Second Life Enterprise – A good addition to the mix

Yesterday the enterprise 2.0 conference saw the official release and announcements relating to Second Life Enterprise and of course featuring some preferred content in the form of Rivers Run Red’s Immersive Workspace and more to come via the Work Marketplace. It is interesting to see this happen both at something like an enterprise 2.0 conference and focussed as a packaged product in the way it is.
Back in April 2006 thru to Dec 2006 (which seems a very long while ago now) we said to one another as we (those early eightbars) realised that there was a huge scope for internal corporate communication…. wouldn’t this be great behind our firewall?
By September 2006 (after the first Wimbledon in Second Life) the US based CIO office had realised the potential and a few of us from places not just in the US ended up on that growing project to understand SL and all the other platforms and their implications to an internal corporate audience. This also started to lead to the more commercial based business unit forming, which interestingly is now part of the CIO office according the communications out of IBM.
This journey and the things that happened on the way (good and bad) all form part of the story I share with people in various ways including the in progress book on the subject.
Linden Lab focussing on enterprise and producing a product, however it is priced and packaged is an important further catalyst to this industry, one that those of us in IBM, Cisco, Sun etc. started to generate corporate and public interest in through our patronage. However this is now happening (unlike in 2006) in an era that has very many more potential direct competitors. many have been there for a while but will now be dropping into even more invitation to tender conversations, Proton Media, Forterra Olive, Teleplace, web.alive…. Equally there will be an increasing drive in take up of the hosted and self hosting services based on Opensim (SecondPlaces, ReactionGrid, Rezzable and SimHost ). Other platforms and standards such as Vastpark, or Wonderland for those who want to still explore and drive forward and develop things for themselves and get a step up on the packages. Services such as Venuegen, specialized in providing a particular quick access service also start to take a share of the market.
It is of course a huge market, business/enterprise communication relates to every employee in every company that has any form of electronic or remote communication. Like email, web and increasingly instant messaging and voip and social media in general it is essential business addresses the communication gaps we have generated. All these options may be confusing, but just pick one and get on with it!
I also still expect an actual games company to realize that their middleware and massive scaling and runtime abilities can be applied to a spin off market. So rather that enterprise business trying to figure out how to use games, games will figure out how to use enterprise business. With some of the developments this week too such as Unity3d becoming free to develop with and also Unreal 3 doing the same to some extent the future looks very rosy and very interesting.
However….. remember that the problems and challenges are not wholly technical. We are dealing here with social and cultural change. Something else I have experienced both the good and bad of and happy to share if you need to talk about the implications to your business, industry or life.

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