Second Life: The Virtual Experience for Business William Simmons
What is “Second Life” • The term comes from an internet based virtual world started in 2003.(as seen on “The Office”) • Users called “residents” interact through motional avatars. • Residents can explore, meet other Residents, socialize, participate in individual and group activities, and create and trade items. • Could the game in theory be placed in business practice? • In my opinion it already has been in practice for over 100 years, possibly starting with…
Sears • Richard Sears was a railroad station agent in North Redwood, Minnesota when he received a shipment of watches from a Chicago jeweler which were unwanted by a local jeweler. Sears purchased them himself, sold the watches for a profit to other station agents up and down the line, and then ordered more for resale. Soon he started a business selling watches through mail order catalogs. The next year, he moved to Chicago, Illinois where he met Alvah C. Roebuck, who joined him in the business. In 1893, the corporate business name became Sears, Roebuck and Co. • The mail was their internet. • Why were/are people inclined to do non face to face business?
What J. Schlosberg says… • According to Jeremy Schlosberg of medialifemagazine.com, people prefer convenience over price. • 97% of online consumers do so to simplify their lives. • Of that number, only 36% are motivated additionally by saving money. • Sear’s customers’ horse and buggy versus our $4.00 per gallon gas.
Papa Johns • Who has used their online or text messaging service? • In 2001, the chain's online sales totaled $20.4 million. Last year, its online sales approached $400 million. • "It took us seven years to reach our first billion in online sales, and at our current pace and growth rate it will take us less than three years to hit our next billion," said Jim Ensign, vice president of marketing communications at Papa John's
Only the beginning • Toyota and American Apparel are two companies quickly implementing the second life approach to business. • One can create avatars that test drive new Toyotas or try on or design new outfits. • To date, it is undetermined as to how effective or useful these tools are. • There are however, some early success stories such as that of Alyssa LaRoche ( better known as Aimee Webber).
Alyssa LaRoche and American Apparel • Alyssa LaRoche entered Second Life as Aimee Weber • Became proficient at designing clothes and sold a lot of designs to other avatars. • When American Apparel, a real-world clothing store, decided to create a parallel boutique in Second Life, Aimee was hired to design it. • Her company, Aimee Weber Studios, now employs 11 full-time employees and another 10 part-timers. But she also continues to operate in-world businesses such as her clothing stores, and to develop her own real estate in areas such as Midnight City, where she rents out storefront locations and lofts. • “Aimee Weber” even has a site, http://www.aimeeweber.com/index.html
How fast will the “future” come? • Sandy Kearney, director of the virtual worlds program at IBM, says the transition is coming, and "you may not have as much time as you had with the Web" to adjust to its impact. • Internet and web based businesses and phenomenon have proven to be wide sweeping and industry altering. • i.e. file sharing destroying the music industry as it stood. • Ms. Kearney also asserts that the present web is “very, very young” and that a successful second life business world will have to be based on a more advanced 3-D web.
How fast…continued • Our 2-d internet is perhaps better suited for companies such as netflix. • According to an article publiched by vnunet.com, IBM, a company forementioned as highly favoring Second Life Business, has invested $100 million dollars to fund a “3-D” internet project. • None of these resources are being allocated to “second Life” but all is towards an open source 3-d world IBM will call it’s own. • No official “launch date is available, but progress is evident. IBM even has a brochure: http://domino.research.ibm.com/comm/research_projects.nsf/pages/virtualworlds.index.html
IBM’s Executive summary • Social media and networking sites on the Web, such as MySpace and Facebook, blogs and podcasts have all become mainstream—and their usage is growing. Social networking communities are using these channels, but so are businesses—to capture mindshare, target new demographics and build new brands. User and community sites are predicted to account for over half of Internet usage over the next 10 years, and consumers are leveraging these sites to take control of content, consumption and branding.
Early feedback • C:\dayspace\IBM writes guidelines for virtual worlds - USATODAY_com.htm • If early feedback is any indication, this could be a bad idea on the part of IBM • It may also be too early to declare the “second life” experiment as a failure, and could do for IBM what the Ipod did for Sony.
Let’s hear from you guys • Questions… • Comments… • Etc.
Works cited • http://www.cnn.com/2008/TECH/biztech/05/08/papa.johns.ap/index.html?iref=newssearch • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sears • http://www.medialifemagazine.com/news2000/may00/news50512.html • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wi-fi • http://www.baselinemag.com/c/a/Projects-Management/Second-Life-Is-Business-Ready-For-Virtual-Worlds/ • http://www.vnunet.com/vnunet/news/2168455/ibm-fund-3d-internet-project