If you haven’t started investigating Second Life yet, you might want to look into it. The sheer neatness of the environment notwithstanding, it’s starting to emerge as a viable business platform and it looks like the tipping point may be just around the corner (full Voice Over Internet Protocol integration is set to roll out in the coming weeks, and the guess here is that VOIP is going to blow the lid off the joint). Lots of companies and entrepreneurs are already using the 3D virtual environment for commerce (using it to buy and sell in-world goods and services and developing storefronts that allow you to buy “First Life” goods and services, as well).
In addition, 2L is gaining traction as an internal comm app and shows tremendous potential as a corporate training platform. One firm that’s early-in on the training front is e-learning and consulting shop Gronstedt Group. Company president Anders Gronstedt has explored and researched 2L extensively and thinks it’s going to be the next big thing for corporate learning (companies like IBM, Sun, Dell, BP and Intel are already investing in 2L training programs, and hundreds of colleges and universities are investigating its potential, as well). He talks about these developments in forthcoming articles for the Harvard Business Review and T+D.
Gronstedt has recently begun hosting a weekly “fika” – which seems to be sort of a Swedish coffee break – in their Second Life “Train for Success” space (I love this part: the environment is built around a streetcar – a train, get it?). They’ve had to jigger the schedule a couple times because Linden Lab likes to take the whole world offline for maintenance on Wednesday mornings, when the fika was originally set (take note – this tells us how Linden currently views business vs. its apparently more lucrative recreational customers – a potential drawback for corporate activity). Gronstedt has now settled on Thursdays from noon-1pm EDT.
Anders says everyone is invited. You can talk with him and the staff about training apps or you can use the event as a jumping-off point for your own 2L exploration. No pressure. (Gronstedt also works with other advanced training tech, like immersive simulations and podcasts, so it doesn’t have to be all about 2L.)
If you’re going, you’ll need an avatar, so log onto 2L in advance, download the client software, set up an account, and leave yourself some time to customize your avatar (really, this can be the most fun you’ve had all week). Once in, you can ctrl-F and search for “Gronstedt,” then click to teleport directly into the Train for Success yard. Or you can click their “SLURL” to launch and access it from the Web.
Anders will be the blond, fairly normal looking avatar going by the name “Anders Wildcat.” And if you see a tall vampire with wings, that’s me – Outlander Legion. See you there….