IBM Throws Open Its Doors In Second LifeIBM Throws Open Its Doors In Second Life
IBM will allow non-IBMers to traipse through the 3D replicas of its real-world premises that are located in the virtual world of Second Life.
December 13, 2006
IBM's closely guarded facilities around the world will soon be open to the public. That is, its facilities in the virtual world.
The computing and services giant says starting next week it will allow non-IBMers to traipse through the 3D replicas of its real-world premises that are located in the virtual world of Second Life. To date, IBM has constructed Second Life copies of its Hursley labs in England and its Almaden research center in California. It's also creating meeting spaces on virtual islands within Second Life where ex-IBMers and current employees can meet, chat, and collaborate as part of an alumni program called the Greater IBM Connection. Starting next week, members of the Second Life general public will have access to many of those areas for the first time. "We want to showcase some of the things that can be done in a virtual environment, and how those things relate to real world business," says an IBM spokesman. Among other things, IBM will operate a virtual store in Second Life that will show how hi-tech manufacturers could use virtual reality to improve customer service. "Imagine you've just bought a digital camera and want to know how to use all the features. Here's an environment where the vendor can't just tell you, but show you," says IBM's spokesman. Second Life is operated by Linden Lab. To date, more than 1 million users and dozens of companies have created alter egos in the cyber-community. IBM itself has about 800 employees, including CEO Sam Palmisano, registered in Second Life. Next year, IBM plans to launch a formal business unit dedicated to finding ways in which businesses can exploit virtual worlds.
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