Second Life, the leading 3D virtual world, was launched in 2003 as a technology platform that enables millions of consumers, represented inworld as avatars, to imagine and build immersive environments that are easy and inexpensive to create. Second Life is not only one of the oldest virtual world platforms, but it is also the largest with millions of active users residing in more than 150 countries globally. Second Life has always been used by a wide variety of individuals, businesses, educators, governments and nonprofit organizations as an environment for entertainment, education, social interaction, research, shopping, and more. Over the years, many large multi-national enterprises and government institutions have realized that Second Life is also a powerful collaboration tool for work such as: meetings, training sessions, and simulations and prototypes.
Second Life owns 90 percent of the virtual world market and is the most flexible, richest, and most advanced virtual work solution that exists today. Here are a few facts to consider:
Largest Virtual World: Second Life, the largest virtual world platform, is roughly the size of Houston when all of the individual parcels, known as “regions” or “islands,” owned by various individuals and organizations are taken as a collective.
Richest Content and Most Vibrant Digital Goods Economy: Second Life has the richest and largest library of virtual content—avatars, clothing, building elements, etc. — in existence with millions of items already created by inworld residents and more are built every day. This library allows organizations to purchase content easily and cheaply, versus having to pay thousands of dollars in services to build these items in other environments.
Most Flexible: As opposed to many other virtual world companies, Second Life allows you to create multiple work solutions within the same environment. For example, you can have a virtual meeting space, a large conference center, a training simulation, and a social gathering space—all on one Region.
Joining Second Life is free. After completing a short registration form and choosing an avatar, you can then explore Help Island —a specialized doorway into Second Life where you can to find other people from hundreds of countries around the world. Today, an organization follows the same registration process that consumers do.
If you decide to become a landowner, then please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll be happy to discuss pricing and walk you through the process. In general, for one private region in Second Life (or what is sometimes called an “island”), the initial one-time set-up fee is $349 USD and then $229 USD a month in maintenance costs, per region. One region is 256 meters on each side, which is bigger than two American football fields lying end to end in the physical world. Once your organization owns virtual land, you can then create buildings, meeting spaces, and social spaces yourself (if your organization has Second Life building skills in-house).
How can I buy land?
Unless you’re a Second Life pro, the best way for enterprises or educational institutions to purchase land is to email email@example.com and we can help walk you through the process.
You can either make your purchase on a credit card or your company can be billed directly.
An avatar is a digital, animated representation of yourself in Second Life. When you join Second Life, you have a standard set of avatars to choose from. Once you receive your avatar, then you can go into “appearance mode” and change your hair, skin, shape, and clothing. We encourage you to personalize your inworld representation by purchasing new skin, clothes, and other accessories from thousands of Second Life retailers on the Second Life Marketplace. To view a series of video tutorials about how to create your avatar and other topics, see the official Second Life YouTube channel here.
Currently within Second Life, there are two naming options for organizations to choose from. Business enterprise group administrators can permit members to select a surname offered upon registration or choose to purchase a customized group surname from Linden Lab that allows you to set up a corporate last name that you can use to create an unlimited number of employee accounts. For example, Joe Morris is an AT&T employee and can choose to use a standard Second Life name, which is a username of Joe's choice with the surname 'Resident'. Or, if AT&T’s administrator purchases the corporate last names option, then Joe Morris have the name of Joe AT&T, to help create a common affiliation and group among AT&T employees. In the last example, everyone who works at AT&T would have the same corporate last name to help employees identify themselves inworld. Regardless of what Second Life name scheme is chosen, all employees can wear inworld “name tags” that clearly display real names. We also offer Display Names which can be customized by any account holder and updated regularly, up to once a week.
When joining Second Life, every new member must agree to the Second Life Terms of Service, which outline the rules that all avatars must follow. Some businesses choose to adopt the standard Second Life Terms of Service alone and some opt to create additional terms that outline a specific group, or organization’s rules, such as prohibiting access to inappropriate materials or only allowing human avatars.
Each region can run optimally with roughly 60 avatars before performance suffers and 100 is the current maximum limit. Factors that can affect performance include how complicated the environment is and the intricacy of avatar clothing. To create an environment that can hold more people, we suggest that conference spaces are built at a four-corners area of four separate regions. Doing this, an event can hold roughly 200-300 avatars. If you require more employees to participate in an inworld event, Second Life can easily be streamed live to the web, which means that thousands of people globally can participate in an inworld event through both video and chat.
Although operating within the Second Life environment might be challenging at first, it’s easy to get the hang of all of the movements that you’ll be using in a business environment—walking, sitting, teleporting, etc. For more information and tips on how to get around, visit our Knowledge Base. Our new user also covers how to move your avatar and interact with the environment. If you're unsure about what to do, try right-clicking on something you can see; a menu will open, displaying available interaction options -- like sitting on a chair, or paying a vendor to purchase an item.
Second Life is a rich-immersive environment that enables a wide variety of communication channels, including both text chat, and 3D spatial voice. There are other more interesting and dynamic ways that teams can communicate such as virtual brainstorming tools, document sharing, whiteboarding, 3D mind mapping, and many other business tools that take full advantage of virtual workspaces.
You’ll find members from over 150 countries and you’ll find hundreds of different languages spoken in Second Life. Linden Lab, the makers of Second Life, has customized betas of the Second Life Viewer, or the 3D browser software that allows you to enter Second Life, in the following languages: Danish, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Turkish, Japanese and Chinese. Once inworld, Second Life supports most languages used typically used within global organizations. Additionally, team members who speak different languages can communicate via several inworld text translation tools, including an optional translation interface built directly into the viewer which uses Bing Translate or Google Translate (at the user's preference).
What 3D business applications are available today for use in meetings and training environments in Second Life?
Today, there is a wide assortment of business productivity and creativity applications within Second Life. These include widgets for: running Powerpoint presentations, white boarding, brainstorming, dynamic audience polling, and many others. To find business applications, you can search the SL Marketplace.
We all know that work is much more than meetings, training, and other more formal activities. It’s also about those “water cooler moments” where you can connect and communicate with colleagues, partners, customers, prospects, industry experts, and friends. Second Life was designed as a social networking platform and all of those capabilities are naturally part of the Second Life experience. For example, IBM held a networking event where IBMers shared virtual beers and went virtual jet skiing and hang gliding. Needless to say, experiences like these are not only memorable, but also great business networking and socializing opportunities.
How is collaboration in Second Life different from sharing a conference call, Webex, or video conferencing technologies?
Teleconferencing, Webex, and video conferencing technologies are all important collaboration tools that companies use every day for global and mobile teams to work together and stay connected. Second Life provides a sense of presence that many people find more engaging and compelling than many other types of conferencing, as well as providing a 3D space to share information. In addition, informal discussions are easy to have after a meeting, since your Second Life experience doesn’t end when the moderator terminates a call.
When compared directly to other technologies, Second Life remains a clearly compelling addition to your overall collaboration portfolio of choices. Teleconferencing is great when Internet access is problematic, but staring at a telephone isn’t a very effective way to have a meeting. Webex is a fantastic technology for a few people to broadcast a presentation to a large audience, but falls short as a true brainstorming, planning, simulation, or visualization medium. It’s helpful to see your colleagues’ faces during a video conference session, but the quality of these meetings is often uneven and you still don’t get a sense of a shared environment—particularly helpful in training, simulation, and prototyping activities. And, none of these technologies is useful for informal “water cooler” time that we all know can be so valuable.
Overall, we believe that Second Life is the next best thing to a face–to–face meeting which is usually always preferred, but not always possible due to geographic or budgetary constraints.
Linden Lab does not distribute account information, per our Terms of Service. Regarding login, the Second Life Viewer login uses password-only authentication over an encrypted secure HTTPS connection. We do not have access to your password itself. Viewer 2 gives you a connection to Second Life that does not compromise your computer’s security. Linden Lab takes customer privacy and security extremely seriously, and maintains strict internal standards to protect all information involved with the Second Life service. For more specific information about the technical environment of Second Life, please contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. One item of note: Linden Lab employees can go anywhere within Second Life, including your region. However, we make every effort to only enter your region upon request. If a Linden is in your area, the avatar name will show up in the attendee list; no one can go “invisible” in Second Life.
Any business, or individual, can buy a Private Region as part of an Estate in the Second Life world. A single Private Region resembles a small island, and can be linked together with other Private Regions to form a larger landmass. These Regions provide a highly manageable environment for conducting private business in the virtual world of Second Life. A Region owner may choose to exercise full control over access to Private Regions in the Estate. The Region’s included administrative tools enable its owner (and designated managers) to create an access list, by individual or group, ensuring that only approved users can enter the Region. A Private Region is secure from eavesdropping. The Region is surrounded by an equivalent void space, represented by water; void space cannot be crossed by walking, running, flying, or by camera.
How do I grant estate rights to other avatars so they can collaborate on building and other aspects of sharing space?
The estate, land parcel, and group tools in Second Life enables you and colleagues to collaborate on content creation, editing and access to a shared space. By setting objects to group ownership, you can share editing permissions with group members based on roles you assign within that group. Estate-level controls permit region owners to give specific individuals estate manager privileges, allowing even greater control and moderation ability. Additionally, you can also set land permissions to enable or disable content creation.
Second Life is not policed, in the traditional sense. Instead, we rely on the community to self-govern and report abuse when it happens. Griefers are, according to Wikipedia, “players who plays a computer game (in this case Second Life) in order to irritate and harass other players.” Griefing behavior—such as violence, bad language, hate speech, harassment, etc.—is considered a breach of the Second Life Terms of Service and can result in an expulsion from Second Life. Thankfully, organizations with Region or Estate controls can prevent griefers from entering their private space altogether. Region owners, group owners, and their designated managers have access to powerful moderation tools to control their environment.
Second Life is a virtual world that successfully supports a myriad of environments, some of which mimic the physical world while others are composed of architecture and content that diverges from the laws of physics. The platform successfully hosts communities of all kinds, from business enterprise and education to those with mature themes. Each region has a rating of General, Moderate, or Adult to allow visitors to better anticipate the nature of content they might find in a region. With private regions, region owners and their designated managers can easily remove or return content that may not fit their preferred theme or concept of appropriate.
I want my employees to go directly to my organization’s space in Second Life. How do I do set this up?
Once your employees are registered as Second Life users, then you can send them directly to your region with a SLurl—or a Second Life URL that teleports avatars directly to a specific place (based on latitude, longitude, and altitude coordinates). It works just like a standard web URL, but instead of clicking and taking you to a web page, it takes you to a destination within Second Life. For a more in-depth and technical explanation of how this works, visit our Map API technical details page.
How robust and stable is the Second Life technology platform and how can I find out about scheduled outages?
The Second Life technology platform is very stable and has continually made strides towards continuous uptime, with full service outages being extremely rare. We do regularly take regions down for maintenance. If you would like to view a current schedule of planned downtime, and view recent platform performance, please visit the Second Life Grid Status page.
What computer hardware, software, and network bandwidth requirements are necessary to run Second Life?
Your organization’s computers and network must meet a certain set of minimum requirements to run successfully Second Life. Visit the Systems Requirements page for additional details.
Many aspects of Second Life run on a UDP protocol, as opposed to a standard web protocol such as http or https. Sometimes, network administrators within large organizations prevent employees from accessing UDP protocols. Please check with your IT department and ask about accessing Second Life for work through the firewall via UDP ports.
Building objects in Second Life is easy to do. Highly flexible building tools allow manipulation of geometric primitives in a simple interface. Stretch these “prims” into new shapes, change their texture and physical qualities, link them to other prims. From this easy–to–learn process, you can create objects of all kinds and sizes, from a simple box to a five hundred meter skyscraper. Then, you can overlay textures on top of these prims—such as a wood texture to make a wood box or a brick texture for a brick wall. There are may tutorials and inworld lessons that you can find—both from Lindens and inworld experts—that can help you get started.
3D Mesh content, as frequently seen in many other visual environments, can also be imported into Second Life. For technical information about uploading 3D mesh objects, visit our Knowledge Base. A great deal of excellent mesh-based content is already available, created by existing Second Life users. You can see many interesting examples that may suit your building needs on our Marketplace.
We recommend that you are very clear about what IP (intellectual property) you own and what the developer owns. For example, if a developer builds you a chair, they should grant you IP rights to it. However, tools like voting boxes, presentation screens, or announcers are often used by developers in multiple projects and will only grant you the rights to use the tool, but not IP ownership. When in doubt, ask questions and make sure that you get specific answers, in writing when possible.
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