Working Inworld General

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A few years ago, we launched  the SecondLifeGrid.net, a website for Residents and organizations interested in working, learning, and developing in Second Life. Since that time, the enterprise/government, education, and developer communities have experienced strong growth. In order to better serve the unique needs of each community, we have developed three distinct microsites that will replace SecondLifeGrid.net.

  • Second  Life Work: Second Life Work is focused on the business and government communities that use SL for virtual meetings, events, training, prototypes, and simulations to catalyze innovation while reducing the cost and environmental impact of travel.
  • Second Life Education: Second Life Education is designed for educators who are interested in compelling, cost-effective virtual education solutions to amplify an existing curriculum or create new models for engaged, collaborative learning. There's also a very cool  Education Directory listing schools in Second Life today; we invite you to add your educational institution to the directory.
  • Second Life Develop: Second Life Develop is the one-stop-shop for Residents interested in building in Second Life (using  LSL), building on the platform, and extending it using APIs. There are lots of great resources and tips for those just starting out and experts  alike.

Please note, we will continue offering the Second Life Grid Status.

Thanks and  let us know how we can continue to make the microsite experiences even  better! Send us your thoughts at slworkfeedback@lindenlab.com.

Cheers,  Amanda Linden

Today we'd like to introduce our first international case study featuring Germany's TUEV NORD Group a worldwide certification and testing company.  When M and I visited Munich earlier this year, we hosted a press roundtable with Frank Boerger of TUEV NORD and Solution Provider Hanno Tietgens of BÜRO X Media Lab.  Frank and Hanno talked about how TUEV NORD has used Second Life as a meeting venue, a training platform and even a recruiting tool.  To learn more, download the case study now in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, German and French or view it online at Work.SecondLife.com

From the summary:

Since 1869, when the company was founded in Germany to inspect boilers, TUEV NORD Group's unwavering mission has been to "make the world safer."  Today, TUEV NORD Group has over 8,500 employees in more than 70 countries and a broad international client base for its unique consulting, service and inspection portfolio and management of complex safety solutions.  The company's 3D presence can be found in Second Life by the region name of "TUEV Nord".  Since 2007, the region has been used for recruiting, meetings, game based education and other new ways to share knowledge.  An ambitious long-distance training project produced a complete return on investment within a year.  Now the company is ready to share the benefits of its extensive virtual development with clients.

The TUEV NORD case study is not only a demonstration of the range of benefits that companies around the world are achieving today in Second Life, but also a great example of the incredible value that the global community of talented Solution Providers offer to organizations. Read the case study, and go check out TUEV NORD in Second Life here.

Metanomics_ODriscoll.jpg

For those of you not familiar with Metanomics, it is one of the largest and most successful business communities in Second Life and they also have a weekly mixed-reality event—in SL and streamed on the web—that is one of the most well attended business gatherings in SL. Under the leadership of Doug Thompson (SL: Dusan Writer), CEO of Remedy Communications and Robert Bloomfield (SL: Beyers Sellers), Professor of Accounting at Cornell University, the Metanomics program has thrived and trail blazed several best practices around building community and producing large mixed-reality events in Second Life. So, we just had to do a case study exploring how they built the program and showcasing their accomplishments, entitled, “A Vibrant Community and Mixed-Reality Events for Virtual World Business and Policy, “ now available in English, German, French, Japanese, Spanish, and Portuguese on the SL Work website. The case study is also mentioned on the Metanomics blog.

Here’s the executive summary:

"Metanomics™ explores the serious uses of virtual worlds and, from its start, has built a global community as a weekly discussion of policy and research. Centered on a talk-show program that broadcasts live from Second Life, Metanomics is an example of how organizations are building engaged communities and cost-effectively developing content that can be widely distributed on the Web."

"Metanomics began in September 2007 as a visionary guest lecture series for business and law undergrads by Robert Bloomfield, a professor at Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell University, but it soon attracted business and thought leadership-minded professionals from the Second Life user community. The broad ranging audience participation won the attention of Remedy Communications, which bought Metanomics in December 2008. The weekly program, now in its third year, has since evolved into a successful and vibrant mixed-media communication network—using both inworld and Web-streaming technologies—consisting of over 3,000 content developers, businesses, educators, and thinkers."

So, I encourage you to check out the case, join the Metanomics community and participate in their weekly events—generally every Wednesday at 12pm PT—but check their events listing for specific dates/times. And, get involved in the Metanomics community on their Forum, Facebook group, and Twitter feed.

One other note. Esbee Linden and I were invited onto Metanomics yesterday to discuss Viewer 2 and Shared Media. Check out the replay.

Enjoy!

P.S. And, if you’re looking for other business-related communities and events, I’m also a big fan of Gronstedt Group’s “Train for Success,” events every Thursday at 9:00am PT.

Our announcement last week of the Second Life Viewer 2 Beta marks a significant evolutionary step on many fronts, as covered in recent blog posts. Now that the dust has had a chance to settle a bit, I'd like to dive into some of what this means for our Enterprise customers in particular. Two areas stand out as big wins. The first is the opportunity for deeper organizational adoption as usability obstacles have been cleared. The second is the vast new content creation (and purchasing) opportunities that will abound with the introduction of Shared Media. Let's look at each of these in detail.

Organizational Adoption
Like many other technologies, the value of Second Life derived from within the organization increases with adoption, for many reasons: shared learning, reduced setup times, more productive time spent on the tasks at hand, resulting in more in-depth, creative and productive uses of the product.Second Life Viewer 2, now in Beta, has the ingredients necessary to take Second Life deeper into the organization:

  • A slimmed-down more familiar user interface with a cleaner layout and simplified menu choices means that if your users have seen a browser, they're starting on familiar ground
  • Simpler location sharing via integrated Second Life URLs (SLURLs) -- location links that can be copied from the browser-like location bar to an email, instant message or calendar event to facilitate both scheduled and impromptu collaboration
  • A smooth transition: the current production viewer (1.23) will still work; so existing users making the transition can easily fall back to familiar ground as they master the new viewer

Build or Buy? Rich Interactive Solution Possibilities Abound
Adoption will also be spurred by what you and your users can now
create inworld -- thanks to the implications of the powerful new Shared Media feature set. Until now, sophisticated content creation has centered around several core competencies: object creation using inworld building tools, object texturing, and of course, scripting. Many organizations until now have found it a daunting proposition to develop these skills within their organizations due to their limited transferability to other projects. But many organizations do have essential Web application expertise; and this can be leveraged fully through Shared Media, by incorporating interactive Web content with inworld objects. While we'll continue to support the existing content-creation tools, building sophisticated interactive training and collaboration space now becomes significantly easier.

Further, in addition to having access to the full complement of Web development capabilities (pretty much anything supported natively in a Web browser), media is no longer constrained to a single instance per parcel. Before the introduction of Shared Media, a given parcel of land could support only a single piece of media, such as a video or audio stream. Today, any surface can be assigned a separate media source. And more than this, the media can be interactive. Consider some new possibilities:

Complement Live Events
With the ability to put media where you need it without parcel constraints, virtual live events become a much simpler affair to conduct. Envision a space with live streaming video of the presenter(s) along with simultaneous Flash-based media presentations to accompany their discussion points; breakout rooms with collaborative white boards or idea-sharing synchronized notepads; and hands-on software product demonstrations via Web-based VNC-style application sharing. All of these components can be assembled readily by leveraging Web-based software that you are likely already using (or could easily be).


Leverage a World of Existing Web-Based Collaborative Applications
So, what Web applications in particular might you be able to use inworld today to facilitate collaboration? There are plenty of options. Here are some examples, by category, to get you started (but by no means an exhaustive list):


shared-media-graphic.png

Again, not exhaustive, and not all comprehensively tested internally, but illustrative of how leveraging Web-based media, including Flash, into Second Life drastically expands the availability of "out of the box" components and full-scale solutions.

On the Horizon: a Content Explosion
The other result we believe will soon become apparent is an explosion of Shared Media-based solutions available for purchase, either inworld or online via Xstreet XL, from individuals as well as seasoned solution providers. In this way, Enterprise users will have access to a wider choice along the buy-build spectrum: build from scratch
, assemble pre-built components, or purchase complete off-the-shelf solutions.

What about Second Life Enterprise?

All of these exciting UI and Shared Media features introduced here with Viewer 2 Beta will soon be coming to Second Life Enterprise (SLE) as part of the Release 1.0 product offering, scheduled for release in the second quarter of this year. Further, because some of the most valuable media content is secure behind your firewall, SLE will be the go-to solution for easily sharing this secure data in private workspaces. This includes things like company Intranet pages, internal wikis, SharePoint pages, project planning output, and any number of common web-based workgroup mediums.

These are just some initial concepts on what we're sure is the virtual tip of the iceberg of possibilities now available for compelling solutions in the enterprise. We're excited to see the creative solutions that begin to emerge, both as organization-specific solutions as well as those introduced into the SL ecosystem as items available for purchase inworld and on Xstreet SL. We'd love to hear some of your ideas and observations!

Further Reading:

Resources to Help You Learn Viewer 2

And, if something breaks or you're really stuck, then contact Support and we're happy to help.



Developed Land for Organizations

by Honored Resident Glenn Linden on ‎03-01-2010 10:24 AM

Looking for a way to get your organization started quickly in Second Life? Linden Lab now offers four pre-built regions with landscaping, buildings and appropriate additional features for purchase by invoice.

These developed full regions can now be purchased via our special order site for those who wish to pay from an invoice with Net 30 Day payment terms (approval and prepaid maintenance required). These developed regions have been available from the Second Life Land Store for purchase via credit card or PayPal. In the Land Store, your credit card or PayPal will be charged at purchase and maintenance is charged on a monthly basis (you must be logged into the Second Life website to view the Land Store). Developed regions are available only as full regions (not as Homestead or Open Space) when paying by invoice.

If you are an education or nonprofit organization, to receive a discounted rate your purchase must be through our special order site, it must be approved, and payment must be by invoice and include prepaid maintenance.

Developed Region Styles


Conference Center Region - Host your next meeting on a secluded island. Includes media screens and adjustable furniture.
BOARDROOM.jpg
Theater - This fully functioning theatre can hold up to 100 avatars. Especially designed for presentations with chat that can be heard even in the back row!
THEATER.jpg
Baronial Castle - Looking for a location that will give people a different perspective for your meetings or events?  This Imposing mountaintop residence is complete with tavern for informal meetings, and includes a boat and dungeon.
CASTLE.jpg
Moonbase - Need a place for sparking creativity? Try your next meeting on Moonbase.  Includes spacesuits, moonbuggies and shuttlecraft.
MOON_BASE.jpg
You can use one of these as a starting point and hire a Solution Provider to customize the Developed Region to better meet your requirements.  You may prefer to buy undeveloped land and enjoy creating your own completely customized space.  Or you can hire a Solution Provider to create a completely customized experience for you in Second Life.

Efficacy in Virtual Worlds

by Honored Resident Glenn Linden on ‎02-26-2010 05:16 PM

People often ask the question, why should I use Second Life instead of web-based tools or real world events for training?

I spoke on a panel at the Virtual Edge conference this week that addressed that question.  I pulled together the following results that provide a variety of measures of efficacy for projects done in Second Life, and one anecdotal look at why virtual worlds may provide an effective platform.  There seem to be two components of this.  One is the impact of people's association with their avatar where they're engaged but also have some distance that seems to provide increased learning over other platforms (see my blog post "Engagement in Second Life".  The other is the ability to create an environment that enables you to "be there" - a key finding of the Border Guard project at Loyalist College.

In addition to these results, the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research  publishes a variety of research that includes studies of many kinds of use of virtual worlds.

1) Loyalist College Border Guard Training

The amazing results of the training and simulation program have led to significantly improved grades on students’ critical skills tests, taking scores from a 56% success in 2007, to 95% at the end of 2008 after the simulation was instituted.

2) Michelin - IT training

Outcomes included better visualization of complex concepts, and faster and better learning. Other training methods had failed completely and Second Life was effective at achieving their training goals. Forrester Research, Case Study: Michelin Uses Second Life For Enterprise Architecture Training by Erica Driver  (There is a fee for this Case Study)

3) Medical: RTI: Avatars could help fight obesity

The study found that that 80 percent of respondents who reported high levels of physical activity for their avatars also reported participating in high levels of physical activity in their real lives.  "Based on these preliminary results, it seems likely that virtual reality users may adjust their identity to be consistent with that of their avatars," said Elizabeth Dean, research survey methodologist at RTI and the study's lead author.

4) Philips Design: To Play or Not to Play by Slava Kozlov and Nicole Reinhold

They found the virtual world had the capability to get people out of a '4 grey walls' mentality and because of the surprising nature of the environment, encouraged a more creative and flexible approach that increased innovation and creativity compared to other meeting platforms.

5) Virtual Worlds vs. Video: "Why Webcams Fail" by Caleb Booker

And finally, there's this opinion piece that examines people's reaction to being on camera compared to using an avatar for meetings.  Virtual space experiences work better than a webcam experience for three reasons:

  1. You can maintain some “personal space”.
  2. Whatever learning mode you’re in, chances are you’ll do fine.
  3. The experience fills your field of vision far more readily.

Other Resources

SL WIki: Other Second Life Studies

If you know of other studies that show quantifiable and direct benefits of using Second Life, please add them to this page.

SL Wiki: Business Articles about Second Life

Science in Second Life

by Honored Resident Glenn Linden on ‎02-26-2010 05:15 PM

I recently got a request from a company that was looking for examples of interactive human body exhibits in Second Life - like a beating heart or interactive blood flow.

The closest I know about is a 50' high model of an interactive human larynx (SLURL) done by Don Bickley of NMU (see and read more about it on this blog post).  However, there are a number of resources for science and health-related projects in Second Life.

Start with the SL Wiki; you'll find sections on Science, Health, and Education that have links to various resources including places in Second Life.  There are a number of sites that have great lists of science and health related Places in SL: SL Science Center Group maintains a web site that includes a places list. There's a health site (SLHealthy) that maintains a health-related places list.

Finally, there's SciLands - the central hub for science-related programs in Second Life and one of the first archipelagos formed by bringing together projects with related interests.

Real-world training in Second Life

by Honored Resident Glenn Linden on ‎01-26-2010 02:33 PM

A number of real-world corporate training companies have discovered Second Life as a platform for delivering their content to their corporate customers.  We'd like to share what they're doing as a great example of how Second Life can be used as a training solution.  And you may find their services useful - either in RL or SL.

Here are three I've come across. Please let me know if you know of others.

Virtual Training Partners was formed as a Division of Shapiro Negotiation Institute, which has been doing classroom style training for the past 16 years.  While clients asked for distance learning solutions such as webinars, SNI was never able to effectively translate its highly interactive content into this less interactive medium.  Mark Jankowski, President of SNI, discovered Second Life in In December of 2008, and created Virtual Training Partners to translate SNI's negotiation courses into SL's immersive environment.

Shapiro Negotiations has created scenarios and activities in Second Life that mirror their real-world training but create a more compelling experience.  In the real world, we can only show you a picture of a place related to a particular negotiation tactic - but it's just a picture.  In Second Life, we've built a series of environments so that you're immersed in the experience of the place, rather than just seeing it.  You learn the tactic, then face a forced-choice activity where you move to a particular answer location and discuss your choice.  The experience is vivid and memorable.  One of our clients noted, "Over a month later, I can still recall the 4 environments - and the associated tactic.  Could I do that if it had been just slides on a screen? I doubt it."

Mark notes his clients have benefitted from their SL training in 3 ways:

  1. Being able to provide training that would otherwise have been cancelled due to travel restrictions
  2. Eliminating travel costs. For instance, one program that was moved from a classroom format to Second Life, had participants from Australia, Tokyo, UK, NYC, LA, and South Africa.  Travel expenses alone would have been $20,000+.
  3. Increased Productivity.  For the program described above, participants would have been out of the office for at least a week to attend the classroom training.
  4. Increased retention of material.  Because we are able to present seminars in one hour segments inworld, as opposed to two-day classroom formats, participants have been able to learn and practice new skills, which naturally to higher retention when compared to having all of the information being absorbed over a 2-day classroom experience.

For more information, SL: Marc Wizenheim, Virtual Training Partners

nTeams partnered with ALCUS design team in 2009 to create in Second Life an engaging "off-site" for distributed teams to work together every day, any time to create innovative business solutions. "Gallup studies show that before teams can innovate, they must be engaged and inspired to work together. Only then does team creativity and collaboration occur," says Barbara Westmoreland, nTeams Founder who for 25 years has lead global teams for Procter & Gamble, IBM, Wachovia, and Xerox. "Yet with employees scattered across the globe, communicating through non-engaging web meetings, conference calls, and emails, with no travel budget to meet face-to-face, employee engagement has plummeted.... and it's costing U.S. corporations alone $325 billion dollars a year.

"I was looking for a platform to deliver nTeams distributed team training and tools to increase engagement when I discovered Second Life. Its immersive environment provides distributed teams with a virtual place to learn and work together 'face-to-face' without travel and meeting costs," says Westmoreland, who considered Web 2.0 and other virtual world platforms before choosing Second Life for its extensive virtual world building capabilities, cost-effectiveness, and accessibility. nTeams training includes 'life-like' team building experiences, such as an underwater adventure to minimize stress, a river ride to create a shared vision, and a survival hike to experience making value-based decisions. "How can distributed teams experience team building challenges using web meetings or video conferences?" asks Westmoreland. "Second Life is the only technology on the market where you can you cost-effectively create training scenarios that engage and inspire distributed teams to innovate. And with Second Life Enterprise, now corporations can have nTeams behind their firewall to ensure confidentiality of their distributed team's innovative business solutions."

For more information, SL: Lillian Brentley, nTeams

Human Mosaic Systems helps organizations see the gestalt or Big Picture of complexity and how it is impacting their own particular and unique organization through facilitating group processes, workshops, classes, non-scripted immersive learning environments (virtual reality), consulting, software programs, and coaching. We help leaders develop greater understanding and abilities to meet the new challenges facing organizations in today's fast paced complex world. We not only help individuals see more clearly what their organization is experiencing, we help organizations move through transformations, create paradigm shifts in understanding, and harness change through our certified self-organization process, dynamic interactive processes, and complex decision making skills. We help organizations meet the challenges of the future in an ever changing global environment.

HMS has been in Second Life for over a year now.  Beverly Gay McCarter, Principal of HMS, says: "In a dispersed global work environment, Second Life's virtual environment allows Human Mosaic Systems (HMS) to reach clients who might otherwise not be accessible, saving our clients time and money in travel costs and lost work time." It also allows us to hold consults, meetings, workshops and classes in a dynamic environment that facilitates trust and enhances communication through a sense of presence - the sharing of a space with others. Second Life's virtual environment allows HMS to conduct *non-scripted* immersive learning simulations to help clients practice and truly learn in a dynamic kinetic fashion skills we teach that help them to understand themselves and others, understand complexity and it's impact, to make decisions in complex environments, and to facilitate group processes to move an organization or team through transformational change. Non-scripted immersive learning environments allow complexity to occur and, thus, challenge participants to think laterally and be flexible and adaptable in their decision making processes. Second Life provides a wonderful platform for this to happen.

For more information: SL: Bev Lander, Human Mosaic Systems

Last year’s Solution Provider Exposition was an incredible success. Demand for more developer showcase opportunities continues to rise. With this is mind, the SP Exposition Working Group takes great pleasure in announcing the grand opening of a permanent Solution Provider Exposition!

Second Life developers have provided innovative answers to some of enterprise’s newest questions. The SP Exposition will highlight companies that provide in-world experiential services and solutions to real-world businesses using the Second Life platform.

The SP Exposition opened on Jan 25th, 2010. It offers you opportunity to:

  • View examples and case studies of successful enterprise, government, and educational projects
  • Attend presentations and other developer activities
  • Check out recent projects and opportunities

The Solution Provider Exposition will focus on the full array of Second Life Solution Provider services and provide insight into successful real-world projects on the Second Life platform. It will also communicate the concepts used for a variety of applications such as training, simulation, meetings, education, and more.

This admission-free virtual trade show is available year round and is open to the public. We encourage you to visit the Solution Provider Exposition Website for more information.

If you are a Solution Provider and would like to learn how to participate, click here.

If you are a Solution Provider and have specific questions regarding participation, please email the SPConference Manager at spconference.manager (at) gmail dot com or use the Contact Us form at www.spexposition.com

If you are interested in learning more about the Solution Provider Program, please visit this site.

We hope to see you there!


A few weeks ago, when the Scott & Miller press release was published, entitled, “Ad Agency Uses Second Life as Design and Presentation Tool for Client, The Dow Chemical Co.," I had five people independently send it to me saying, “This would make a great blog post.” I agreed and immediately reached out to Robert Emory, the Art Director of Interactive Media at Scott & Miller. (Turns out, he had already emailed us about the news, too.)

The story is a simple, but powerful one. Dow Chemical purchased a large sponsorship at one of their most important trade shows, the 2009 National Plastics Exposition in Chicago. Their sponsorship included an enormous exhibit space—a 36,000 square-foot ballroom and Scott & Miller, as their marketing agency of record, were asked to design the space. Now, 36,000 square feet is a very large space that needed to be thoughtfully planned, from an experience design perspective. So, the Scott & Miller team decided to build a prototype of several concepts in Second Life and walk the client through to evaluate the layout and design. The end result is that there were no surprises—for anyone involved—and the entire event was a huge success, in great part to Scott & Miller’s innovative use of Second Life as a prototyping and experience design platform in this client engagement. Robert and I chatted about his experience here’s how it went. And, there's a pop quiz at the end--so pay attention.

Amanda: You have successfully designed spaces for clients many times before in other mediums. So, why did you choose to prototype Dow Chemical's National Plastics Expo space in Second Life?
Robert: It was the scale and scope of the space that made us want to find a different way to present concepts to the clients. 36,000 square feet, with multiple graphic walls, and the various other structures and furnishings presented challenges to ensuring graphic unity and uninterrupted floor plan flow. Visitors to Dow's customer center would be seeing the space from numerous angles and we needed to account for all of them so that the final product contributed to a unique and positive experience. Now that we've seen the value of using Second Life in this way, we will use it to help design and present other event spaces, large or small.

Amanda: How did you work with the Dow Chemical client to make key experience design decisions and how was SL useful for your internal agency team?
Robert: The beauty of Second Life vs. other more traditional design and presentation methods, is that it allowed all parties involved (from clients to exhibit and graphic production suppliers) to come into the room together to review various graphic options, collaborate on possible room layout improvements, and most importantly to see those options unfold before their eyes -- no waiting a day or two for us to collect all of the feedback, re-render a static depiction, and then re-convene. With our design and building capabilities in Second Life (and of course some pre-planning and design prior to presentation), we were able to make changes on the fly. Clients could review and compare all of the possibilities and make well-informed decisions. In addition, clients could have as many "second thoughts" as they wanted during the design development phase of the project. They could log in at their convenience without the agency breathing down their neck to thoroughly evaluate decisions they had already made or that needed to be made.

The benefit to us internally was twofold: SL helped us visualize the designs (just like it helped the client) so that we could make sound decisions and recommendations, and it gave us a great way to illustrate to the clients exactly how the room could and would look in its final form. Agencies are always looking to add value for their clients. This application of SL allowed us to do just that.

Amanda: Very interesting. Looking back, what was the most interesting surprise and were you able to identify any tangible ROI?
Robert: Maybe not so much a "surprise," but I did feel a "wow" moment when I walked into the real customer center. It was eerie (in a good way) how dead-on the virtual world was to the finished space. That really gets at the heart of why this use of SL was so successful. There were no surprises. By the time we were ready to "hit the print button," we were confident about what the result would be. There was no walking into the actual customer center and thinking, "I wish we would have thought of that," or "That section could have been better; but oh well, it is what it is." The peace-of-mind benefit was huge—for both the client and us.

ROI would be difficult to quantify based on this particular application of SL. Did it save a trip across country that would have otherwise been needed? Probably. Did it save multiple trips? Maybe. Did it translate into more sales for the client? In this particular case, I think the leap to correlate the two is far too big. Here's what I do know: SL helped us to plan, design, and create the backdrop for a memorable customer experience, one that led to sales and strengthened relationships. Would that have happened if we hadn't used SL for this project? Likely, yes. Did we get a better end result with SL. Absolutely, yes.

---------

After spending over 10+ years in the digital/maketing services business, I can tell ya. Sometimes the best ROI of all is peace of mind that you did your absolute best for your client—and they are pleased with the result.

Huge thanks to Robert at Scott & Miller for taking the time to chat, sharing their photos of the real and virtual space, and creating an excellent machinima to really give you all a good sense for the project.


So, pop quiz... Which image is the real life and which is Second Life?

001b.jpg

001a.jpg

Top one is real life and the bottom one is Second Life. Ok, that was fun. Try one more.

002a.jpg

002b.jpg

The top one is Second Life and the bottom one is real life.

Ok, pop quiz over. How did you do?

Looking forward to your comments.

The Gold Solution Provider Program identifies Solution Providers who have significant experience and expertise developing successful projects for real world companies, organizations, and institutions, have highly satisfied customers, and successfully engage and support their clients’ work and activities in Second Life. Launched in May 2009, program members come from over a dozen countries and provide a multitude of services and products for companies and organizations using Second Life for work.

Today, we are pleased to announce the addition 6 new Gold Solution Providers to the program, for a total of 45 Gold Program members:

2b3d (United States)
Dancing Ink Productions (United States)
Metaversatility (United States)
Remedy Communications (United States)
Virtual World Design Centre (Canada)
World2Worlds (United States)

The newest Gold Program members continue to reflect the strength and diversity of the experience, skill, and clients engaged by the Second Life Solution Provider community. Some of the projects that they have developed and provided for prominent companies, organizations, and educational and government institutions include:

  • Developing simulations for training nurses at a major national hospital
  • Building and managing a large community of residents around an international telecom brand
  • Managing and running a long running popular show held in Second Life on enterprise uses of virtual worlds, integrating inworld, real world and  web experiences
  • Organizing and managing large internal conference for a major IT company
  • Partnering with a major US fitness chain and a university to develop and integrate use of Second Life into a weight loss program
  • Working closely with client to leverage Second Life to research and explore and the role of virtual worlds in the the future of the workforce

All Gold Program members are designated with a Gold Program logo next their listing in the Solution Provider Directory, and on member websites. A complete list of Gold Program members is also included below and in this program overview document.

The Gold Program reflects Linden Lab’s continuing commitment to supporting the successful use and experience of Second Life for enterprise users. Linden Lab will continue to review, identify and add new Gold Solution Providers to the program, expanding the pool of expertise available to organizations seeking to understand, explore, develop, and include Second Life as part of their business or educational activities.

Linden Lab accepts and reviews Gold Program applications from Solution Provider program members on an ongoing basis. The next round of Gold Program members will be announced in April 2010. All program participants are reviewed annually. Future program members will continue to be reviewed and added on a quarterly basis.

For more information on the Gold Program and the Solution Provider Program, please visit http://work.secondlife.com/en-US/getstarted/findpartner/.

Congratulations to the newest members of the Gold Solution Provider Program! We look forward to working with you to continue to make Second Life an effective and successful place for enterprise users.

Complete Gold Solution Provider Program Membership List

2b3d (US)

A&D Consultants (Italy)

Aimee Weber Studio (US)

Avatrian, LLC (US)

Beta Technologies (US/Portugal)

bluepill GROUP (Spain, Belgium, Germany)

Bokowsky + Laymann GmbH (Germany)

Chant Newall Development Group LLC/FutureWork Institute (US)

Clarity International (Italy/UK)

Community Chest (France)

Corporation Planners Unlimited - Virtualis Center (US)

Corporation Pop (UK)

Cranial Tap, Inc. (US)

Daden Limited (UK)

Dancing Ink Productions (US)

depo USA, LLC (US/UK)

Designing Digitally, Inc. (US)

Figment Pte Ltd. (Singapore)

Firesabre Consulting (US)

Gronstedt Group (US)

Hermes-PPMM (UK/Netherlands)

i-Marginal (France)

Ill Clan Animation Studios (US)

Indusgeeks Solutions Pvt. Ltd. (India)

Involve, Inc. (US)

ISN Virtual Worlds (Italy)

MadeVirtual Ltd. (UK)

MakeMyWorlds (France, Germany)

Metabirds Co., Ltd. (Japan)

The Aegean Group (formerly Moderne Interactive) (US)

New Business Horizons Ltd (UK)

NMC (US)

Novatierra (Spain)

Popcha! (US)

Remedy Communications (US)

Rivers Run Red (UK, US)

Siterma VWP (US)

Immersive Lab (formerly Stonfield InWorld) (France)

The Magicians (US)

virtual-e Ltd (UK)

Virtual World Design Centre (Canada)

VirtualMind (formerly SecondMind) (Spain)

World2Worlds (US)

Youin3D GmbH (Germany)

To find the Solution Providers that best fit your needs, please visit the Solution Provider Directory

For more information on the Solution Provider Program, please visit Solution Provider Program page.

The Business of Learning Second Life

by Honored Resident Glenn Linden on ‎12-08-2009 05:37 PM

Two university programs prepare real students (and business people) for virtual work.

Last summer, a group of grads in virtual caps and gowns faced the future and became the first group of students to be officially certified for work in a virtual world.

Certificate in Virtual Worlds at University of Washington

Randy Hinrichs created the Certificate in Virtual Worlds at the University of Washington in a collaboration with the iSchool and the University of Washington Education Outreach program. Students range from undergraduates to those already working who are looking to update their skills.

The extensive curriculum includes but ranges beyond skills that are unique to working within Second Life. Topics include research in identity, intellectual property, cybersecurity, instructional design, data visualization, information design, planning and executing events and conferences, creating machinima, engaging in collaboration, retail and marketing. The hands on side of the certificate develops competencies in building, graphic design, media, animation, programming, program management and storytelling in virtual worlds.

"I'm designing a Continuing Education course on ocular pharmacology for optometrists to be conducted in Second Life," Joseph Tractenberg, a PhD Optometrist reports. "Also, I have submitted a manuscript on virtual reality and vision testing to Optometry, the Journal of the American Optometric Association."

The most critical aspect of participation in virtual worlds--engagement--appears throughout the course as students look at the relationships between information, technology and people. The exploration of avatar development is conducted in tandem with researching and executing design principles for collaborative space development.
In Second Life, a user-created platform, the imagination plays a major role in the creation of business value. Participants are required to learn how to build prims, textures and programs to craft individual working spaces and collaborative environments. A sim is born in which the culture of the students and their innovation and creativity can emerge.

Participants
practice collaboration by meeting every Thursday night in Second Life and launching into other virtual worlds to compare and contrast system requirements, interaction models, business models, social networking, and monetary transaction systems.

Celeste Deveneux (Club One Fitness) said, "... program provides the necessary skills to direct and implement the project designs necessary to drive virtual world solutions to revenue generating channels." 

ImagiLearning's Virtual Learning Experience

Another program that fosters the development of skills required to work in Second Life and other virtual worlds is ImagiLearning Virtual Learning Experience, a 4 month program, run by Dr. John Jamison, who formerly directed the National Game & Simulation Programming Bachelor's degree program for DeVry University.

The Virtual Learning Experience program focuses on the cultural shift required to be successful in virtual worlds, with a research-based approach to learning.
Over 70 students have completed the Virtual Learning Experience, which is geared to help individuals in transition re-think and re-culture themselves to better position themselves for work in the emerging digital culture.  With many companies including Northrop Grumman and IBM and organizations such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration creating extensive virtual footprints in Second Life, the skills required for virtual work are increasingly in demand. As companies slash travel budgets and are pressured to go green, the emphasis is on viable alternatives. Second Life is the ideal venue in which to meet such pressures.

"At a time in which overall unemployment may actually be around 17%," Dr. Jamison said, "I see tremendous potential for Second Life to be developed as a job-retraining tool."

Dr. Jamison has found that reactions to SL are based on emotional response colored by their worldview and perception of themselves more than other factors such as age, technical ability or experience. As a result, Dr. Jamison believes that people view entering Second Life as a cultural change, not as a set of skills to be learned. Students in the program he created go from being "tourists" to creating a fully immersive experience. The class is focused on listening to, supporting and discussing issues related to cultural development, including research on the brain, games and learning. By focusing more on the emotions of reaction, educators in the program offer options related to exploration of an environment that may seem unfamiliar at first--until participants understand that at the core of the new culture is collaborative creation of reality.

The next University of Washington certificate program will run in Autumn 2010; for more information visit the Certificate Program web page.  For information about Imagilearning's next program, contact Dr. Jamison.


As we approach the New Year—and the dreaded New Year’s Resolutions—it’s a great time to think about losing those extra pounds. There’s been some buzz lately about Second Life and weight loss; a thinner avatar can help overweight people change behaviors and real world bodies.

Why am I talking about this? Well, a few months ago, I had the great pleasure of meeting Celeste DeVaneaux, the Sr. IT Manager, Support & Deployment and Creative Director of Club One Island, at Club One, one of the premier fitness club networks in California and home to 18 award-winning clubs. Celeste recently graduated from the University of Washington’s Virtual World Certification Program and worked with the Solution Provider 2b3d, to create Club One Island, a place where people can lose weight—virtually and physically.

Truth be told, I’m interested in joining the program and asked her a few questions about why she created the program and what kinds of participants she’s looking for.

Amanda: What inspired you to create this program?
Celeste: There are so many barriers to successful weight management, and most of these barriers have nothing to do with the actual biological process of losing or maintaining weight and everything to do with the psychological barriers. These barriers can include feelings of resistance and fear to a multitude of things, real or imagined. All those negative feelings we experience when we think about losing weight, or eating more healthily, or working out, prevent us from getting started or staying motivated, and from being successful. This project goes beyond the usual weight loss tools and activities and addresses those psychological barriers in a virtual environment.

I’ve always been a psychology geek; curious about what motivates us, what gets in our way, and how we can change or adapt to be more successful at whatever we do. When I was first introduced to Second Life, I immediately saw the potential that this type of immersive environment could have on human behavior, and consequently the impact it can have, not just on the health and fitness industry, but on all industries. Then mix my past experience in the IT industry and my passion for gaming with Club One’s innovation focus and we’ve created the “perfect storm” for inspiration and the creation of this program.

Amanda: How do you think virtual world experiences can affect real world behaviors?
Celeste: I am very fond of saying, “The mind does not know the difference between what is real and what is imagined.” Research and experience have proven this to be true time and again.  Consider the experience of visiting a beach: the setting sun, the ocean waves, the distant call of sea gulls crying, will change the physical state of most people, generally resulting in a mood of relaxation. Technology has developed to the point of allowing us the option of visiting that relaxing beach every day, just by doing so virtually. I will agree that visiting a virtual beach is not exactly the same experience as visiting a physical beach. However, the mind does not know the difference between what is real and what is imagined, and a virtual beach is close enough to the real thing to cause psychological and physiological changes in the visitor.

If we place this understanding as the core to exploration of the impact of a virtual environment on an individual, we begin to see a multitude of practical applications including overcoming fear and anxiety, reducing stress, achieving peak states in both mental and physical performance, building confidence, and so much more. The power of a virtual environment is that it allows any of us to step outside the noise of our everyday life and immerse our minds in a world of our choosing; a world where we can transcend the limitations of the physical world to become that which we hope to be. And, what we focus our minds on, what we dream, we can become.

Amanda: You're looking for beta testers. (Pick me! Pick me!) Tell me what kind of person you're looking for.
Celeste: We would love to have you! We’re looking for participants to help us assess the effectiveness of the program we’ve put in place. We have partnered with Indiana University to measure the effectiveness of avatar presence and virtual world engagement on carbon world behavior modification, specifically in this case, weight loss. We believe we have combined the elements of a great weight loss program with the benefits of a virtual environment. We’ve merged those benefits: interactivity, fun, immersion, engagement, and community with the premises behind neuroplasticity, immersion therapy, personality profiling and gaming, to build what we believe to be the first weight loss program focused on helping individuals change the way they think and act so as to create tangible change in their personal lives. We will be measuring this virtual program against a control group of one of our comparable physical world programs.

We are actively recruiting both Second Life residents and non-residents interested in losing 15 or more pounds. There is no charge to participants, though we will ask that they be willing to assist us in assessing the effectiveness of the program by allowing us to take measurements and replying to short surveys throughout the program.

The initial criteria for people interested in the program are as follows. Participants must:

  1. Commit to the 12 week program, attending sessions as described, as well as an orientation session.
  2. Be weighed and measured at onset, 6 wks, 12 wks, 6 months, 12 months
  3. Fill out surveys online at onset, 6 wks, 12 wks, 6 months, 12 months.  (Average per survey time 5 -10 minutes.) 
  4. Travel to a Club One club for measurements (Locations can be found at http://www.clubone.com/OurClubs.html)

Anyone who thinks they might be interested in knowing more should start with viewing our machinima (above), and then email me (Celeste) at cluboneisland@clubone.com for more information.

Thanks, Celeste. I can’t wait to learn more. With Club One’s help, maybe this will be the year that I actually keep my New Year’s Resolution!

Second Life, Firewalls and Security

by Honored Resident Glenn Linden on ‎12-04-2009 02:11 PM

If you're an employee of a large organization, you may have had problems convincing others that it's ok to use Second Life within your organization - or being able to use Second Life behind your corporate firewall.  Your IT department may have concerns about the security of a "game" like Second Life, or that it requires them to open ports in the firewall.

We've created several documents to provide information and answers.  You'll find them in the Knowledge Base.  One common way to address firewall issues is to specify the Second Life subnets.  Since we regularly add new servers as Second Life grows, that approach requires continued monitoring and updating to keep the subnets current so all of Second Life is accessible:  "What are Second Life's subnets?",

Some related articles are: “How do I configure my hardware firewall (such as a router)?" and “How do I configure my software firewall (such as Norton Internet Security, McAfee Personal Firewall,...?"  "Firewall Usecases" lets you submit your own use case for connecting from behind a firewall; other articles are firewalls and teleporting, and firewalls and voice. "Configuring your Corporate Firewall to Allow Access to Second Life" provides more information about the required ports and configuration. An Overview of Second Life Security" addresses questions about potential security risks from using Second Life in a corporate environment.

You might also join the SLCorporateUse mailing list and post your questions there (it’s a members-only list, so you have to join to post). This list is for discussion of topics such as using SL behind firewalls, managing desktop images, and other large-institution/IT issues.

If you have ideas for other Knowledge Base articles that would be helpful, the article "Submitting a Knowledge Base Suggestion" tells you how. Oh, by the way, I don't work on the Knowledge Base team, but I do find the Knowledge Base full of helpful information.  I hope you find these useful.

Glenn Linden

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Come join us a very cool event on Thursday, December 3rd, 2009 at 9am PST/12pm EST/5pm GMT!

The US State Department is sponsoring a panel on "Virtual Worlds as Green Workplaces," to discuss how virtual worlds are a viable and green alternative to physical worklaces and how virtual work can ultimately impact energy use and climate change.

The Panel
Barbara Lombardo, PhD: Partner, Global Learning Solutions Leader, Human Capital Management Practice, IBM Global Business Services
Judy Wade, VP of Strategy and Emerging Business, Linden Lab (Judy Linden)
Hanno Tietgens, BUERO X Media Lab for TUEV NORD Group (Xon Emoto)
Anna Jaeger,  Co-Director GreenTech at TechSoup Global (Sage Qvetcher)

And, the panel will be moderated by Bill May, Office Director for the office of Innovative Engagement, Department of State, International Information Programs  (Serotta Keynes)


Twitter: And, to follow the event via twitter and other digital channels, here's the hash tag: #green4work

Inworld Event Contacts:
Mishie Sands, U.S. Department of State
In Kenzo, Event Producer

Many thanks to Mishie Sands and In Kenzo for organizing such a fantastic panel.

Should be a great event!

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We’ve all heard that the U.S. military is in Second Life, using it to market, recruit, collaborate, train the armed forces in simulated warfare environments, and ultimately—defend our country, wage smarter wars with fewer casualties, and save taxpayer dollars doing it. 
 
Recently, I sat down (virtually) with Doug Maxwell, a staff researcher at the Center for Advanced Systems Technology (CAST) in the Combat Systems Department at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division Newport, who is the technology lead for the Second Life project for the organization. 
 
maccus_mccullough_cropped1.jpgAmanda: How did the Naval Undersea Warfare Center approach virtual world technologies?
Doug: Naval Undersea Warfare Center recognizes that rapidly evolving virtual worlds, gaming and visualization technologies have the potential to radically change the way the Navy approaches collaboration and innovation. In 2008, NUWC began to investigate various virtual world technologies.  We brought a number of competing virtual world technologies behind our firewall and threw a battery of tests at them. The ones who can support our requirements rose to the top. 
 
In 2009, experimentation began so that NUWC, its customers and sponsors, could actively begin to apply this technology in support of undersea warfare mission areas. This experimentation revealed a number of very interesting results. We found that virtual worlds as a distinct class of technology could augment our modeling and simulation efforts in positive ways!  In Linden Lab's case, we also were able to give you feedback on the systems and help affect changes that benefit not only NUWC or the  DoD, but all of Linden's customers.
 
In 2010, NUWC plans to launch selective adoption of mature virtual world  technology to our greater RDT&E (research, development, testing  and evaluation) community. The NUWC RDT&E community represents over 1500 scientists and engineers at the Newport campus. They will primarily use the Second Life Enterprise behind our firewall.
 
Amanda: How does NUWC use virtual world technology?
Doug: Collaboration in virtual worlds with user-generated, user-maintained  content like Second Life brings the customer into the real-time design  process. We use the technology for prototyping, planning in a virtual space before conducting real events. Modeling and simulation is another  significant use because a simulation environment can be used with minimal cost and training. Immersive, scalable visualization allows participants  to interface with other remote decision makers to assess an external tactical scene such as a live scene from a concept of operations experiment.  Team training leverages remote connectivity with instructors and students at different locations for the creation of dynamic relationships and  information sharing. An optimized blend of simulation and game leads to innovative exchanges with the anticipated benefit of quicker absorption and better retention.
 
Amanda: How does NUWC use Second Life?
Doug: We use Second Life and the Second Life Enterprise in a number of  ways. The virtual NUWC campus in Second Life is composed of 13 sims, all named for classes of submarine. The easternmost sims are dedicated to public outreach and recruiting of scientists and engineers. Our visitor's  center has representative information from all of our various divisions, including Combat Systems, Sonar, Ranges, Unmanned Vehicles, and more.   The real NUWC campus is located in Newport, Rhode Island, so we had to put in the Newport/Pell bridge spanning two sims as a symbolic landmark of the area. There are also docks with accurately scaled models of a Virginia Class submarine and an Australian Collins Class submarine. 
 
The rest of the sims are dedicated to experimental use. We have varied  activities going on, but there is a lot to see and do. I would encourage  everyone to be sure to look UNDER the water and go exploring.
 
The southernmost sims at the campus are a bit chaotic at the moment. We have created methods for bringing real world topographic data into  Second Life and have terraformed our sims accordingly. Those sims are now patterned after some coastal areas off Hawaii and Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island. 
 
Since Second Life has a robust external communications mechanism, we can have boats in the virtual harbors move according the positions and  headings of boats in the real harbors. We can then have a virtual submarine being driven by a sailor in the virtual environment. One of the biggest  responsibilities the sailors have is to perform target motion analysis and not collide with anything. The possibilities for training are tremendous and this environment provides a more realistic experience than the classroom, yet it is safe to make mistakes.
 
The Second Life Enterprise is where things get really exciting. The SLE sits behind our firewall and we can introduce sensitive data to  it that we otherwise could not on the Second Life public virtual NUWC campus. We've used SL/SLE to create a virtual attack center concept for rapid prototyping and collaborative design. This gives us a new opportunity to simulate various layouts, optimized against different missions. Changes can be made to the environment in real time. Designers can participate remotely. Prototypes of not-yet-available technology can be created with wrap-around displays and scientific visualization. A virtual sail boat can be made to behave as a real sail boat would, which creates opportunities for the remote development of specialized skills and greater control over the presentation of information. Our project in Second Life removes many of the inherent risks and dangers associated with the physical world.
 
Interesting, huh? If you’re interested in hearing Doug speak more about how he’s using Second Life, and Second Life Enterprise, check  out the full video of a recent Metanomics/Enterprise 2.0 event or the 6-minute machinima on YouTube showcasing many of their private regions and how they are using them.
 
To visit NUWC in Second Life, click here, or visit Coalition Island, a public space with every U.S. Armed forces represented.

Launch Day Revelry

Last week's Second Life Enterprise launch put Second Life Work on the enterprise software map!

On Wednesday, November 4th at 9:00 am PST, our press release went out, the product information was pushed onto the Second Life Work microsite, and our blog post was featured on Second Life blogs. Then, at 11:15 am PDT, Mark Kingdon (SL: M Linden), Linden Lab's CEO presented at a mixed reality event at Enterprise 2.0 and Metanomics. He was joined by Neil Katz, an IBM Distinguished Engineer and a member of the IBM Academy of Technology, Steven Aguiar, Electrical Engineer at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC), and Douglas Maxwell, Staff Researcher at the Center for Advanced Systems Technology (CAST) in the Combat Systems Department at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC). Of course, the entire event was moderated Dusan Writer who did an absolutely incredible job. We had over 150 people in the physical room and it was so crowded, that the Enterprise 2.0 folks streamed it live into the main lobby area for the attendees that couldn't get into the session. Additionally, there were several hundred people inworld at Metanomics, while another 2000 attended via the web stream, courtesy of Treet.tv. We had a very interesting discussion and it's well worth viewing the archive of the event.

Media and Analyst Highlights

On the PR front, we received incredible coverage around the globe and we've compiled the greatest hits below for your reading pleasure. If you would like to see all of our PR hits, here's where you can find the complete set: http://lindenlab.com/pressroom/news.

Before you dive into the list, I want to highlight an important blog post by Erica and Sam Driver at ThinkBalm entitled, "When is the Second Life Enterprise Beta Right for You?" In the article, they outline--in very simple terms--some important key points to think about when considering Second Life Enterprise for your organization. There's been some confusion out there about pricing, so I want to clearly restate the correct information from their post."...$55,000 as a one time up front cost on the appliance and software license for 100 avatars, plus an annual recurring fee based on the number of users licensed (starting at $175/user with discounts based on volume), plus any third-party applications or content and third-party custom development costs."

Press Highlights:

Blog Highlights:


Of course, this is just the beginning of the Second Life Work drumbeat. Next, you'll be hearing more about improvements that we're making to the main Second Life Work environment to make it easier and better for all organizations (big and small) to work in Second Life.

And, if you're interested in learning more about working in Second Life, or Second Life Enterprise, just visit our Second Life Work microsite or contact us and we're happy to answer your questions and help you find the right virtual work solution for you.

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We’re Listening

Over the last few years, the number one request and core business requirement of many of our enterprise and government customers has been the need for a behind-the-firewall Second Life solution. The extra layers of security and administrative control in a stand-alone product would allow these organizations to explore virtual work as a powerful and effective collaboration and communication tool—if it was available. We listened. Last year, Mark Kingdon (SL: M Linden), Linden Lab’s CEO, announced that we were working on a behind-the-firewall solution in response to customer needs.

Ready for Work

Today, we’re excited to announce the beta launch of Second Life Enterprise, formerly known by our internal code name “Nebraska” and now known as SL Enterprise. SL Enterprise is the most secure, content-rich, and flexible enterprise-ready virtual workplace solution available today, built on the world's leading 3D virtual world technology platform--Second Life. The SL Enterprise solution enables large organizations to bring distributed colleagues together into a persistent branded immersive space to collaborate, meet, learn, and prototype new offerings, while cutting travel costs and working greener. Customers including IBM, Intel, Case Western Reserve, New Media Consortium, DefenseWeb Technologies, Northrop Grumman, the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, and many others, are maintaining and growing their presence in Second Life while also working in the SL Enterprise environment for certain uses that require higher levels of security and control.

Product Detail

Ok, let’s talk nuts and bolts for a minute. The solution itself runs 8 regions simultaneously while storing over 25 additional regions that you can take up and down in a flash. With 8 regions, the system can support a maximum of 800 avatars. From a user perspective, SL Enterprise feels exactly like Second Life with all of the benefits including a 3D rich immersive environment, spatial voice, text chat, and the LSL building environment. But, you can use real names and connect those users directly to your network directory. Oh, and let me croon about the control panel where administrators use a web-based dashboard to manage users, regions, content, and systems—complete with backup and recovery, LDAP integration, and bulk account creation.  The solution comes standard with 7 pre-built regions and 10 multi-cultural SL Work avatars with business attire and accessories included.

Deck Out your Workspace with Content

What about content, you ask? Great question. There are three ways to create or bring new content into the SL Enterprise environment. First, the solution has the same rich LSL building tools as Second Life so creating new content within the solution is easy. Second, if you own the intellectual property rights in content you created in Second Life, then you can transfer that content into the SL Enterprise environment. Now, you’ll need to affirm your IP ownership prior to moving any content—you must identify the Second Life names of your employees who created content for you, and if you wish to transfer any content created by a Resident who is not your employee, you must provide Linden Lab with a signed written permission from that Resident content creator. (So for SL merchants, those who purchased your content within Second Life cannot move it to the SL Enterprise environment without your express written permission. But, keep reading because there’s a business opportunity for you….)

Coming Soon! The SL Work Marketplace

And, there’s a third option that we’re very excited about. Today, we’re also announcing the Second Life Work Marketplace, set to launch in Q1 2010. The SL Work Marketplace will be the first virtual world application and solution marketplace in the world. It will allow large organizations to download entire regions of collaboration tools, meeting and event solutions, training solutions, work avatars, business-oriented environments, and much more, into their stand alone SL Enterprise environment and make enterprise-wide use of that content under an organizational site license. For Solution Providers and content creators, this opens up a whole new market for work-related content. Initially, we’re only accepting content from Gold Solution Providers and Recommended Application Providers, but we will open up the application process to a broader audience soon.

Business-Friendly Mainland

One other important thing to note: The Enterprise Team is not just working on SL Enterprise and the SL Work Marketplace. We’re also hard at work making improvements to the main Second Life environment—to make it easier to use and useful for organizations using Second Life today and for those that will be joining in the future. We’ll have more to share on some of those improvements in the coming months.

Learn More

In the meantime, you probably have a million questions and we look forward to answering them in future blog posts and in our upcoming office hours (days and times posted to the left). But, before you dive in, I wanted to share some materials that will hopefully anticipate a few.

Pricing begins at $55,000 USD. If you’re interested in learning more about SL Enterprise, then contact us and let’s explore how the solution can dramatically improve your internal collaboration and communication and decrease your travel costs.

Please join us in discussing SL Enterprise!

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Join the Discussion on SL Enterprise

by Honored Resident Blue Linden on ‎11-04-2009 09:06 AM

Talk with us about the news of SL Enterprise, the behind-the-firewall solution for Second Life.

The Gold Solution Provider Program identifies Solution Providers who have significant experience and expertise developing successful projects for real world companies, organizations, and institutions, have highly satisfied customers, and successfully engage and support their clients’ work and activities in Second Life. Launched in May 2009, program members come from a dozen countries and provide a wide variety of services, including the development of training and simulations and the organization and management of conferences and events.

Today, we are pleased to announce the addition 4 new Gold Solution Providers to the program, for a total of 39 Gold Program members:

Aimee Weber Studio (United States)
Figment Pte Ltd (Singapore)
MakeMyWorlds (France, Germany)
Rivers Run Red (United Kingdom, United States)

The newest Gold Program members continue to reflect the strength and diversity of the experience, skill, and clients engaged by the Second Life Solution Provider community. Some of the projects that they have developed and provided for prominent companies, organizations, and educational and government institutions include:

  • Developed simulation and prototyping projects for government and military institutions
  • Created and managed inworld presence for high schools and universities for classes, lectures, and teaching exercises
  • Built and adminstered mixed reality recruiting presence for IT company during one of the largest tradeshows for information and telecommunications technology
  • Constructed and developed application and inworld presence for major international companies for internal business uses, including employee training and market research

All Gold Program members are designated with a Gold Program logo next their listing in the Solution Provider Directory, and on member websites. A complete list of Gold Program members is also included below and in this program overview document.

The Gold Program reflects Linden Lab’s continuing commitment to supporting the successful use and experience of Second Life for enterprise users. Linden Lab will continue to review, identify and add new Gold Solution Providers to the program, expanding the pool of expertise available to organizations seeking to understand, explore, develop, and incorporate Second Life into their business or educational activities.

Linden Lab accepts and reviews Gold Program applications from Solution Provider program members on an ongoing basis. The next round of Gold Program members will be announced in January 2010. Future program members will continue to be reviewed and added on a quarterly basis.

For more information on the Gold Program and the Solution Provider Program, please visit http://work.secondlife.com/en-US/getstarted/findpartner/.

Congratulations to the newest members of the Gold Solution Provider Program! We look forward to working with you to continue to make Second Life an effective and successful place for enterprise users.

Complete Gold Solution Provider Program Membership List

A&D Consultants (Italy)

Aimee Weber Studio (US)

Avatrian, LLC (US)

Beta Technologies (US/Portugal)

bluepill GROUP (Spain, Belgium, Germany)

Bokowsky + Laymann GmbH (Germany)

Chant Newall Development Group LLC/FutureWork Institute (US)

Clarity International (Italy/UK)

Community Chest (France)

Corporation Pop (UK)

Cranial Tap, Inc. (US)

Daden Limited (UK)

depo USA, LLC (US/UK)

Designing Digitally, Inc. (US)

Figment Pte Ltd. (Singapore)

Firesabre Consulting (US)

Gronstedt Group (US)

Hermes-PPMM (UK/Netherlands)

i-Marginal (France)

Ill Clan Animation Studios (US)

Indusgeeks Solutions Pvt. Ltd. (India)

Involve, Inc. (US)

ISN Virtual Worlds (Italy)

MadeVirtual Ltd. (UK)

MakeMyWorlds (France, Germany)

Metabirds Co., Ltd. (Japan)

Moderne Interactive (US)

New Business Horizons Ltd (UK)

NMC (US)

Novatierra (Spain)

Popcha! (US)

Rivers Run Red (UK, US)

Siterma VWP (US)

Stonfield InWorld (France)

The Magicians (US)

virtual-e Ltd (UK)

Virtualis Center/Corporation Planners Unlimited (US)

VirtualMind (formerly SecondMind) (Spain)

Youin3D GmbH (Germany)

To find the Solution Providers that best fit your needs, please visit the Solution Provider Directory

For more information on the Solution Provider Program, please visit Solution Provider Program page.

In April, we announced that "Second Life Lives Behind a Firewall," and that our new product was in Alpha. Since that time, the Enterprise Team has been hard at work evolving and deploying our software into many organizations--both as an Alpha and closed Beta. Now, I'm proud and excited to share that we're ready to announce general availability of the Beta product next week.

On Wednesday, November 4th at 11:15 am - 12:00 pm PST, Doug Thompson (SL: Dusan Writer) will moderate a mixed-reality panel at Enterprise 2.0 in San Francisco and Metanomics inworld with Mark Kingdon, Linden Lab's CEO, Neil Katz, IBM Distinguished Engineer and Director IBM Virtual Spaces, CIO Office Innovation Initiatives, Steve Aguiar, Program Manager at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center's (NUWC's) Metaverse Strategic Initiative, and Douglas Maxwell, Program Technology Lead also at NUWC's Metaverse Strategic Initiative.

As shared on the Metanomics site,

"Mark Kingdon, CEO of Linden Lab, will unveil “Nebraska”, a stand-alone solution based on the technology that runs the popular Second Life virtual world. “Nebraska” is the much-anticipated behind-the-firewall solution which will allow enterprise to host their own virtual world environments within their organizations. Mark will talk about the benefits of the platform, the intended audience, and how it fits into the broader challenges and opportunities of “enterprise 2.0”. Mark will be joined by a number of customers who have used Nebraska during the closed beta phase of development. The panel will explore the benefits, lessons learned, barriers and opportunities which arise from integrating virtual world solutions into the enterprise.The event will include panelists appearing live in San Francisco and others who will join from the Metanomics Main Stage in Second Life."

So, mark your calendars and come join us--physically in San Francisco at Enterprise 2.0 or virtually on Metanomics that will also include a webstream, courtesy of Treet.tv, starting a bit earlier at 11:00 am.

For additional details, check out the Metanomics site.

Looking forward to a blockbuster announce!

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During a medical emergency, paramedics need to think on their feet and make critical decisions about patient care in the middle of crisis situations.  Training paramedics in real pressure-filled situations is the key to their ultimate success. In Second Life, the PIVOTE system, an open-source authoring system for learning in virtual worlds, provides a structured framework to create simulations to help paramedics learn.

PIVOTE was developed by SL Gold Solution Provider, Daden Ltd, as part of the JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee) funded PREVIEW Project.  The PREVIEW project is a collaborative project between St George’s University of London (SGUL), Coventry University, and Daden Limited. PIVOTE provides a structured framework in which SGUL has replicated life and death medical situations in real time. This example showcases one of the most compelling aspects of simulated training in Second Life--you can do things that are impossible, risky, or potentially dangerous in the physical world.

SGUL was recently awarded the Times Higher Education (THE) award for Outstanding ICT Initiative of the Year for these Paramedic scenarios. The project was judged on its demonstration of an ‘innovative, strategic and potentially far-reaching use of ICT in support of the goals of that institution’. Key criteria were innovation, institutional impact and implications for the HE sector.

We asked three questions of Alan Rice, Paramedic & Senior Lecturer with the Faculty of Health and Social Care Sciences at SGUL; Project Manager Emily Conradi, from SGUL's e-Learning Unit and David Burden Managing Director of Daden Limited.

Amanda: What are paramedics learning from using PIVOTE in Second Life?
Alan Rice: The project is totally original as far as I am aware, in terms of paramedic training. From a clinical point of view we have developed five different emergency scenarios that allow student paramedics an opportunity to practice decision-making skills and explore clinical knowledge in the context of a responsive virtual patient.

The cases include: a practice alcohol/diabetic collapse in the street, a collapsed unconscious patient in a benefits office, an acute cardiac patient in a tube station and a patient with breathing problems following smoke inhalation.  The award-winning project helps to train paramedic students using problem-based learning (PBL). It sees students enter the virtual environment as paramedics on the St George’s Island, where they are immediately called to one of five different emergency scenarios. They work in small groups to assess and treat patients in the same way they would in the real world, before safely transporting them to hospital.

The virtual paramedics are able to replicate real-life tasks such as speaking with the patients, checking vital signs, dressing wounds and administering drugs. The scenario unfolds in response to their actions. Once they have reached the hospital, they submit handover notes on the patients, which are emailed to their real-life tutor for feedback.

Amanda: Can you lead us through a typical use of PIVOTE?
David Burden: Through use of PIVOTE, the project creates a virtual patient system that allows groups of 10-20 students to sign in with individual avatars and work on various scenarios that are routinely encountered by paramedics in the physical world. Participants are oriented in a well-planned, customized orientation maze that introduces the basic skills required to control an avatar and communicate. Once these basic skills are gained, participants are able to replicate real-life decision-making.

Students first receive basic information in the form of a dispatch call, which requires an assessment of the situation and patient. Participants are equipped with a paramedic equipment kit, which contains replicas of all tools from a real-world kit. The groups collaborate on best treatment options, and the scenario ends with a decision about if/how a patient needs to be transported to the hospital. The scenario is responsive to the choices made by treatment decisions the students make. Distance learners globally can collaborate on the paramedic training sessions, thus collapsing the cost of travel and providing a forum in which best practices can be shared despite geographical location. Unlike traditional web-based training programs, the PIVOTE tool fosters the feeling of working with an actual patient instead of choosing options from a pull-down menu.

This is one of the first times something like this is being done within a virtual world. It has created a chain reaction. Other medical strands are beginning to think about using Second Life for similar scenarios. The PIVOTE open source software has already been downloaded over 100 times around the world thus far.

Amanda: What benefits do the paramedics, and their future patients, gain from this learning tool?
Emily Conradi: For obvious reasons it is not possible for students to practice these management steps on a real patient, and see the consequences of their treatment choices e.g. administering morphine to see what effect that will have. It is also not possible for students to take their time to work through an emergency response in real life, and discuss in a group what actions to take.

Paramedic students spend a lot of time in work placements, which can be based anywhere in the country, so it can be hard for the students to meet face-to-face with each other and with their tutors. The advantage of Second Life is that it feels more real; the space is great for simulating real world spaces, and allowing consequences of role-play that could not be achieved in the physical world. For these reasons, it is a great environment for training. The presence of an avatar allows students to feel more ‘present’ than in some other online communication spaces. Students get a sense of being there together and can decide what to do from what they can see in front of them.


Big thanks to Daden Limited, a Second Life Gold Solution Provider, St George’s University of London, and Coventry University.

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A few weeks ago, there was a lively discussion on the Government Use of Second Life email list on the benefits and challenges around maintaining separate personal and professional avatars and everyone who chimed in was in agreement—the time for work avatars has arrived.  IBM announced their virtual world guidelines for their employees back in 2007. And, last week Jim Lundy at Gartner published a report on this topic, advocating the same position and recommending that organizations create rules around corporate avatar behavior and appearance. According to the WSJ blog on the topic, “He predicts that by 2013, most of them will have such guidelines in place.” When I twittered about the report last week, I received a slew of responses—mostly all in agreement with the basic “work avatar” premise.

Speaking as the person leading Enterprise Marketing, and the Second Life Work brand at Linden Lab, I believe that the professional avatar is an imperative on the road to enterprise-wide adoption of immersive environments as a powerful collaboration and work tool.  If virtual work is to be taken seriously, then our avatars need to look--and act--as professional as we do in a physical workplace. Of course, there are times when I want to have fun in Second Life--go to a jazz concert or shopping. When doing those activities, I have an "alt" or personal avatar--completely separate from my work avatar (SL: Amanda Linden). This concept should sound familiar. For example, most of us already maintain personal and professional email accounts and separate IM traffic streams.

Two weeks ago, Sam Driver, Principal at ThinkBalm, an independent IT industry analysis and consulting services focused exclusively on the work-related use of the Immersive Internet, and I chatted about this very topic. I’ve shared our conversation below and look forward to lively commentary on this hot button topic.

Amanda: Do you believe that people should have personal and professional avatars/personas? If so, why?
Sam: Wow, tough question. I’ll answer these questions in the context of public virtual worlds like Second Life. For immersive environments that are behind the firewall or designed from the ground up for work-related use, issues of avatar and identity are pretty much a non-issue.

Should I have multiple avatars, one for work and one for play? It depends on what makes the most sense for an individual’s career. The answer is generally yes if you: 1) use Second Life or other public virtual worlds (e.g., Activeworlds or an OpenSim grid) for both professional and personal activities, and 2) feel the need to keep your professional and personal activities separate. Otherwise, the answer is generally no. I, for example, have only one Second Life avatar. I use the same avatar no matter what I’m doing in Second Life. The same is true for the other virtual worlds I use; I have just one avatar in each.

Another issue to consider is whether avatars have to look corporate and do they need to be connected to a real professional identity. Transparency of identity is the norm in the workplace (in most situations; I recognize there are exceptions). Most organizations require employees and contractors to identify themselves by their real names for legal and financial reasons. Still, people go by nicknames or middle names at work. People customize their email signatures and outgoing voice mail messages. They upload photos of themselves to the enterprise directory and portal. These are little flourishes to add personal expression to the mix in a digital world where otherwise we come across as black text on a white background.

It’s the same in the virtual world. An avatar is, among other things, the 3D visual corollary to an email signature or recorded outgoing voice mail message. It’s a way of customizing our professional communications. As long as the way our avatars look is in compliance with organizational policy (or, if no policy in place, the avatar’s appearance doesn’t offend others with whom we’re meeting in a professional context), and our avatar is connected with our real professional identity, there’s quite a bit of room for personal expression.

Keep in mind that personalizing the way we represent ourselves in these professional communication contexts doesn’t change our professional identity. Employees’ real professional names are in the enterprise directory, and enterprise directories are tied in with the applications people use every day to get their jobs done. In the workplace, peoples’ real names appear everywhere. As more organizations deploy immersive technologies in the workplace, it will become common for people to use their real names in immersive environments, just as real names are used with other kinds of applications. It will become automatic as immersive environments become integrated with enterprise directories.

The challenge right now in Second Life is that Second Life was originally built on the premise that people shouldn’t use their real names in the environment. Second Life was not designed as a work tool. The workaround we recommend, until we can use our real professional names for our avatars in Second Life, is to list your real professional name on the “First Life” tab of your Second Life profile and wear a name tag that displays your real name and affiliation. Again: this advice is targeted at people who are using Second Life for professional, work-related reasons.

Amanda: Great suggestion. I have another question regarding corporate policies around avatar identity, appearance, and behavior—should businesses create them, like IBM did?
Sam: Yes. It’s common for employers to have employee handbooks and acceptable use guidelines, which dictate the behavior that is expected of them (or lays out the behavior that is verboten). By now, many of these documents have been updated to include employees’ online behavior. These documents will eventually be updated again to take into account peoples’ behavior in virtual worlds, when employees are representing the organization, or are on company time, or using a company computer.

Amanda: Assuming that Second Life will eventually offer the option to use real names, how will avatar identities shift?
Sam: Offering people the option to use their real names for their avatars is one of the best strategic moves Linden Lab can make to bring Second Life into the professional limelight. Second Life is already being used for collaboration, learning and training, and many among things. Second Life and other immersive platforms are attractive to business people because this technology can solve real business problems. (For more insight, see the May 26, 2009 ThinkBalm report, “ThinkBalm Immersive Internet Business Value Study, Q2 2009”). But, as I highlighted above, transparency of identity is the norm in the workplace and this will not change. As a result of Linden Lab enabling the use of real names, I expect to see people create “alts,” or additional alternative avatars, to help keep their personal and professional lives comfortably separate — the same way some people separate their professional networking into LinkedIn and their personal social networking into Facebook.

Sam, thanks so much for taking the time to share your thoughts.  This blog post is meant to catalyze conversation—so share your thoughts and let’s continue the dialogue in comments.

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Emergency evacuation training is an important business. We live in a dangerous and threatening world and it’s imperative that enterprises, government entities, educational institutions, and healthcare organizations are ready for anything to protect their employees, students, and the public.  However, emergency training can take people away from their everyday duties and disrupt the normal course of business. Healthcare organizations are particularly important when an emergency occurs. They not only need to take care of their current patients, but prepare for a flood of new patients. They are our first responders and need to be ready for anything—from a terrorist attack to an H1N1 pandemic.

Training doctors, nurses, staff, administrators, and patient families at a hospital is a daunting task requiring real life context. That’s where Second Life comes in. A year ago, Children’s Memorial Hospital Chicago approached Centrax, a Chicago e-learning company and Second Life Solution Provider, to create a mirror image, or an exact replica, of their hospital so that they could train everyone through a variety of scenarios—all safely behind a computer. Within four hours, they had run a team—most had never been in Second Life—through the entire training exercise successfully. The details are in the case study published today entitled, “Preparing for a Disaster Without Disrupting Patient Care: The Children’s Memorial Hospital Chicago i....”

Ok, I see that you have your skeptic hat on. You're thinking, “Training in Second Life sounds like a game simulation and couldn't possibly feel real or effect behavior during a real emergency.” I hear you, but read on. “Kathleen Fortney, Centrax Director of Client Services, observed the training while sitting with the security participants, who were “very enthusiastic.” Fortney explained, “One of them, in describing the virtual ‘suspicious package,’ said there was a strange odor emitting from it. I interpreted this to mean...that the experience evoked prior knowledge, which is something that instructional designers strive to achieve in their designs.”  Powerful stuff.

And the monetary investment (according to a recent Informationweek article) was well worth it. According to Mary M. Crulcich, responsible for emergency response programs at Children’s Memorial, “The return on investment is significant. Unlike drills that cannot be replicated, our virtual hospital can be used over and over again. It allows us to practice teamwork and decision making in an environment and with challenges that mirror the real world. ” For additional information about the Children’s Memorial Hospital Chicago case, I encourage you to also read the October 1st Informationweek article by Mitch Wagner, “Second Life Helps Save, Improve Lives.” Thanks Mitch.

So, next time you think complex, scenario-based training, remember Second Life.

Note: We re currently translating this case into French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, and Italian. As soon as that’s done, we’ll officially load the case onto the Second Life Work microsite, the spot for everything Second Life and business.

As many of you already know, in July we quietly launched a new microsite (http://work.secondlife.com) focused on how large organizations—primarily enterprises and government institutions—use Second Life for work. Today, hundreds of organizations from all over the world creating custom immersive work environments and applications that increase productivity, creativity, and innovation while cutting travel costs and doing business in a more eco-friendly way. It’s the ideal collaboration platform to bring distributed teams together in a shared virtual workspace to collaborate, meet, learn, and prototype new offerings. That’s the real beauty of working in Second Life.

Today, I’m proud to officially launch the Second Life Work microsite and the availability of the same microsite localized in French (http://work.secondlife.com/fr-FR/), German (http://work.secondlife.com/de-DE/), Japanese (http://work.secondlife.com/ja-JP/), Spanish (http://work.secondlife.com/es-ES/), and Portuguese (http://work.secondlife.com/pt-PT/).

The SL Work microsite is just the beginning. We have lots of enhancements planned that will roll out over the next few months. We’re also working two additional microsites: one focused on the education community and another on the developer community.

Take a look at the sites and let us know what you think—either in comments on this post—or send your feedback to slworkfeedback@lindenlab.com.

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Second Life Work nun verfügbar in 6 Sprachen!

Wie vielen bereits bekannt sein wird, stellten wir im Juli ohne große Ankündigung eine neue Microsite (http://work.secondlife.com) ins Netz. Diese Seite beschäftigt sich damit, wie große Organisationen, hauptsächlich Unternehmen und Regierungsbehörden, Second Life für ihre Arbeit verwenden können. Hunderte Organisationen aus der ganzen Welt erstellen individuelle immersive Arbeitsumgebungen und Anwendungen, die die Produktivität, Kreativität und Innovation steigern, während Reisekosten gespart und Geschäfte auf eine umweltfreundliche Art und Weise durchgeführt werden. Es ist die ideale Plattform für Zusammenarbeit. Weit verteilte Teams werden in einer geteilten, virtuellen Arbeitsumgebung zusammengebracht, um zusammen zu arbeiten, sich zu treffen, zu lernen und Prototypen für neue Produkte zu erstellen. Das ist der Vorteil beim Arbeiten in Second Life.

Heute wird die Second Life Work Microsite nun offiziell in 5 weiteren Sprachen auf den Markt gebracht. Die Seite ist erhältlich auf Französisch, Deutsch, Japanisch, Spanisch, und Portugiesisch.

Aber die Second Life Work Microsite ist nur der Anfang. In den nächsten paar Monaten werden wir viele Verbesserungen vornehmen. Wir arbeiten außerdem an zwei weiteren Microsites: eine Seite bezieht sich auf den Bereich Bildung und die andere auf den Bereich Entwicklung.

Sehen Sie sich die Seiten an und sagen Sie uns Ihre Meinung. Sie können zu diesem Beitrag einen Kommentar hinterlassen oder Ihr Feedback an folgende Adresse schicken: slworkfeedback@lindenlab.com.

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Anuncio exclusivo: los micrositios de Second Life Work inician su andadura en seis idiomas

Como ya saben muchos de ustedes, en julio inauguramos de manera extraoficial http://work.secondlife.com, un nuevo micrositio centrado en cómo las grandes empresas privadas y las instituciones públicas utilizan Second Life en su trabajo. Hoy en día, cientos de organizaciones de todo el mundo se han animado a crear sus propios entornos laborales inmersivos, así como aplicaciones destinadas a mejorar su productividad, creatividad y capacidad de innovación. Todo ello comporta, además, menos gastos de desplazamiento y un impacto medioambiental menor. Second Life es la plataforma de colaboración ideal para que los equipos dispersos geográficamente compartan un espacio virtual desde el que colaborar, reunirse, aprender y poner a prueba sus prototipos. De ahí su gran valor como instrumento de trabajo.

Hoy tengo el placer de anunciarles el lanzamiento oficial del micrositio de Second Life Work y de sus versiones en español, francés, alemán, japonés y portugués.

Y el micrositio de SL Work es sólo el principio. Tenemos previsto ir incorporando numerosas mejoras durante los próximos meses y estamos ultimando otros dos micrositios: uno orientado al mundo de la enseñanza y otro para desarrolladores.

Échenles un vistazo a los sitios y díganos qué les parecen en los comentarios. O, si lo prefieren, escríbannos a slworkfeedback@lindenlab.com.

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Nous sommes heureux d’annoncer le lancement des microsites Second Life Work dans 6 langues

Comme bon nombre d’entre vous le savent déjà, en juillet, nous avons discrètement lancé un nouveau microsite (http://work.secondlife.com) axé sur l’utilisation de Second Life par les grandes organisations (essentiellement les entreprises et les organismes gouvernementaux) à des fins professionnelles. Aujourd’hui, des centaines d’organisations du monde entier créent des environnements de travail immersifs personnalisés, ainsi que des applications conçues pour accroître la productivité, la créativité et l’innovation, tout en réduisant les frais de déplacement et en préservant ainsi l’environnement. C’est la plate-forme idéale pour réunir des équipes dispersées géographiquement au sein d’un espace de travail virtuel commun, où elles peuvent collaborer, se rencontrer, apprendre et créer les prototypes de leurs nouveaux produits. C’est que travailler dans Second Life peut vous apporter.

Aujourd’hui, j’ai le plaisir d’annoncer le lancement officiel du microsite Second Life Work et sa disponibilité en français, allemand, japonais, espagnol et portugais.

Le microsite SL Work n’est qu’un début. Nous projetons de nombreuses améliorations que nous déploierons au cours des prochains mois. Nous travaillons également au développement de deux autres microsites : un axé sur la communauté de l’éducation et un autre sur la communauté des développeurs.

Allez découvrir ces sites et dites-nous ce que vous en pensez (commentaires ou sur cette publication) ou envoyez vos commentaires à slworkfeedback@lindenlab.com.

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Second Life Workのマイクロサイト6カ国語でリリースのお知らせ

既にご存じの方も多いと思いますが、私たちは7月に新しいマイクロサイトhttp://work.secondlife.comを立ち上げました。当サイトは、Second Lifeを利用するエンタープライズや政府機関を中心とした大規模な機関向けのものです。今 日、世界各国の何百もの機関が出張費を節減し、より環境に優しい方法でビジネスを行いながら、生産性、創造性、革新性を促進する、実践における没入型環境 とアプリケーションを創っています。このプラットフォームは、共有する仮想ワークスペースに分散したチームが一つにまとまり、コラボレート、会合、学習、 新製品の試作をするたのにぴったりです。これがSecond Lifeで実践する利点です。

本日、Second Life Workのマイクロサイトを公式に立ち上げることを誇りに思います。当サイトはフランス語(http://work.secondlife.com/fr-FR/)、ドイツ語(http://work.secondlife.com/de-DE/)、日本語(http://work.secondlife.com/ja-JP/)、スペイン語(http://work.secondlife.com/es-ES/)、ポルトガル語(http://work.secondlife.com/pt-PT/)にローカライズされました。

SL Workのマイクロサイトはまだ始まったばかりです。今後数ヶ月で多くの追加拡張が予定されております。さらに2つのマイクロサイトも制作中です教育コミュニティー向けのものと、ディベロパーコミュニティ向けのものです。

サイトをご覧になり、このブログのコメント欄で感想をお聞かせください。またはフィードバックを slworkfeedback@lindenlab.com までお送りください。

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Anunciando os microsites do Second Life Work em 6 idiomas

Como muitos de vocês já sabem, em julho lançamos discretamente um novo microsite (http://work.secondlife.com) voltado para a divulgação do modo como grandes organizações, principalmente empresas e órgãos governamentais, usam o Second Life para o trabalho. Atualmente, centenas de organizações de todo o mundo estão criando ambientes de trabalho imersivos personalizados, além de aplicativos que aumentam a produtividade, a criatividade e a inovação ao mesmo tempo em que reduzem as despesas de viagens e fazem negócios de maneira mais ecológica. É a plataforma ideal para unir equipes distribuídas em um espaço de trabalho virtual compartilhado para colaboração, reuniões, aprendizagem e criação de protótipos de novas ofertas. Essa é a vantagem de se trabalhar no Second Life.

Hoje, tenho orgulho de lançar oficialmente o microsite Second Life Work e de anunciar suas traduções para o francês, o alemão, o japonês, o espanhol e o português.

O microsite SL Work é apenas o começo. Estamos planejando muitos outros aperfeiçoamentos que serão lançados nos próximos meses. Também estamos trabalhando em dois microsites adicionais: um voltado para a comunidade de educadores e outro para desenvolvedores.

Visite os sites e dê sua opinião. Você pode incluir seus comentários nesta postagem ou enviar seu feedback por email para slworkfeedback@lindenlab.com.

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Isn't it nice that I know how to speak all 6 languages?! (Kidding) Big thanks go out to the entire Linden team who have done a wonderful job bringing these sites to life: Noelle, Dore, Johan, Devin, Judy, Lexie, Beast, Rika, Simone, Usi, Sky, and the rest of the localization team

Last week at Enterprise Office Hours (every other Tuesday at 9:00 am – 10:00 am SLT at (direct SLurl) so mark your calendars for the next one on September 22nd), we had a very lively discussion about a little known, but highly useful, tool called the Registration API or “Reg API” for short. We quickly realized that only a few folks in the audience were using it and most did not know what it is. Well, this blog post is going change all that.

In fact, we’re starting a new series (similar to the Three Questions series of interviews with virtual world leaders in the enterprise, government, education, and non-profit industries), called “Pocket FAQ,” because it’s a short frequently asked questions blog post that you can put in your “virtual pocket” and use right away. Think of them like best practices combined with pointing you to the right resources and links.  Disclaimer: I’m on the Marketing team, but I’ll be pulling heavily from Knowledge Base and Support pages—because they are the real pros.

What is Reg API?
The Reg API, enables you to register individuals within your organization from your branded website, provide them with a custom corporate name, and send them to a starting location that you specify—as opposed to the main Welcome Island. This enables you to create a seamless branded pathway from the web through registration and into Second Life. Pretty handy, huh? That said, although the Reg API is free, it is not for the faint of heart. Reg API is a beta program and requires some technical proficiency to use successfully and we do not currently provide support or technical advice on its use.

Why is there a qualification process for Reg API?
Like I mentioned, the Reg API requires technical know-how and a web server that supports PHP or another server scripting language such as Python or Perl. It's not an easy piece of technology to implement, so we ask you a few questions first to ensure that the Reg API will best meet your business objectives. We always recommend that you use Direct SLurl instead because it is much faster and easier solution, in most cases; Direct SLurl sends people to your location, through the standard Second Life registration process.
Using Reg API makes sense if you:

  • Want your employees (or organization's members) to have a custom last name.
  • Have language requirements beyond the 15 languages that Second Life already supports.
  • Require that your employees enter Second Life in a controlled and consistent way.
  • Want to register a large number of people from a single IP address.

So, we request that all organizations who want to use Reg API complete the submission form. The qualification process helps us understand who you are, your organizations’ objectives, and how many people you anticipate registering through Reg API. When we evaluate submissions, we take many factors into account, but the most important one is around Reg API vs. direct SLurl. Once your submission is approved, then we give you detailed instructions and you're on your way.

You mentioned custom names. How do I get my organization set up with a custom surname?
The custom name program, used in combination with the Reg API, enables you to create a customized organizational last name for everyone who comes through your registration pathway. For example, if you're the administrator at Xerox, then your employees can be named Amanda Xerox or AmandaVanNuys Xerox. It's a great way to easily identify employees inworld and a handy workaround to use real names, if you so choose. But, before you can secure a custom last name, we do verify copyright or trademark permission, general availability, and there are other requirements such as they must be at least 2 characters, cannot include punctuation or special characters, etc. Once your name is approved, there is a fee for creating a custom name; you will be billed a US$500 set up fee plus the first annual fee of an additional US$500 with an additional US$500 annually to retain the name. (Educational institutions and non profits receive a 30% discount.) One word of advice, choose your last name carefully. Once it's created, then it can't be changed unless everyone creates new accounts with the updated name. Again, for all of the details, go here.

What happens if I want to use Reg API, but I don't want a custom last name?
In that case, you can use SL names that we have enabled. But, the cool part is that you can choose which ones that you want and create a limited set of Second Life last names to have available to employees. And, if you're concerned that if a Second Life last name goes out of rotation, don't worry. When a Second Life account is created, then they keep their last name, even if Linden Lab retires it.

What are the security benefits of Reg API?
Another important benefit of Reg API are its security features. To really take advantage of them though, the Reg API owner also needs to be the custom name owner, region owner and/or estate owner. If that's the case, then once an employee has entered through your registration process, then you have the ability to control where they go in Second Life--or what we call locking.  You can do two types of locking:

  • Locking the estate down so that its only accessed and viewed on the map by those who you have authorized. (For this, you do not need the Reg API.)
  • Locking avatars to an estate, so they can't access the rest of Second Life and the rest of Second Life can't communicate with them. (For this, you do need the Reg API.)

Here's more info on this topic for your reading pleasure. One item to note, when you lock folks to your estate, they only have limited search functionality. They see showcase, groups, and all, but they will not see anything on these search tabs: maps, people (except those in their group), classified, events, land sales, and places. So, this means that locked accounts cannot find people outside of your group, cannot receive Linden Dollars or other items from outside your estate, and cannot be added to groups outside of your estate. And, once an account is locked, it can't be unlocked.

Yes, it's a lot to take in. But, it's a wonderful feature that we encourage you to use, if it meets the needs of your organization. There are many who have used Reg API very successfully such as Dreamland, Telstra Australia, Virtual Ability, IBM, and many others. So, put this one in your pocket and keep it handy for when you need it.

Big thanks to the Lindens who contributed to this blog post: ChrisC, Rand, Glenn, Betsy, DJ, William, Katrin, Emma, and Esbee.

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Recently, I learned about something very interesting going on in Second Life--CSC is celebrating their 50th anniversary inworld. Their press release on the topic proudly states, “Established in 1959 by two computer scientists with one hundred dollars and a dream, CSC has since grown into a leading global consulting, systems integration and outsourcing organization with more than 92,000 employees in 80 countries.” Their story is an impressive one and so is their annual revenue at $17 billion U.S. reported in January 2009. Finding a space for such a large distributed workforce to celebrate is an expensive and daunting—if not impossible—proposition in the real world. But, in Second Life, it becomes a piece of virtual cake.

When Charlie Herbek, Senior Manager in the National Public Sector - Defense and internal Second Life champion within CSC, emailed me and wanted to share the details, I had many questions. But, for the sake of this blog post, I’ll share three of them—with his answers, of course. Charlie tells an incredibly interesting and successful Second Life Work story. Enjoy the read.

Amanda: Why did you decide to host your 50th anniversary in Second Life?

Charlie: First, let me say that establishing a virtual presence reinforces our brand attributes by serving as a cost-effective, innovative forum that enables employees worldwide to interact as "One CSC." Many different virtual world platforms were initially considered, tried, and tested. We chose Second Life because it met our core requirements, when compared to other virtual world technologies. More specifically:

  • Scalability: We were able to support a large number of individuals at one time by adding additional servers, or regions. And, each island in Second Life supports more concurrent people than most alternatives.
  • Interoperability: To extend the inworld experience, we wanted to develop applications and websites that were able to talk to objects in Second Life over the Internet. This is how we are able to integrate web-chat with Second Life to support those employees who could not get into the CSC Islands.
  • Branding: We wanted a CSC-branded experience—from the website to the orientation area.
  • Ownership: It was important that we legally own the intellectual property (IP rights) to everything that we created, rather than handing those rights over to a hosting provider.
  • Privacy: In Second Life, CSC enforces access control levels (ACL) and can restrict non-CSC employees from entering our private areas.
  • Global: The client software comes in many different languages, providing the global solution that we needed.
  • Cost: Once we paid for the virtual space and CSC surname, there was no additional cost for creating new accounts. Each employee can upgrade their own account to premium if they want to, but it’s not required.
  • Experience: Some CSC employees already had Second Life experience, as it’s one of the most popular virtual environments available.
  • Expression: The development team was able to mock-up ideas in a 3D space quickly with the tools built into the Second Life Viewer software.

Amanda:  That’s a great summary of our competitive advantages. (Seriously. You have to vouch for me in comments that I didn’t write that myself.) Ok, so once you chose Second Life and created the CSC 50th Anniversary space, what best practices did you implement to bring employees into SL and make the experience a success?

Charlie: We designed a special CSC-branded website and used the Second Life Reg API, to create a pathway that allowed employees to enter through our corporate Global Pass Security system to grant them permission to access the private location, register in Second Life, and teleport directly to the CSC Welcome Center.

Here, employees learned how to operate within Second Life and received lessons on movement, chat, appearance, camera views, profiles, and inventory.  The specially designed passive instruction displays that were placed along the inside wall of the open view Welcome Center also helped get people up-to-speed.  Employees enjoyed the experience because they immediately had a populated place to go to meet other employees. We also had CSC employee guides who volunteered their Second Life expertise to augment the passive instruction displays and make the transition to the virtual world as easy as possible.

I have a couple of other tips worth passing along. We designed the space specifically to avoid problems with lag by keeping the number of objects and textures to a minimum and marking several objects as phantom to cut down on the physics load. Water was kept waist deep to avoid the confusion of walking under water in between islands. All chairs had a default setup as “single click” to help employees sit easily. Video screens were set up with touch to start and stop playing media.  Signs, with instructions and helpful hints, were placed in multiple locations.  Only one-story buildings were used to avoid problems with elevators, teleports, and steep steps.

Amanda: It sounds like you really thoughtfully considered how to make the experience as easy and intuitive as possible. So, what did employees think and how did CSC benefit from the festivities?

Charlie: Before I answer this last question I would like to recognize the contribution of the entire Project team. We could not have accomplished what I’ve talked about without the professional expertise of Second Life SME and long time resident, Mr. Lewis Moten (SL: Dedric Mauriac) as well as Second Life SME Mr. Ben Machin (SL: Mr.Ben Munro). The project team was also supported by an international team of developers, testers, graphic artists, sales and marketing, communications, network operations and security, and system administrators.

The comments that have poured in from the 2000+ employees who attended the 50th Anniversary experience in Second Life were overwhelmingly positive. Here are a few:

  • “Great feeling to be connected to all CSC.”  Atlanta
  • “Great to be able to communicate to other CSC employees thousands of miles away.” Bath, UK
  • “I love being part of CSC.” Noida, India
  • “I like this. I do remote work and it’s a more personable feeling vs. phone.” Spain
  • “I have met people in here that I would otherwise have never known.” New Hampshire

The best metric of success is always adoption and behavior. Because Business Units are now aware of the collaborative capabilities offered by our Second Life presence, and the ease of use for internal operations, they are now holding regular meetings and smaller team events in Second Life. In fact, our efforts in Second Life have reached the C-suite; we’re turning the space into a CSC Employee Enculturization location, under the auspices of the Chief Learning Officer.

Charlie, thanks so much for sharing your story. Looking forward to lively commentary.

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.

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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.

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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.

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A few months ago, Tami Griffith, from the Science and Technology Manager for the U.S. Army Research and Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM), Simulation & Training Technology Center (STTC), reached out to me about something that she’s working on—the Federal Virtual World Challenge. Well, when it comes to the intersection between government and virtual worlds, I’m all ears.

She explained that the Federal Virtual World Challenge is a competition and showcase, led by the U.S. Army’s RDECOM, to encourage the global development community to create innovative and interactive training and analysis solutions in virtual worlds. Literally, she wants to use virtual worlds (all virtual worlds—not just Second Life) to help the Government become more effective, save taxpayer dollars and potentially save lives. She’s really looking for training ideas that the government may not have even considered before - to support any kind of training or analysis a Government agency may require, from language skills to combat.

The program will officially be announced shortly and I’ll keep everyone up-to-date on the details, but I had to ask Tami a few questions. After all, this is a big leap for the U.S. government who continues to look for new and more innovative ways to incorporate input from the private sector.

Amanda: What inspired you to create the Federal Virtual World Challenge?
Tami: I have spent the past couple of years exploring virtual worlds—how they're being used by others and how they can be used by the Army.  I think that we've only just begun to exploit the capabilities of virtual worlds and we're often limited by ideas of how things have been done in the past.  People use these environments as virtual classrooms or as places to show PowerPoint slides. In other words, as an extension of how we do things in the real world. This is a good start, but there is so much more possibility, particularly if we can tap into the intellect of a participatory culture, as Don Tapscott and Anthony Williams' book Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything discusses.

A few months ago, I was in a meeting with a group of virtual world aficionados from the Navy and the Army, and we discussed using our islands in Second Life (Team Orlando and STTC's VADER) to invite the community to teach us how to best make use of virtual world tools, and bypass even our own conceptual limitations. I thought that maybe someone out there, maybe even lots of "someones," must have some brilliant ideas on how we can use the virtual environment to conduct training or analysis; all we needed to do is ask them. And, in the process, we’ll, no doubt, open people's eyes to the possibilities that virtual worlds afford. That’s when the Federal Virtual World Challenge idea really took root.

Amanda: Why do you believe that virtual worlds are a powerful innovation medium for the military and the government in general?
Tami: One of the main reasons I'm drawn to virtual environments, such as Second Life, is the ease of development using free tools and tutorials and a user community that is incredibly supportive of one another. There is always someone out there willing to share the lessons they've learned or provide some insight into how to achieve a goal. We can also purchase items at a very low cost and modify them to fit specific needs—significantly shortening development time and allowing us to stretch those government dollars further.

I'm also very excited about the ability to collaborate in real time with people all over the world.  We conducted the GameTech conference in "mixed reality" earlier this year where live briefers were represented inworld by an avatar.  Slides and videos were available for both the inworld and live audience. There were a few minor glitches with slides rezzing slowly and audio volumes needing adjustment, but overall we reached a much greater audience than we would have otherwise. And, we were able to have concurrent collaboration via in-world chat with virtual participants sharing additional information and websites during the briefings. In fact, some of the live participants also logged into the virtual meeting to build relationships with people with similar interests and follow the chat discussions. The most amazing part is that we did this on a VERY modest budget.

Another by-product of the medium is the ability for a user to define and redefine themselves at will. With great variety comes a great leveling factor.  People in Second Life are what they are because they are either a nubie and haven't figured out how to change their look yet or because this is the look they've chosen for whatever reason. The book Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell, describes human being's ability, good or bad, to judge others in the blink of an eye. Often judgments on potential performance are erroneously based on a variety of unrelated factors such as height, weight, race or gender, for example. We may meet an individual with a handicap and decide in a split-second at a subconscious level, that they have certain limitations. Research shows that many of those first-glance judgments are flawed. There are groups of disabled people in virtual worlds that state that they find themselves more accepted in a virtual world as small furry creatures than they do in real life in their wheelchair. In addition, communities of people who may not have access to the real world either because of physical limitations, or other issues such as agoraphobia, have a place to go that welcomes them and in which they can be significant contributors.

Amanda: What do you hope to achieve with this program?
Tami: There are so many benefits that I hope to realize with this challenge. First, and most importantly, I'd like to explore the use of virtual environments in new ways while increasing awareness of their capabilities—particularly within the U.S. Government. I'm also hoping that challenges may become a more widely accepted strategy to satisfy Government requirements. This would allow the Government to be more nimble and reduce procurement cost while actually improving product quality. By opening the challenge to every individual, group, or organization, and timing it to synchronize with most academic calendars, we are inviting the entire world to share their thoughts and to be recognized for them. We are judging the products not the provider, and you don't have to be a large corporation with a long-time contractual relationship with the Government to be successful. This, to me, is democracy at its best.

Well put. I’m really looking forward to the official Federal Virtual World Challenge launch and staying informed on how the program progresses. I bet that we’ll see some very interesting ideas!

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Yesterday, Beth Noveck, the Deputy Chief Technology Officer at the White House and the person responsible for Open Government, held a mixed-reality event co-sponsored by the Markle Foundation and Global Kids, to discuss her new book “WIKI GOVERNMENT: How Technology Can Make Government Better, Democracy Stronger, and Citizens More Po....”

First, let me set the ‘mixed-reality’ event stage for you. Beth presented in a physical conference room in New York with roughly 50 people in the audience. Meanwhile, over 100 people congregated at the MacArthur Island conference amphitheater in Second Life—waving hands and sending hellos via text—as everyone found a seat and settled in for the discussion. After Beth was introduced, she began her 30 minute discussion on ways that we can use emerging technologies and social media to help our government institutions make better decisions and solve problems more effectively. (It’s well worth viewing her speech—available in video later this week.)

While she was on stage, people in the physical room listened quietly while the attendees in Second Life participated in an active back channel text conversation where we volleyed comments, relevant questions, funny anecdotes, and helped each other troubleshoot individual audio or video issues. The virtual space was suffused with friendly banter and camaraderie. There was a very real bond between us—despite geographic distance or political views—because we were all sharing the same extraordinary experience together. (When was the last time that you felt that way at a physical conference? I thought so.)

When Beth completed her prepared remarks, the mixed-reality Q&A session begins. Audience members in both the physical room ask questions while the questions in Second Life are sent to Rik Panganiban (SL Rik Riel), the Assistant Director of the Online Leadership Program at Global Kids, who is present in New York to read questions from Second Life to Beth for her thoughts. It was remarkable to be in Second Life and see the questions float by my screen in text, hear them read aloud in New York, and then see Beth respond to them on the streaming video feed back in Second Life. Tingles, really.

Afterwards, I chatted with Rik about the event here’s what he said—perfectly capturing the power and challenges of mixed reality events.

“The level of engagement was impressive, with an ongoing text chat going on among the attendees that provided a deeper layer of conversation than even what the real world participants in New York were experiencing.  The ability to have multiple forms of interaction and communication occurring in the course of a mixed reality event is one of the main advantages from our perspective.

Ms. Beth Noveck graciously addressed the Second Life audience several times during her talk, answering questions submitted over IM and speaking about the potential for these kinds of synchronous collaboration tools.  We have found that having the real world speaker and moderator address the virtual audience at various points is quite important, otherwise the virtual attendees start to feel left out and ignored.

It might be of interest to other mixed reality event organizers to know that we explicitly decided to not have Beth Noveck's avatar logged into Second Life.  In our experience, it can create confusion to have both the real life video stream and that person's avatar present in SL at the same time.  Either you use the video stream to show the speaker from the real world or you have the person's avatar logged in and use SL voice or the audio stream to bring in their talk.  Both have their advantages, but you should never use them at the same time.

As to the content, it could not be more relevant for Second Life residents, many of whom already understand how these social media tools can be used for governance and democracy both within Second Life and in the real world.  Second Life itself has been described as a "3D wiki" with a community of tens of thousands of residents contributing, critiquing and building upon the content of each other, resulting in a much richer and vibrant world than other, more top-down virtual worlds.  And Linden Lab has demonstrated through its Town Hall meetings, blog, and other mechanisms, that it is interested in giving Second Life residents a voice in the development and growth of the platform.

The challenge that Ms. Noveck leaves us with is how can we use these virtual world platforms to make our real world governments more transparent, accountable and democratic. With allies like Beth Noveck in the White House, I think we are well positioned to rise to that challenge.”

I agree on every point, Rik. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

For another take on the event, check out any1gynoid’s iReport.

P.S. I’ll post the video and written transcript of the event when they are ready later this week.