We’ve been keeping an eye on virtual worlds like Second Life for a while, waiting for the killer app for business.
Collaboration just might be the one.
We were recently involved in designing and building a virtual world for BT Global Services. They used it as a kind of Dragon’s Den where any employee could present a new business idea to a panel of senior execs (the dragons).
Nobody left their desk, participants could meet and chat spontaneously — and some really good ideas emerged for growing the BT business.
Maybe more importantly, BT got to experience the birth of a new medium that could one day become a big part of its business.
Gartner says that by 2012, 80% of active Internet users will have some kind of presence in a virtual world. Chop that in half and you’ve still got something serious to think about.
It may be a bit early to pour money into Second LIfe (though IBM, Diageo, Philips, Vodafone and ING Bank have made early forays into virtual worlds) but one thing’s clear: there is something going on here. You might want to create an avatar and fly in for a closer look.