link to the google appliance anyway.

The method of looking at the map is hugely flawed and can only be a rough estimate. However who cares about those vanity sims that serve no real purpose? I'm happy with my location on the north half of my sim having a solid 6k to 7k of actual traffic daily. People don't hang around long. So that is a lot of visitors per week. If people are averaging 5 minutes on site each that would be nearly 10,000 visitors a week. That seems pretty high for my place but no matter how much it is downplayed it is still a huge amount compared to these multi million/billion dollar companies' pitiful showing in Second Life.

No wonder there is not so much corporate interest. It simply will never be a meeting room for the reasons stated above about espionage. It ain't happening ever. Then, if someone insisted on a virtual 3D power point on a prim presentation, by the time you put a sim behind a firewall on a separate grid with no database logging activity or comms and the cost of a closed source viewer with secure links it becomes a why bother a few airline tickets are cheaper thing. Why some people don't understand that business trips are part of the compensation package is odd as well. Could it be they have never actually functioned in a real company before?

Now turn this around, forget the meeting room thing, and go at this for what it is: Entertainment: The largest stage in the history of the planet. Now you have something people can crow about and promote.

It is all in understanding who your customers are. Really. It is that simple. We can dream I guess.

Loraan Fierrens

@Louis: That is a good point. The thing to keep in mind, however, is that security is an equation you have to balance: you have to weigh the cost of securing something versus the cost of losing it. Different companies will have different balances they strike. In a lot of cases, the cost of running all your own infrastructure simply doesn't make sense: the cost of the security would exceed the value of what you are securing. In other cases, however, it does make sense.

I don't know anything about Orange, but the rest are all pretty heavy hitters. All of them have serious investments in their intellectual property. I doubt any of them would be using Second Life for business meetings unless what was being discussed was already essentially publicly available. Certainly, they wouldn't be using a sim anybody could just teleport to. (When I say "Second Life," remember, I mean the main, public grid. They could theoretically have their own grid and be reasonably sure of its privacy.)

Anonymous Coward

The things that people have already written about corporate security etc are true. IBM still has a public presence but most of the IBM action inside of SL is going on in their private SecondLife grid, behind the IBM firewall. Even LL can't snoop on 'em there.

Coyle Brenmann

@Loraan "I doubt any of them [in the list] would be using Second Life for business meetings unless what was being discussed was already essentially publicly available"

This is such a good point, and part of the bigger picture, "What are they doing here?" Even if the survey is flawed, its relevant point is that the sims aren't attracting the "masses". Regardless of the marketing budget allotted to SL for these companies, the data does show that there's very little return, even if their "presence" was the only goal. The lack of interactive collaboration tools in-world is yet another limitation for companies who have tons of information to share with the rest of the world. Cisco can't make an in-world interactive network using their IOS images and scripted devices, and another commenter mentioned the lack of Java resources on the Sun site.

My blog is comparing/contrasting business concepts taken from the real world into the metaverse. I'm hopeful to come across evidence on the web or in-world that there's ROI to be found by large companies, but so far I haven't uncovered anything. Opportunities only seem to exist for entrepreneurs who sell products/services directly to other in-world inhabitants, so this is where I spend most of my time exploring.

http://metaverse4biz.newsminded.com/

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