/* ---- Google Analytics Code Below */

Thursday, February 01, 2007

BMW in Second Life

An article in the Second Life Herald talks about BMW's relatively recent build in Second Life called BMW New World. At the right is an aerial view. The article complains that most corporate sites are usually empty. I agree, whenever I visit SL, I make a point of quickly scanning several of the corporate spaces. The much vaunted Dell site, with multiple islands and some clever 'AI Agent' ideas, rarely has any visitors, and I have yet to see an actual Dell employee there. Artificial agents can be clever, but you need the intelligence of real people to make the experience noteworthy.

The exception is IBM, who appears to have taken a very different approach. At any one time there are dozens of their employees 'in world' in their dozen plus sites. Some of their employees are performing tasks, meeting with clients and many of them are willing to engage in conversations. The most recent activity was the build of a Lotus Sphere area that mirrored some meetings in the physical Lotus conference. While IBM's build investment, compared to their TV ads, has to be insignificant, the investment of researchers time is considerable. I have met several researchers I knew from the real world in their Second Life Almaden site.

New IBM employees (based on their 'born' date) appear to be arriving every day, learning and experimenting. I witnessed a number of small group training exercises of IBM users and their clients. Its a great way to speak to researchers off-the-record. Its possible that this works well because the experience is novel, and that may wane. Clearly there is some corporate direction to do this.

No comments: