Wednesday, December 20, 2006

IBM might use Second Life for customer service

Finally someone using SL for something other than marketing hype.

IBM is launching an ambitious marketing campaign in the hip virtual world Second Life. Big Blue has developed 12 "virtual islands," and most will be open to anyone with a Second Life account starting next week. Other areas will remain private haunts for about 800 IBM employees —including the CEO— who have cyber alter-egos.

IBM's chief technologist, Dr. Irving Wladawsky-Berger, acknowledged that virtual-world business is the "experimental stage." Big Blue doesn't expect to generate a profit in Second Life soon. But the medium is promising —particularly for training and orientation sessions for IBM, which has 330,000 workers worldwide. Two in every five IBM employees work offsite part- or full-time, and it'd be vastly easier to host a virtual meeting than to assemble hundreds of salespeople or engineers in a physical conference room.

The company might even use Second Life for customer service. Instead of trying to explain in a phone call how to unscrew your hard drive, someone in a more immersive 3D world could actually show you.

1 comment:

Daniele Kohen said...

IBM to invest $10m in Virtual Worlds

“IBM is ramping up its push into virtual worlds with an investment of
roughly $10 million over the next 12 months, including an expanded presence within the popular 3D online universe Second Life.
IBM has already established the biggest Second Life presence of any Fortune 500 company. It uses the world primarilyfor training and meetings but has also built a simulation of the Wimbledon tennis tournament.

The company is also looking to build a private 3D intranet where it will be able to discuss sensitive business information. It is moving to champion what it calls "v-business" -- short for virtual business -- just as it
championed "e-business", or electronic business, during the dot-com boom.”