Second Life May Impact First Life Someday?

Second Life provides virtual meeting space, may replace millions of airline seats annually someday. May need to learn building skills in SL beyond rezzing a box… New World Notes: What the US Navy’s Undersea Warfare Center Is Doing in SL (Updated)

The last time I tried to visit the Second Life islands owned by the United States Navy’s Naval Undersea Warfare Center several months ago, I was blocked from entering most of it. This machinima above shows what they’ve been doing in Second Life, including rapid prototyping, data modeling, and VoIP-driven conferencing, much of it between other branches of the US military which also maintain a Second Life presence. Leading to a sentence I never thought I’d hear, outside of science fiction: “What you see here is the United States Coalition of Second Life having a weekly meeting. Representatives of the Army, Air Force, and Navy, meet in virtual space to discuss about collaborative issues and common practices in virtual worlds.” Direct SLurl Teleport

The quote that caught my corporate travel agent RL ear ws this: by 2012 an outfit called Gartner predicts 2.1 million airline seats will go unused because participants are using virtual conferencing capabilities

Uh, hmm. That means about $3.5 billion travel dollars going unspent according to the Virtual Worlds News article. I wonder if my employer is thinking about virtual conferencing at all? They certainly subscribe to various web and phone conferencing solutions; I’ve had to attend 2 “international destination training” sessions in the last two weeks, hosted online in a chat room format that requires phoning in for audio conferencing, and logging in to a website for PowerPoint and chat.

So now I’m slightly curious as to what my company might think about this. Several years ago, apparently, they were looking at using SL for some kind of training, but that probably got dumped in favor of the system we use now. For the non-technical, it’s difficult enough getting everyone logged in by phone and on the web, and it would be an EXTREME pain getting n00bs set up to attend a virtual conference unless the interface on some mythical “My Corporate Travel Island” was set up with very simple avatars all set to go… preferably sitting at the table.

Which got me wondering, would my company be exploring conferencing for clients? If they can’t get the airline travel dollar (realistically, we’re usually on a fee-per-transaction basis rather than commission-based now) perhaps they might be thinking of whizbang conferencing services, or bundling various packages for corporate clients. And it could well be that they might need some building done if they decided to go with SL as one possible virtual conferencing choice, since it doesn’t require special hardware beyond 1) a voice-enabled headset if voice is required or desired for the conference. Video conferencing requires webcams, screens, or real-life conference rooms equipped with suchlike.

I could see myself hosting, if not building, in a virtual conference. Possibly also scheduling or facilitating, such as making sure that all participants are briefed on required hardware/software, chat guidelines, and on how to move themselves or their camera while inworld.

And I have JUST the right seasonal kimono to wear, too.

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