Forrester has been spitting out a number of reports in the last 6 months on the opportunities and pitfalls of doing business in virtual worlds like Second Life. The latest by Erica Driver is called “Getting Real Work done in Virtual Worlds” and is available here for Forrester subscribers.
I took a listen to an interview that Erica did with FIR on my way home from work last night. It’s a good listen if you have 30 minutes or so to help understand some of the meta issues associated with virtual worlds (although all of the examples focused almost exclusively on SL) taking off in business. A link to the podcast is here .
Two points of interest from the interview (and paper if you can get it):
- There are alternatives to SL that are much better at the whole import/export/collaboration of business documents (word, excel and unfortunately Powerpoint). One that was mentioned specifically was Qwaq
, which I will have to go check out. There website shows a few interesting screen captures. Wonder how I can get a demo?
- The evolution of virtual worlds as a business tool is happening much like the use of the web evolved. At first access was controlled tightly because business saw it as at best a toy and at worst a distraction. Then once better controls/filtering became widespread access was granted on a wide widespread basis and an explosion of productivity ensued. We are still in that first stage with SL, which points to a potentially large opportunity for someone to create filtering/control software for SL. It may have to be something that Linden builds into the client itself. Anyway it gets here, I think that some sort of filtering/access control freatures will be the key to opening up the doors on business use of SL (or any other virtual world).