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Open Letter to Your Boss

by Linden on ‎08-19-2009 03:08 PM

Last week, I had the great pleasure of attending several sessions in the business track at the Second Life Community Convention (SLCC). One of the most interesting panels, entitled, “Enterprise and Virtual Worlds: The Value Proposition,” happened on Saturday morning. The entire room joined in on a lively conversation about how to address our collective bosses' common misconceptions about Second Life and convince them that it’s not a game or a place filled with inappropriate content, but a powerful virtual workspace and collaboration platform.

Yes, we understand your need, as a virtual world and Second Life champion within your organization, to have more ammo to counter some of these arguments. In addition to the new Second Life Work microsite, focused exclusively on enterprises and governments in Second Life, we havet 5 case studies that showcase how IBM, NOAA, Navy, CIGNA, and Intel are benefiting from working inworld today, I've also crafted an open letter to your manager that tackles these misperception issues head on and helps to dispel the “fear factor” about Second Life.


Hello <insert your manager's name here>,

Yesterday, when I mentioned that we should explore how working in Second Life can benefit us as a collaboration, learning, recruiting, and marketing tool, you raised several concerns that many enterprises and government organizations have about Second Life. I would like to share with you more information about how Second Life is a safe, secure, and powerful business tool we should consider using.

Second Life Solves Real Business Problems: Companies are using Second Life with good reason. With the drastic reduction to our travel budgets, and our teams scattered across many different locations, we need to look at more powerful collaboration technologies. Teleconference calls, video conferences, and web-based presentation sharing technologies are important, but they can’t do what Second Life can. In fact, the Wall Street Journal published a story today on “The Second Chance for Second Life,” focused on how large enterprises are working in Second Life and realizing tremendous ROI. I believe that we can yield a very positive return on our Second Life investment, as these companies have.

We Can Keep our Workspace and Data Secure: If we decide to get a private region, then we have complete control over who enters our area by tightly managing our access list. And, we can also keep our data secure. If you’re worried about putting our data on Second Life servers, then we can stream our presentations and content into Second Life instead of placing the data directly in the workspace. And, if we want to put a life-size prototype of our super-secret product in Second Life, then there are many creative ways we implement extra layers of security such as making it invisible unless we’re in the room. And, you might not know that nearly every branch of the U.S. military is using Second Life in some capacity and if they are comfortable working in Second Life, then that should ease our minds considerably. You can also check out articles on security in the Second Life KnowledgeBase: overview of Second Life security, voice chat privacy, configuring your corporate firewall for Second Life access, and how to create a secure space for a meeting

Second Life is the De Facto Leader in Virtual Worlds: There are several virtual world companies that are creating solutions for enterprises , but Second Life is the safest and best choice. Second Life is not only one of the oldest virtual worlds, originally launched in 2003, but it’s also the largest, most successful, profitable, stable, and growing at an impressive clip.

Roughly 20% of the Fortune 1000s are Working in Second Life Today: Second Life is not a game. Large, multi-national organizations such as Manpower, Microsoft, Amazon, and many others, are all working in Second Life right now—holding meetings or events, conducting training, creating simulations and prototypes, recruiting, marketing, and selling products or services. There are currently 5 case studies on the new Second Life Work microsite that detail how these companies have saved money, increased revenue, enhanced innovation, and raised brand awareness. You'll also find some great recent articles in the news section of the microsite.

The Adult Content is Contained: Second Life is a 3D technology platform that can accommodate all kinds of activities—for both work and play. Yes, there is some sexual content in Second Life, just as there is on the Internet or in any major city, but that doesn’t mean that it will inhibit our professional virtual lives or impact our reputation. In fact, Linden Lab has recently taken steps to move Adult content from the mainland to a separate continent and to filter Adult search results. These initiatives mean that those who wish to avoid Adult content in Second Life can do so just as easily as they can on the Internet at large.

Let’s Start Small and Build on Our Success: The good news is that getting started in Second Life is relatively inexpensive. We can start by renting space and when we’re ready, we can purchase our own private or public region for about the cost of a few days' rental of a real world meeting room. Then, we can purchase content already available from many sources in Second Life or get help from a Solution Provider to create a customized, branded space. Based on what we typically spend on travel in a given month, we’ll recoup our costs many times over very quickly. I have some ideas about how we can use the space to work on our current and upcoming initiatives.  Once we get a pilot project started in Second Life, I have the feeling that we’ll find additional ways that we can use our 3D work environment.

Defining our Success Metrics is Critical: I understand that every dollar that we spend needs to quantifiably benefit our business. As you can imagine, there are different things that we can measure to track our success in Second Life. For example, if we decide to produce a virtual event, then it’s easy to calculate cost and carbon emission savings. In fact, ThinkBalm, an industry analyst firm, recently published a report about the Business Value of Virtual Worlds that has many examples of what different organizations have used as metrics. Take a look and then let’s discuss how we can define our own metrics of success.

I hope that I’ve addressed your primary concerns about working in Second Life, but I’m sure that you have plenty of questions. Feel free to explore the new Second Life Work microsite and then let’s contact the team at Linden Lab, the makers of Second Life, and find out how we can start working inworld, too.


Of course, this letter just highlights a few points about how we can work together to dispel common misperceptions and successfully champion Second Life as a place where real work gets done. So, let’s use the comments area to continue the dialogue and suggest other ways we can help you get the good word out.

Big thanks to everyone who attended the session at SLCC and contributed to this post. More specifically, I would like to call out: June Peoples from Involve, Doug Thompson (SL: Dusan Writer) from Remedy and Metanomics, Jeff Barr from Amazon Web Services, Robert Bloomfield (SL: Beyers Sellers) from Cornell University and Metanomics,  Peter Haik from Metaversatility, Glenn Fisher from Linden Lab, and Dan Parks from Virtualis.

by New Resident Furlips Stardust
on ‎08-25-2009 07:16 AM

Second Life has a bit of a "reputation" period. Gamers, crazy people, greifers and oh, right, Sex.

If you want to go after the corporate suits, offer them an alternative area to play in. Hell, just call it Business Life and leave it a separate entity from the Second Life grid.

It can't be this simple though can it?

by Member Meade Paravane
on ‎08-25-2009 08:11 AM

Hey all, I really appreciate all of the thoughtful comments. Terrific discussion. I would love for all of you to come to our office hours tomorrow at 9am - 10am PDT/SLT where we'll be talking about this post and other tools that you need your Second Life evangelist toolkit. 

My RL job prevents me from going to this. Can you make a transcript available, please?

by Member Meade Paravane
on ‎08-25-2009 08:42 AM
Other then him, I have never told anyone in my workplace, (CTO or underlings) about second life becuase lets face it, second life is an entertainmet tool, NOT a productive tool for business.

People said similar stuff about that whole world wide web thing in the late 80's/early 90's. It's a toy; it's just for geeks; it's just pornz and violence.

Any communication medium has the potential to help businesses. No, it's not going to help everybody. Yes, it has a (large) number of issues right now. That doesn't mean that it will help nobody and will not ever be solid enough for serious people to do serious work.

And before you accuse me of being a Linden alt or shill, make sure to read my other posts here...

by New Resident CheerGirl Allen
on ‎08-25-2009 08:48 AM

is Hilarious, it looks like 2 different letter to me,

First off it looks like a scripted sales pitch that YOU (the sales person) are trying to sell door to door to people (your real life businesses) who have no need what so ever for the product\service

Second it looks to me like a Letter to your boss trying to explain why your were busted in your cubicle playing videogames during business hours, when you should have actually been trying to be Productive and get your work done.

To be honest, I have spoken to only one of my former employers about secondlife. The reason i spoke with him about it is because I knew he was a womanizer and a chauvinistic pig. and guess what HE LOVED THE GAME, but not for work purposes.

Other then him, I have never told anyone in my workplace, (CTO or underlings) about second life because lets face it, second life is an entertainment tool, NOT a productive tool for business. I have tried many times to imagine what a REAL WORLD Business meeting would be like on second life and how long it would actually take to get started, granted all members of the staff meeting could Log in, Find the meeting area, be able to teleport to the meeting and actually figure out how to use the SL interface and voice functions. Lets face it, NO REAL WORLD business is going to waste time and money training their staff how to use SL.

In today's business environment, Fast, Reliable Productive and Easy to use are the MAIN THINGS any company looks at. Productivity is by far the biggest factor. Can you imagine how productive a SL meeting would be when 1\2 of your staff are complaining about being white puffs of smoke, while the other half try to figure out why their SL Voice client is not working. To take an Example straight out of my workplace, the TOP FLOOR of the Sun Life Financial tower in Down town Toronto has Large VIDEO CONFERENCE SUITES that use The Polycom RPX HD 400 video conference system. Why? Because your staff does NOT NEED TRAINING, Polycom has GOOD Customer service, Technical support, and I for one have NEVER SEEN THIS SYSTEM NOT WORK.

Now lets have a look at SL, I have been fortunate enough to sit in on Linden Lab brown bag meetings as well as business meetings in game for an SL company we all know is on the very short list of profitable SL sales each month. At the Linden Lab brown bag meeting I attended, the host KenD Linden crashed so many times, if you listen to the Audio transcripts, you can actually hear his co-workers saying "sorry for the wait Ken crashed and will Be Right Back" If I was to say that in a RL Staff or boardmeeting, it would not supprize me if I was told to go clean out my desk, turn in my passcard & Keys, and be off the property by the end of the business day. If Linden Lab can not even host their OWN meetings w\out technical problems, what do you think they will do for your business? As for Profitable SL Businesses who host meetings in SL, I have attended more then one of Stroker Serpentines Chat sessions with his staff, and in most cases it is a Friends conference, we are NOT all on the same sim, and we are NOT all looking at eachouthers avatars. It is Bacisly a instant message chat room.

Is this the type of environment a REAL WORLD business could actually get work done in?

by Recognized Resident Cas Priestman
on ‎08-25-2009 11:52 AM

Second Life could not only be a fantastic business tool, but it can also help save the environment by encouraging businesses to have their virtual offices and have their employees work from home. Not only would the employer save money, the employee could save hundreds if not thousands of dollars  not having to pay for gas or daycare. Less use of fossil fuels like the governments have been trying to find a solution for and less wear on our nations highways. Second Life does need to somehow dispel the image of being a gamer porn site and make the grid more friendly towards businesses.

by Recognized Helper
on ‎08-25-2009 12:11 PM

In my RL job we have a legal and professional obligation to maintain certain standards of client confidentiality, which includes the details of any meetings and discussions we have with our clients.

How do you say this might be achieved in SL?  Argent has pointed out the problems inherent in sending chat over the public internet, which would doubtless be raised by our IT people, too.  If these objections are valid, we'd almost certainly be flirting with civil action and possible criminal proceedings if we used SL for more than the most trivial professional purposes.

We would also need reassurances that no electronic records of any discussions with clients are held in a foreign jurisdiction, which, since we are British, would of course include, of course, the USA.

That would be the first hurdle I would have to overcome, and one about which I would need reassurance before I contemplated circulating your memo.

by Honored Resident Stroker Serpentine
on ‎08-25-2009 12:18 PM

I am reminded of the anecedote: "If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, Baffle them with BS"

by Honored Resident robertltux McCallen
on ‎08-25-2009 12:51 PM

a partial answer would be semi awkward but Linden lab could put encryption into the chat system

and if they do it right nothing short of a "rubber hose" attack could break that

by Recognized Resident Moriz Gupte
on ‎08-25-2009 02:42 PM

Why not set up a behind firewall solution, looks like your issues could be addressed if you do. There are already a lot of clients using Nebraska. I hope that in the future LL starts branding SL for corporations as Nebraska. That way it becomes easier to frame the discussions with people who have a knee jerk negative spasm when SL is mentioned and everybody will be happy. Corporate clients and the traditional SL population will keep each other at a safe distance.

by Honored Resident Blue Linden
on ‎08-25-2009 03:06 PM

Deleting post with non-PG language  -blue

Please be sure to enjoy the thrill-a-minute blog Guidelines!

by Member Chaz Longstaff
on ‎08-25-2009 03:48 PM

@ Brenda Connolly : " I am 100% dead set against any actively visible coporprate presence in SL"

Presumably, then, you're intellectually consistent and are also dead set against any visible government presence in SL.

by Member Chaz Longstaff
on ‎08-26-2009 12:33 AM

Dunno, same page you cite says:

These complaints were closed as:
40 Resolved
14 Administratively Closed
2 No Response

Also, same page cites "Jack Linden" as management. Strikes me that 30 seconds of googling on their part might have turned up Jack Linden's real name.

by New Resident CheerGirl Allen
on ‎08-26-2009 12:36 AM

So after REAL WORLD work today, I decided to spend a few moments of my time to look into this post a little further, and I must admit, my view towards this post has not changed. I took some time and actually Looked up Linden Lab on the Better Business Bureau on both the Canadian and USA site, and guess what, the B.B.B. rating is on part with the majority of Business minded posts on this blog. For instance, as we all have said and know the the B.B.B. states on their website:

BBB Rating for Linden Lab

Based on BBB files, Linden Lab has a BBB Rating of F.

Reasons for this rating include:

  • 56 complaints filed against business
  • Failure to respond to 2 complaints filed against business.
  • Length of time business has taken to resolve complaint(s).

Even more, the BBB states that Linden lab offers Online games, Not a word about REAL WORLD business, education or E-commerce. You do not have to take my word for it, here is a Link to the American BBB site, Read for your self, get the whole story, not just the script\template provided by the very company that is trying to sell their platform to your business.

Any person who goes to their Real Life employer with the above script (provided by LL) should ask them self one question, How much are you ready to put on the line you decide to take this to the higher ups in your company? Your Job? your Reputation? Your Pension, Your Retirement? In all honestly, if you work for a company that is large enough and has enough $ to spend on SL do you really think your company will not do their Homework and look into SL? After the Decsion makers at your workplace Read all the info, News articles, and watch all the Youtube content not to mention look at the real data not the hype, and them make thier own informed decsion about SL, what do you think thier decsions regarding moving into the virtual reality world of internet gamming, as well what do you think thier decsion will be regarding giving you more responciblity and that raise you want.

As Angela Talamasca  says in her comment regarding the fortune 500 statement, "Data please. In fact, how about a report from an objective 3rd party such as gartner group?" Yeah, where is the Data? and do NOT post a link to your economic stats page, not even the accounting department of Big Tobacco can figure that out.

by Member Chaz Longstaff
on ‎08-26-2009 12:45 AM

You say you searched the *canadian* BBB site. O-k-a-y. I have now done the same. You didn't say what you found. I found zilch. I even tried the dedicated "dry cleaners" section on the Canadian BBB site.

Please post a link to what you found on the Canadian site that you referenced.

by New Resident CheerGirl Allen
on ‎08-26-2009 01:11 AM

No Link for SL or LL on the canadian BBB site. Thats why I had to search the american site.  Maybe that is because Linden lab is NOT REGISTERED AS A BUSINESS IN CANADA?

by Honored Resident Argent Stonecutter
on ‎08-26-2009 04:55 AM

I guess you don't use Windows or Office in your business then, if you don't do business with companies that play silly games with their terms of service.

by Honored Resident Argent Stonecutter
on ‎08-26-2009 04:59 AM

You'd also need a separate asset and inventory database, so that notecards and textures containing proprietary information couldn't be accessed by anyone who had their UUID. It would be easier to set up a private grid behind your own corporate firewall... but LL isn't interested in that business.

by Honored Resident Sindy Tsure
on ‎08-26-2009 11:04 AM
Even more, the BBB states that Linden lab offers Online games, Not a word about REAL WORLD business, education or E-commerce. ...

Er.. I think that's sorta the point with blogs like this - they want in on the business space. And there already are a bunch of RL businesses in SL. Feel free to do a trivial amount of digging to find them then reject the notion that they are already here because the BBB doesn't say they are.

by Advisor Jenni Darkwatch
on ‎08-31-2009 03:40 PM

Okay, let's make a real life example. Since I am the decision maker, if you can convince me that SL can solve enough of these issues... you'll have the business subscription by the end of the month.

Possible areas of use:

Teleworking from home:

- Issue #1: Aside from using it as a presence platform (i.e. communication), where's the security? Details, please. Transitsecurity as well as asset security.

- Issue #2: Since most people work with various programs to get their work done, SL has to be minimized I'd say. What kind of notification of pending messages can you offer to a business? Presume that sound might be turned off (a few of the remote terminals don't even HAVE sound).

Data sharing:

- Issue #1: How do we get data onto SL? What data CAN we put on SL? Examples would be word processing and spreadsheet documents, email etc.pp. - we don't have or need 3D sculptures.

- Issue #2: Any way to collaboratively work on the same document in the virtual environment?

- Issue #3: What kind of data security do you provide? What guarantees do you give for data availability? Backup assurances? Backup accessibility?

Specific to my line of work (Systems monitoring):

- Issue #1: How can I display systems status information in a meaningful way? A list of running processes for example, viewing log files, etc.pp.

- Issue #2: Can I access remote workstations in SL? Go to any of the stores we have all over the world and see the webcam feed on a prim? Anything like that? Project status or performance graphs on a prim?

- Issue #3: Since a lot of that information is highly sensitive... how well protected is that data? (see previous point)

- Issue #4: Can I extend the functionality of SL to add features I need? Plugins, etc.pp.?

In all honesty, that letter of yours was empty words. No facts, no data. If any employee would give me that one, I'd laugh his ass all the way out the office door. Facts count. Nothing else does.

by Member Chaz Longstaff
on ‎08-31-2009 04:06 PM

>> Issue #2: Since most people work with various programs to get their work done, SL has to be minimized I'd say. What kind of notification of pending messages can you offer to a business?

Well, they offer sound, and since 99% of workstations have business audio, there ya go. Besides, most experts are now advising that it's more efficient to NOT let the constant ding of incoming msgs drive your day -- that instead you should process them at set intervals and tackle your *real* todo list for that day in between.

>> How do we get data onto SL? What data CAN we put on SL? Examples would be word processing and spreadsheet documents, email etc.pp. - we don't have or need 3D sculptures. ... Can I access remote workstations in SL? Go to any of the stores we have all over the world and see the webcam feed on a prim?

What is the business justification for doing it that way, through SL? You yourself wrote, " Since most people work with various programs to get their work done..."  I don't see a business need to have embedded business documents working on a prim. There are other tools for sharing business documents that are designed for that. There are other tools that are designed for remote workstation access. SL is *not* that tool -- like you said, you have other windows open.

And yep, I'm a decision maker too, in my business.

by Advisor Jenni Darkwatch
on ‎09-01-2009 03:49 AM

Sound notifications are useless. If you're AFK you miss it. If you have any kind of audio running (music being popular), you easily miss it. Not all workstations have sound either.

Business docs don't need to _work_ on a prim. Have the app run on a separate server, export the window to another server, or by extension to SL.

Remote workstation access via VPN is commonplace, true. However - with a big worldwide operation it has its benefits to be able to look at things from a mile high perspective but also easily zoom in to specific network areas. As you probably know there's many tools that allow that. SL _could_ replace many of these, with a flexible plugin system, better performance, reliability and so on. Alas. Pipe dreams.

I see SL hawked as the next big evolution in communication. Truthfully, as long as it's not a FULL work environment, it falls short on more fronts that I can count. It's too limited to really provide a useful meeting environment. For communication, there's better things than SL.

As for 3D workspaces... we have that already, though not to the extent of an SL environment. We use 3D window managers exclusively, and apps don't run locally anyway. Nor do they all use the same OS (they get exported using a mix of protocols - VNC, NX, X). Our users scream bloody murder if they have to use 2D environments anymore. SL _could_ be the next step. But it isn't.

The bottom line is this: SL has to offer better business features to be useful as a business tool. Not to sell things to residents for measly dimes. But as a tool to revolutionize business interaction. It _could_ be useful for telecommuters, for admins, for many white collar applications. But right now, it ain't. It's nothing but a game.

SL is a platform that _could_ be. But isn't. It's not the fault of 3rd party clients either. SL was, I think, never really built with businesses in mind. Hawking it to businesses is like hawking a crutch to someone who can walk perfectly well without one.



Here's an example. Look at the "case studies".

IBM: The claim by LL is that they work in-world. They don't. They give presentations. That's a LONG shot from working in-world.

NOAA: Same thing. Presentation platform. Work? Hardly.

Intel: ~yawn~

The ONLY example I can find of WORK being done is Northrop Grumman for prototyping, and again that is basically a presentation issue. It has its uses - just not the uses that LL tries to project. To take the keywords apart:

Virtual Workspace: Not unless presentations are your line of work.

Collaboration Platform: In what way? Manipulating prims? ~chuckle~

SL _is_ a game.

by Honored Resident Max Key
on ‎09-01-2009 05:42 AM

Second Life is a not a good investment for corporations because it fails on several key-points, and as for anyone with a slight insight in business, these are facts.

The lack of data-protection in Second Life is non-existent, there is no way for businesses to protect their data, textures, presentations, conversations or buildings.

The reason for this is that Linden Lab blatantly allows for CopyBot programs to roam the grid, clients that are designed to steal contents by harvesting local cache data gathered onto clients machines and with allowance for anyone to use a chat-spy even across sims, no conversation can be secured even if it's a private sim.

That now brings us to point two of why investing in Second Life is bad business, lack of compability with other outlets. Second Life works in Second Life, but any business dealing with any sort of data, would not want to put all eggs in one basket, especially when the basket is prone to daily asset-server hickups and transaction errors. Operability between locally placed OpenSims (that are free), placed behind corporate firewalls, and on local networks, and Second Life is one solution, but then Linden Lab would loose collosal amounts of money since nobody would purchase their 1000$USD sims and pay 300$USD/month when there are other, more feasible options.

Of course one could argue that IBM saved 72,000$USD on a one-time conference, but reality is that each sim will hold a maximum of 100 avatars, and anyone who have spent a few minutes inside Second Life, know how the performance of these sims degrade should only 50 avatars enter, needless to say it's an impossible enviroment to work, and perform, in.

Another point is the user-to-user transactions, as reported there was a 94% increase in Q2 2009 as compared to previous year, and some 144$ million USD was transacted, then one can only stop to ask how much of these transactions are down to gambling on Zyngo machines (gambling is supposed to be banned in Second Life), how large percentage of these transactions are purchased sex-toys, or sex related products? Numbers that aren't relevant, but gambling and sex are the two main reasons why Second Life thrive.

There are allegedly some 19 million registered users in Second Life, and on a day-to-day basis there are on average 50,000 logged in at any one time, including completely static bogus accounts also known as bots, which exist to increase statistical numbers and game traffic values, the rate of active users v.s inactive, speak for itself.

Even something as simple as sharing a powerpoint presentation with your team becomes cumbersome in Second Life due to the lack of innovative tools, the process is to upload static -jpg pictures from a local computer, onto an avatar, load them into a powerpoint screen presenter, then suffer from visually blurred images that takes up to 30 seconds to load because of poorly programmed data-transition protocol when it comes to talking about speed, for the interested parties we can always talk about the time it takes to load a 64x64 (1kb) sculpt texture in-world, and how long this takes to become visible on a 100Mb connection.

Security is the key why businesses should not enter Second Life with their enterprise, and it doesn't take a rocketscientist to figure out how unencrypted data, placed on Linden Lab servers, with all chat monitored on their system, based in the United States, with a vast log of reported security issues (go visit JIRA) is bound to be a bad idea for any enterprise. Exploits in plug-in programs such as the required QuickTime enabled security flaws such as the ability for a malicious user to steal any other avatars total account balance only by letting the target walk onto a parcel.

The claims that private regions are good for any business are totally incorrect. It is possible for users with a little know-how to stand on adjacent sims, view the entire sim in question, and even eaves-drop on the clients based on that sim, all without being detected by the admistrators.

Of course data can be secured if a company uses their own servers, but if local servers must be used to protect data, then another (and better) option is to upload content to facebook and put a password on it, at least there it's possible to protect it more than in Second Life. (note the irony)

Yes adult content have been placed in a segregated continent to protect business moguls from seeing a nipple, but this has little relevance since wherever anyone goes in Second Life, you can be sure to see some guy running around without pants and a sausage sticking out of his pants.

For a company willing to invest tens of thousands of dollars in order to purchase the powerful machines required to run Second Life, since most office machines does not come equipped with a 512mb video card, and to have a massive learning curve for their staff members during the clumsy navigation into Second Life, then use Second Life as a platform to show .jpg pictures on a static prim, then by all means; it's a good solution then.

Flickr and facebook works just as well for this purpose, only thing is that it's cheaper.

For Second Life to even be a fraction of a feasible business solution then some well designed tools need to be made available, until then users will be using GoogleDocs to share and colloborate, Adobe Connect Pro for conferencing and e-mail for messages.

Personally I like Second Life, but would never advice a serious business to step aboard and invest in Second Life until some progress is made to ensure a better corporate environment with colloborative tools.


by Honored Member Shockwave Yareach
on ‎09-02-2009 01:37 PM

While correct in most of your data, and in your final analysis, there is one point in which you err.

Even on a LL server, an island all by its lonesome is pretty secure.  You can control who can enter the island, of course.  But there is no "next door parcel" on which an avatar can stand and listen in.  On mainland, you are absolutely correct; on an island, not so much so.  Of course, all the data still goes through the LL servers unencrypted, so trust has to be given to LL.  But even with an encrypted link, LL would still have to be trusted.

The only real way SL can become a telecommuting solution is having a private server for each company to use, a VPN between the server and the viewer, a telephone forwarding app to something like skype on the home computer, and a P2P integration that allows the telecommuter to access the directory specified in About Land.  Thus different rooms can access different documents at the same time and people truly can be in a secure work environment while they sit at home.  Anything short of these requirements won't be enough, since I can seperately accomplish them all without SL today.  Pull them together into a product that companies can install instead of having to build big new (expensive) buildings, and you'll have a winner.  Start with SL and create a parallel product - call it Homework or something.

Otherwise, yes, SL remains a game.  Not that anything is wrong with that - Blizzard pulls down billions a year with its game, and they don't seem to have any desire to destroy it so they can make B2B software.

by Honored Resident robertltux McCallen
on ‎09-02-2009 02:00 PM

"Security is the key why businesses should not enter Second Life with their enterprise, and it doesn't take a rocketscientist to figure out how unencrypted data, placed on Linden Lab servers, with all chat monitored on their system, based in the United States, with a vast log of reported security issues (go visit JIRA) is bound to be a bad idea for any enterprise. Exploits in plug-in programs such as the required QuickTime enabled security flaws such as the ability for a malicious user to steal any other avatars total account balance only by letting the target walk onto a parcel."

okay lets start addressing a few things

1 there are several very easy to use encryption setups that can be used inside sl so IM and i think group chat can be "secure" if you need them to be

2 and how many of these jira entries are current and still unsolved for the current server software??

3 the Meerkat viewer does not use Quicktime (its a fully GPL client) so that solves that problem

(does cost a bit of performance)

4 it is not possible to drain an account by just walking onto a sim (yellow dialog pops up that must be allowed and NOTHING IN THE LSL API ALLOWS SEEING THE BALANCE OF AN ACCOUNT

and if an exploit was found somehow found LL would most likely do a full grid shutdown and all hands on deck if you can breath you work code hunt until it got fixed since its a SHOWSTOPPER level bug that could in fact get the TLAs "interested"

by Honored Resident Paola Paulino
on ‎09-02-2009 02:27 PM

I'd definitely would like to see a legit bussiness person react when he/she is locked out of his/her account for no reason, or have their inventories lost, or in the best case scenario, hit major lag while trying to do anything. And lets not forget the apartheid that some of us have to endure now...

My two cents.

by Linden
on ‎09-03-2009 01:30 PM

Hey all, big thanks everyone who read this post and commented-- 75 comments!!!  I want to respond thoughtfully to many of the common themes threaded across this discussion. So, look for a Part 2 next week.

by Honored Resident Pobie Boozehound
on ‎09-03-2009 04:03 PM

The fact that the BBB gives LL a rating of F (the lowest other than "No Ratings") will make any company thing twice about waiting money in SL.  There are too many problems for it to be considered as a business platform.  With the disorganized management, lack of common courtesy or respect for for its paying customers (as in the open sim fiasco and the death march to the adult ghetto ) it just shows LL is like a child with ADD.

Anyone that shows this letter to their employer is risking their professional reputation.  I could barely bring myself to recommend that my sister join SL let alone my employer.

I think the comments made by many on here show how fed up we all are with LL and the way they treat us.  It seems we are just second class citizens (See death march reference above).  They are focussing on dragging business into SL at the expense of those of us that have been here for 2 years or longer!

It's time LL takes responsible for the messes it has made and tells its paying customers, how it is going to deal with them.

This letter was posted Aug 19, 2009 ... 75 posts later, Amanda replies on Sept 3/09.  But it's really not much of a reply.  Again, Feedback (or noise as Pink Linden called it on the SLX board) is ignored.

No more "stay tuned" ... FIX IT NOW!  We are getting more and more fed up.  We are paying customers.  Either provide the service or we will find someone who can!

by Recognized Member Linda Brynner
on ‎09-05-2009 01:35 AM

Sorry, i haven´t been able to reply earlier.

This one seems ´closed´, however i would like to ad this. I do hope this is read by Linden Lab.

I´m a rl business owner and i understand that many professionals and owners are active in SL as i have been meeting plenty of them since i signed up.

I have seriously been thinking to bring my case to sl, however i did not and why.

First of all, the reputation of sl ( that is in Europe ) isn't exactly healthy. It is seen as platform with hardly any ethics, so basically being an entertainment platform.

A reputation is difficult ( if not impossible ) to change overnight.

That reputation was different in 2006 as it was about to hype in 2007 ( which happened ). At that time i worked for a large international company and i can remember the day the president of my business unit walked in our office and he started to ask if we knew what Second Life was.

His enthousiasm decided me to have a peek in Dec. 2006 and i stayed for the fun and since the Land business was interesting at that time.

A few months later i had a discussion at an auto plant in Belgium about SL ( i won't say the mark ).

We discussed the possibilities of the platform. At that time Mercedes introduced the new C series in SL on Mercedes island, and more car brands were active to show prototypes etc.

Certainly SL seemed and still seems to have professional potential, however the impact on the RL market is really nothing. For a serious RL market exposure and acceptance at least 500k daily unique users are necessary.

Moreover, since 2007 SL's reputation is strongly damaged being very unstable with huge pornographic content, little in-world ethics and highly blown out of proportion users metrics.

Many professionals are active in SL and still hang around with a 2007 account; they've seen all that.

That all sad, could i use SL has a conference room?

No, it's too complex and too tricky to set it up and i don't want to see some virtual cartoons who i seem to talk to. I really prefer to see real faces and real names.

But most important, i don't want to risk any damage of reputation of my company name and other's.

We all have invested in it over years.

Another issue is that Linden Lab has a bad reputation when it come the reliability of R&D.

That is, i can make a long list of cases that have been promised, but never happened, or exactly to the opposite direction.

Then there is strong under developed customer services.

It barely is suitable for B2C ( SL "gamers"/users vrs LL ).

For a B2B environment ( SL'professional customer vrs LL ) the standard is even seriously higher than you seem to able to manage today.

Etc, etc.

I am not negative about SL. It really has potential, however too much went wrong sofar, and you really need to get at least 500k - 1000k daily users, and be very reliable in word and action.

Come up with strategic plan including a serious marketing campaign.

Don't let the media steer your communication, get behind the steering wheel yourself.

Best regards,


by Honored Resident Drewe Destiny
on ‎09-05-2009 05:41 AM

There is much in the draft letter that makes good sense, but also some worrying features. The comment made earlier about know your existing customers is very valid. It is easier to increase revenue from existing customers than find new ones in any business, provided they feel looked after and feel secure in giving their business to an existing provider. The clear anger that exists in a substantial number of Linden's existing customers over the way adult content was handled is a case in point. It clearly was right and necessary to ensure the protection of minors from unsuitable material by the introduction of a compulsory age verification system. That most residents were first aware of it by their exclusion from some lands (regions) shows a complete lack of communication between Linden and it's customers. Each customer has an email address registered with Linden and much of the steam could have been taken out of this by emailing every resident with details of this major change. The ghettoing of adult content is a clear mistake, damaging existing SL businesses, and creating a feeling of insecurity among a wider resident audience than just the adult providers. There is real fear that this is th first of attempts to segregate interest groups away so that LL can concentrate on the business side of SL. Are for example the furries or religious activists to be also so segregated because they give offence to some? In RL, at least in the democracies, there is by and large a live and let live philosophy. In my own high street there is a sex shop that most residents did'nt and don't want, but it is there because some do, and age restricted with no sexual content allowed to be displayed where passers by can see it. A rational approach to ensuring that everyone's interests and desires are taken into account. I want LL to succeed in bringing more business into SL, whether corporate or individual, but for that to happen new customers and existing ones have to be sure the rules will not suddenly be changed and damage what has been done so far. A re-think on the adult land issue (how about restrictions on parcels rather than whole regions as is the effective case in RL?) would at least go some way to showing the existing residents that it is worthwhile expanding and investing in SL.

by Advisor Jenni Darkwatch
on ‎09-05-2009 09:34 AM

Well put Linda.

I wanted to post this to the forums for a while, but really didn't think it'd to any good. So I'll just post it here out of boredom.

Disclaimer: This is just my vision, it's rough on the edges, and it's very specifically tailored to my own dreams of what a virtual workspace could/would be. It's based on my RL work of course.


8am, and I sit down on my home office downstairs. The three monitors light up and my Linux Desktop appears a few seconds later, smoothly animating into view. I smile, as a year ago the fancy 3D desktop was my joy and pride. The VPN connects automatically, and the confirmation appears near the tray. A year ago I would have started all my applications. But now...

I click on the Metaverse icon and my desktop gets replaced by a fullscreen loading animation. Moments later I am in a virtual representation of my office. I hear my coworkers chatter in the distance. The scripts in the prims detect my presence and send a challenge token, which my client responds to by asking me whether I want to authenticate. Of course I do. Silly box... some things never change. In response, surfaces on prims in my office light up and show my work applications. Spreadsheets, some system monitoring applications - arranged in a pleasant, if futuristic, office.

As every morning, email comes first. I click on the prim that shows a slowly spinning mail envelope, with the number 3 superimposed on it. A HUD appears on my righthand monitor, displaying my chosen email application. It looks like a normal window application. Man do I ever wish application makers would create seamless 3D apps. Maybe by the time I retire. Anyway. It shows two meaningless emails and one from my boss. "Meet me at my office." Uh oh.

I navigate through the virtual office hallway, passing by the HR manager. When I get close a window fades in over her head showing a feed from her webcam. We all use one, so she can see the same over my head too. We exchange our good-mornings over voice chat and do a little bit of office smalltalk before I excuse myself and head on to the bosses office, located in a lush virtual garden.

His office is privacy-enabled, so no one can cam in, no sound passes its walls. I "knock" at the door, and it opens. I enter. His avatar sits in front of a row of objects that only show placeholder images of applications. I know he sees the apps - but his client has authorization for that, I don't.

"Morning Jenni. Looking good today." he starts out, his webcam image showing over his head. He explains to me that he had problems opening a word document. Gah. Oh well. I rez a remote control HUD, which shows me his RL desktop in a smaller windows. His home office has bigger monitors - the perks of being a boss. Squinting, I follow his explanation and see how he opens an email, clicks on the attachment and gets an error message. Ah-hah! Wrong Office version. With a few clicks I solve his problem, and we do some more smalltalk before I leave.

Back in my office I click on a few screens, opening various monitoring applications as HUDs on my screen. The actual applications are hosted on a terminal server in our office. The 3D environment we rent from a company called Linden Labs. We bought the prim surface interface from a 3rd party, after evaluating a few competing products. This one won because it can display individual apps in their own prims, and it seamlessly supports VNC, NX and Ncomputing. Most others only display whole desktops via VNC. The "capture keyboard" interface the plugins rely on is still a bit rough on the edges, but hopefully Linden Labs will fix it soon.

A blinking prim with a soft alert sound draws my attention. On the world map on the back of my office is a little red light in Switzerland. Looks like the store there has a problem. I click on the light and a flyout representation of the store's IT systems comes up. Looks like their milling systems are offline. I click on their server, and a console window opens. The logs tell me nothing so I click on the "Call store" icon in the lower left. I hear the phone dialing sound, and soon have their manager on the phone. Well, on my lightweight headset really. Turns out they're having a power outage, that means the power hungry mills went offline but will come back on their own when power comes back.

At 10am we have a managers meeting. I'm there early, as is the company president. We do some smalltalk. His webcam shows him sitting outside somewhere, and I learn that he's currently in Hawaii, relaxing on the beach.

The managers arrive, and the presidents avatar heads to the podium. His webcam feed appears on the big prim behind him, easy to see for everyone. He displays a few excel sheets on the big presentation screen/prim behind him, followed by a motivational video. After he's done, I step to the podium and speak about a few software changes we made. A manager has a question, and I click on his name to zoom into his webcam feed... another day, another meeting.

Lunchtime. My coworker and me decide to hang out together at The Gaslight, listening to an excellent live bluegrass performance by Cosmic Haystack and his bunch of pickers. I turned my webcam off, to eat in a bit of privacy. It's only enabled for the companys group, but still. We return to our private company sim afterwards, where we have to re-authenticate as authentication was dropped for security reasons when we left.


So far the post. That's how _I_ imagine working in a virtual world. The 3D environment is provided by one provider. The applications by other providers. Key points?

1) Voice and webcam feeds. Optional, of course, and possibly restricted to/by group and/or friends.

2) Privacy. There are a few key points here.

    a) Privacy-enabled areas. Voice, Cam & Chat won't leave the area. No camming into these areas.

    b) All OUR data is hosted on OUR servers. Applications are on OUR servers. Secured by OUR VPN. No issues of stealing content, spying or anything else. The CLIENT fetches the data, the data doesn't even pass through LLs servers. Normal prim/common texture data from SL, everything sensitive from within our corporate network. Thus it's secure. Even if someone stole our SL credentials, they wouldn't ever get our data as they're not on the VPN.

    c) Authentication. Simple challenge-response authentication, possibly with the option of authenticating against a custom server - might even be provided by LL as a for-rent service.

3) Dynamic HUDs. Prim surfaces or whole objects can be viewed in "HUD mode". No HUD attachment points for these either, they'd work more like a common desktop window.

4) Plugins. 3rd parties can provide viewer plugins which can provide additional content to the SL environment. They can grab keyboard input, mouse input, joystick input, register keyboard shortcuts, display entries in the preference screen and so on and render whatever they want on prim surfaces. Of course, that means that people who do not have these plugins will not be able to see the surface. And that's how it should be. With such plugins, ANYTHING can be plugged in to SL. Pun intended. The llMedia plugin would be a prototype for such a system. I've been tinkering with this a bit, it's not even hard to do.

IF(!) SL would get that far, it might be useful for some office applications. There's still the whole paperless office issue, Fax and all, but there are ways around that - my employer already uses that.

Again disclaimer: This is what _I_ think would make SL useful _FOR_US_. I do, personally, doubt that many companies would jump on the platform EVEN IF it would become that powerful. The reason I even bothered posting it? Just to show how close but yet how far SL is from being a workplace tool - in MY opinion.

by Member Chaz Longstaff
on ‎09-05-2009 10:13 AM

Hello again, all. I AR'ed the spammer, by the way, both under the alias used above and the other similar one.

First, some of the posts are driven by personal anger. I get that. But hey -- people who say only nice fluffy things about you aren't really ever of any use. When I get feedback like that, I let the emotion in me rise and fall (for the correspondents *mean* to produce that response in you); then quickly do what I can to get the emotion out of the way with the correspondent, so you both can focus on the points raised rationally. And it's almost always worth it -- you end up getting some genuine gems that you can learn from. And the correspondent in turn is reminded that a constructive approach gets more change happening than a negative one.

Secondly, I note that just about everyone seems to be thinking about the business use of SL only in terms of corporate, cube-hole working. The reality in North America and in the UK, however (don't know the stats on other countries) is though that the majority of jobs are created by small businesses.

Consequently, I think it would be a mistake by LL or anyone else to think about biz in SL just in terms of reproducing corporative administrivia type jobs. Big businesses aren't the early adapters; it's us small biz people who are.

And I have brought two of my clients into SL, with as much success as we expected so far. The explicit goal is to evaluate SL, and do anything useful that is possible at the same time. Health charities -- some tentative distribution of awareness and education, some tentative fundraising. And in our particular health niche, we're finding that our target audience -- also early adapters -- is indeed already here. So it just works out for us.

I'm thinking of e-Bay right now. They didn't strike it rich by targeting the Walmart's and Costco's of the world to get their merchandise on line. Heck, if they'd waited for those two, for example, they'd have gone bankrupt. Those two took forever to bring their stuff online. Big mammoths like them lumber along slowly. Instead, e-Bay took off owing to the zillions of small businesses that rushed to find customers there. And, e-Bay made it easy for the customers to get there, without which it wouldn't have happened.

So perhaps before we worry about how theoretically we might get businesses into SL, the thought should be: what do we have to do to get customers' eyeballs there. And to that point, much of the feedback above which reflects bad personal experiences is perhaps very germane. Though as in all things, one wants to bear in mind that the very unhappy people are always very vocal; the contented or better ones are silent because they're busy enjoying what they're contented with.

by Advisor Jenni Darkwatch
on ‎09-05-2009 10:54 AM

True Chaz. Small businesses are more easily early adopters.

Question though: How do you imagine using SL for a small business? It would be, I think, helpful to get a few different perspectives on possible use scenarios, as the ones in the "Case Studies" are... useless hype, IMO.

by Linden
on ‎09-17-2009 11:07 AM

Hey all, wanted to circle back on this post. I have decided not to do a follow-up blog post on this, but to take selected pieces of feedback and/or confusion and blog on them one at a time--lots of great ideas for many future posts.

The one thing that I want everyone who reads this blog--and contributes to it--to know is that, at Linden Lab, we're listening. We hear your frustrations, acknowledge your challenges, and are working hard to enhance the performance and usability of your Second Life experience. I feel like I can speak on behalf of my colleagues by saying this: Lindens are incredibly passionate about Second Life and most of all--you--the amazing community within SL. You all put the Life into Second Life.

So, thanks for the lively, constructive, and thoughtful dialogue and look forward to much more ahead.