Should the Business World Merge with Virtual Worlds? (Part II)


SLCN brings virtual television — a professional video network designed to expand the in-world audience as well as deliver virtual entertainment to the real-world. SLCN has become a virtual entertainment conduit of Second Life programming.

As with traditional TV segments, SLCN segments feature talking heads — of the avatars, that is. The avatars move around, but their mouths don’t move, one of several reasons these segments are disconcerting. One

In one segment about IBM’s Second Life outpost, IBM Business Center, what’s odd is that the interviewer, Cybergrrl Oh, and Joanne Bald, Program Director, move to several locations around the IBM Business Center. Rather than cutting to the next location, the two avatars fly — that’s right, like super heroes, they fly from location to another, and Cybergrrl actually — no, make that virtually, says, “Up, up and way!” (Apparently they decided against teleporting.) At one point, when they land, they’re still talking with each other, but aren’t in the same picture because one of the avatars landed in a different place. (They eventually find each other.) When they walk around the center, at one point, one of them walks backwards or zig-zags across the floor.

There’s no one in the IBM Business Center, staffed 24/5, except for Cybergrrl Oh and the IBMer. Well, there’s a concierge — staffed by an IBMer volunteer from somewhere around the globe — but he doesn’t interact with the two guests.

There’s even an online game for teens.

Seems like a lot of time, resources and effort has gone into developing the IBM SL site. It looks really cool. I wonder if it’s generating any business for Big Blue — or is the point of it not sales leads at all (though they spend time on information that can be downloaded). If the purpose is a recruiting tool to show that IBM is cool, then I think on that level, the IBM Business Center is a success. They did say there was a seven-month breakeven point.

By the way, most of the content available for download on SL is available on IBM’s regular website.

For Part II about business and virtual worlds, check out my post from 5/22.

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