Will Deal Give IBM a Second Life?

Updated: October 12, 2007

In fact, this is a very astute move by IBM because it allows the company to take virtual-world and virtual-community technologies and throw them into the largest, most dynamic and toughest virtual test bed that there is.
So what is the benefit to Linden Lab? At first it looks like the company is giving away the baby with the bathwater by letting a huge potential competitor like IBM step in its world and start defining its direction. A good part of the reason lies in Linden Lab's unswerving belief in open platforms and standards as a means to healthy growth.
"We have built the Second Life Grid as part of the evolution of the Internet," said Ginsu Yoon, Linden Lab's vice president of business affairs. "Linden and IBM share a vision that interoperability is key to the continued expansion of the 3D Internet, and that this tighter integration will benefit the entire industry. Our open-source development of interoperable formats and protocols will accelerate the growth and adoption of all virtual worlds."
While the announcement was somewhat short on specifics, IBM and Linden Lab have stated that they will be working on the previously mentioned "universal avatars." Other areas of cooperation will include security-rich transactions. Initially, these transactions are clearly meant to be for virtual assets, but it is quite likely that they would carry over into the real world very rapidly — allowing a Second Life user to literally buy the coat off of someone's back, for example, with real money.
Another one of IBM and Linden Lab's stated goals is to expand the business uses of virtual environments, including integrating existing Web platforms, environments and business processes with Second Life. In addition, the companies anticipate defining open protocols and standards for this integration so that any form of virtual information — including an identity or an avatar — can move from one environment to another without giving up current attributes.
And it is in these last few ideas that we see the benefit for Linden Lab. Businesses are already showing a profound interest in Second Life and are creating press announcements, virtual office buildings, stores and more. Integrating Second Life into the real equivalent can only help to grow the community, as well as establish it even further as the leader in 3D virtual environments.
For more information about the Second Life Grid visit this site. The Second Life community maintains information about the Architecture Working Group at this wiiki.

In fact, this is a very astute move by IBM because it allows the company to take virtual-world and virtual-community technologies and throw them into the largest, most dynamic and toughest virtual test bed that there is.

So what is the benefit to Linden Lab? At first it looks like the company is giving away the baby with the bathwater by letting a huge potential competitor like IBM step in its world and start defining its direction. A good part of the reason lies in Linden Lab's unswerving belief in open platforms and standards as a means to healthy growth.

"We have built the Second Life Grid as part of the evolution of the Internet," said Ginsu Yoon, Linden Lab's vice president of business affairs. "Linden and IBM share a vision that interoperability is key to the continued expansion of the 3D Internet, and that this tighter integration will benefit the entire industry. Our open-source development of interoperable formats and protocols will accelerate the growth and adoption of all virtual worlds."

While the announcement was somewhat short on specifics, IBM and Linden Lab have stated that they will be working on the previously mentioned "universal avatars." Other areas of cooperation will include security-rich transactions. Initially, these transactions are clearly meant to be for virtual assets, but it is quite likely that they would carry over into the real world very rapidly — allowing a Second Life user to literally buy the coat off of someone's back, for example, with real money.

Another one of IBM and Linden Lab's stated goals is to expand the business uses of virtual environments, including integrating existing Web platforms, environments and business processes with Second Life. In addition, the companies anticipate defining open protocols and standards for this integration so that any form of virtual information — including an identity or an avatar — can move from one environment to another without giving up current attributes.

Featured Research
  • Eight Ways You Should Be Using Contact Center Reporting

    Every day, your contact center collects critical data that can be used to drive strategic improvements to your efforts in the future. But that data is meaningless if you don’t know how to access and analyze it. The key to do doing both is using reporting features. By understanding how to use reporting tools, you will gain much greater insight from the data you are collecting. more

  • Is Your Phone System Stealing Profits?

    Having the wrong phone system can dramatically cut into your profits. Despite this, many businesses just sign up for a plan or platform that seems ‘good enough’. If you haven’t carefully considered your options and the included features, there’s a very good chance that you are leaving money on the table in some way. more

  • Best Video Conferencing Features for Business

    Most businesses are currently underutilizing their video conferencing software because they aren’t aware of the different ways it can be used. Understanding the different features of video conferencing software can be critical to getting the most out of your investment. These features often vary from one option to the next as well, so it's important to do your homework before choosing a specific service. more

  • Phone System Technology Showdown

    VoIP and IP telephony are often misconstrued as being the same type of phone system, but the truth is they operate on different technology and deployment methods. This guide will explain the differences between VoIP and IP, go into the pros and cons of both VoIP and IP-PBX, and give insight into which type of phone system will benefit your business the most. more

  • 8 Ways the Cloud is Changing ERP for the Better

    What if there was a tool available that allowed for you to save up to a quarter of your operational costs? Studies have shown that Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions enable businesses to access accurate, real-time information about daily operations which allow for the reduction of operational costs of up to 23% and administrative costs of up to 22%. more