IBM and Linden Labs are partnering to develop a version of Second Life that will live behind the corporate firewall.
As I mentioned in my previous post, Second Life is far too fat and clumsy to be taken seriously in the enterprise. Add to that concerns around administration, security and integration with corporate business applications and it’s easy to see why Linden would partner with IBM.
For itself, IBM has gone hog-wild over virtual worlds. "The 3-D Internet is a transformational opportunity that will change many industry processes, gather new revenue streams, and increase productivity and brand opportunity.” says Colin Parris, IBM’s vice president of digital convergence.
The company runs three v-world implementations already. It is working to create interoperability between the v-world providers. IBM's commitment to SL is pretty extensive as well with more than 5,000 employees on SL and numerous sales training and collaboration exercises.
Putting SL behind a firewall will put the technology in direct competition with other enterprise-class v-world providers, namely Forterra Systems, Proton Media, and Qwaq, makers of the open source Croquet.
IBM can differentiate against these providers by supplying tight integrating between SL and back-end applications. This would allow groups to view and edit business data from with an SL conference room. Today that’s only possible on a more limited basis with HTML and Office applications .