Monday, December 11, 2006

Is Second Life the new Sharepoint?

With much talk over the last 5 years about collaborative technologies there has been a huge investment in portal platforms- from Microsoft's Sharepoint to Oracle's Collaborative Suite. These platforms essentially extend existing comms user interfaces into the browser, but are they about to be usurped by a game? Virtual worlds designed for entertainment are being turned to by corporates and institutions looking for a richer immersive collaborative experience. The most hailed is Second Life, from Linden Labs, which according to Forbes (and reported on FutureHIT), is used by about 40 companies- mostly for a savvy marketing prescence. Some, such as IBM are reported by Chris Edwards of the IET magazine to have 'secret islands' to try out concepts. Starwood Hotels built a concept hotel so they could gauge the feedback of virtual guests. Campus: Second Life is even structuring learning facilities for use by real life institutions with profiles for their students.

Will this become the norm around corporate offices? Induction Courses the world over will have to add the agenda item "Build Avatar".

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