Second life to become as popular as email in five years

Wow… what a statement. Businesses need to start embracing virtual world technology as it’s going to as popular as email in five years time, according to a report by Forrester.

The challenge is clearly out there for businesses to define how and why they want to use virtual world technology, but if Forrester isright then it’s time to get thinking.

Let us know if you are using virtual world technology already in your business.

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Spent lunch hour in a meeting here at RBI towers (IRL) on business opportunities in Second Life - and other virtual worlds. At the moment my mind's still spinning but I'll try to post myself on this once I've sorted out my thoughts... First impressions though are that the most obvious applications to start out with for any company wanting to experiment would be virtual meetings / conferences / discussions with remote workers or clients. Networking, basically. Have any other readers of this blog tried this? Does it offer benefits over more mainstream video-conferencing or remote-desktop-sharing plus phone-conference-calls? Would you be interested in meeting up inworld in Second Life to discuss further? (Mind you, I'm not yet sure my own machine is up to the baseline spec for entry!)
I see two catalysts for take-off of virtual worlds in 2008:

1. The launch this year ?Spring/?Autumn of Google's virtual world platform will raise a lot a publicity and senior level awareness - especially in consumer area

2. Looking east, though, the launch this June of the huge, ambitious but integrated Chinese programme to transform manufacturing through virtual/real world integration will have a major impact on growth of virtual worlds for both B2C and B2B commerce. For the programme see: and look for comments etc in the wider blogosphere. This programme has 50% Chinese government backing, $bns of investment, a 50 year horizon, and a physical location of 80 sq km of prime land just 10 miles from Beijing's city centre.

3. Otherwise, we will see the technology getting easier and less flakey. We'll see continued moves by the supply side (IBM, Sun etc) to formulate and agree interoperability standards so that avatars can move from one virtual world to another.

In Gartner speak there may be a "trough of disillusionment" if expectations are set too high, but virtual worlds are certainly here to stay. And the Chinese development will act as a forcing house on the rest of the world.
Most adults don’t want to play at being grown up when they having to be grown up all day. Technology in the workplace must be simple, not add a layer of complexity. At work, we want tools that make it easier to get information quickly, to meet with colleagues, and to get the job done. That way we can get home earlier and get gaming online for real.
What do you think about Second Life being used as a recruitment tool?

We have been using Second Life for training & meetings for CPAs and have found it to be an excellent platform. See our blog for reflection and exmaples of professional development training for CPAs. Our blog is at &