Metanomics Nov 4 Transcript


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Metanomics Nov 4 Transcript

  1. 1. METANOMICS IN THE NEWS - ENTERPRISE 2.0 CONFERENCE NOVEMBER 4, 2009 ANNOUNCER: Metanomics is brought to you by Remedy Communications and Dusan Writer’s Metaverse. ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: Hi. I’m Robert Bloomfield, professor at Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management. Today we continue exploring Virtual Worlds in the larger sphere of social media, culture, enterprise and policy. Naturally, our discussion about Virtual Worlds takes place in a Virtual World. So join us. This is Metanomics. ANNOUNCER: Metanomics is filmed today in front of a live audience at our studios in Second Life. We are pleased to broadcast weekly to our event partners and to welcome discussion. We use ChatBridge technology to allow viewers to comment during the show. Metanomics is sponsored by the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University and Immersive Workspaces. Welcome. This is Metanomics. ROBERT BLOOMFIELD: Welcome to Metanomics! Today we have a very special mixed-reality show. Linden Lab CEO Mark Kingdon will be at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference in San Francisco, announcing 1
  2. 2. Linden Lab’s new enterprise solution, named Second Life Enterprise. Mark will be joined in San Francisco by Douglas Maxwell, Program Technology Lead for the US Navy’s Naval Undersea Warfare Center. Douglas’s colleague Steven Aguiar will be speaking from Second Life, as will Neil Katz, who has been responsible for IBM’s technical strategy for immersive Virtual Worlds. The session will be hosted by Doug Thompson, CEO of Remedy Limited, a communications firm that also happens to own Metanomics. For those of us who have been focused on serious uses of Virtual Worlds, this has the potential to be a watershed moment. I can’t help but think back to the very first episodes of Metanomics in September of 2007, 2 years and about 85 episodes ago. I kicked off the series with an episode called Metanomics 101, in which I defined Metanomics as the economics of the Metaverse, a term for Virtual Worlds popularized in the science fiction novel Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. I think of those early days because they show just how far Second Life has come in two years. Back then, Second Life didn’t have voice so we had to use Skype to patch in sound. Linden Lab would take the grid down for maintenance just about every Wednesday and any other time they needed to so, more than once, 2
  3. 3. that was during Metanomics. Guests, and entire regions even, would crash without notice. Second Life was pretty clearly not ready for prime time enterprise use, and that was reflected in the topics that we covered on Metanomics. We devoted most of our sessions to business and policy matters that affected the resident community. Second Life was filled with entrepreneurs, banks, stock markets, designers, and these people came on to Metanomics to talk about the challenges they faced in running a virtual business in a world of anonymity and complete dependence on the platform developer, Linden Lab. We also brought in legal scholars to examine challenges of governing virtual communities, identifying the right legal analogies. We had a senior staff member from the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress talk about the regulation and even the taxation of resident businesses. But when we covered enterprise in our first year, it was primarily through covering other platforms, like Forterra and A year later, it was a different story. Second Life had become much more reliable and had introduced voice technology. While not every resident was a fan of voice, which made it hard to be anonymous, it was a boon to enterprise users. 3
  4. 4. In November of 2008, Victoria Coleman, of Samsung, provided one of my favorite descriptions of the value of Virtual Worlds for enterprise. Victoria was leading a team of engineers in the U.S. and Korea, and conference calls were simply not cutting it for them. A big problem was the language barrier. The Korean participants were simply not confident enough about their language skills to interrupt and say their piece in a conference call. So they couldn’t accomplish the most basic task of a collaborative group, which is to communicate their ideas. Let me quote a bit of what Victoria said on the show about how things changed when they moved from the conference calls to Second Life. She says, “The same Korean people, who were really reluctant to get on the phone and were very shy and wouldn’t say anything, would show up in the Virtual World environment, decked out in completely fantastic outfits. They would be very sociable, very talkative. It was really like talking to a completely different set of people. So the fact that Second Life created this medium that let them connect with us, but in a way that amplified their skills versus made the lack of English into a central point, all of a sudden became a truly empowering experience for them.” That was Victoria Coleman talking about her experience at Samsung. Samsung isn’t the only group that saw the promise of Virtual 4
  5. 5. Worlds for enterprise, and, since summer of 2008, about half of our shows have covered the enterprise-oriented projects of just about every type of organization you can think of, from nonprofits like American Cancer Society to tech giants like Microsoft to a variety of federal agencies. Today, Linden Lab makes a big leap forward with Second Life Enterprise. As I understand it, Second Life Enterprise allows firms to run Second Life servers behind their own firewalls. Not only does this allow security, but firms will have control over user accounts, data transfers, and key server decisions. No more worries that Linden Lab will restart your servers in the middle of a big presentation to your boss or a key client. One of the most unusual features distinguishing Second Life Enterprise from other Virtual World enterprise solutions is, well, Second Life itself. Second Life proper still boasts a large and extremely energized and creative resident community, and I do mean creative, as you can see by all of the different content that we have featured on Metanomics. Owners of Second Life Enterprise can tap into this community, and transfer assets between Second Life and their own instance of Second Life Enterprise. Now no doubt many of you are thinking that there is a great deal of content in Second Life that isn’t actually intended for 5
  6. 6. enterprise use. That’s true. But Victoria Coleman’s experience with Samsung conveys an important message. The rather whimsical nature of Second Life content can be very effective in fostering traditional corporate goals of teamwork, collaboration and brainstorming. Corporations go on hiking retreats and play softball; why not have the occasional meeting led by a gorilla, for example, as I once hosted a Metanomics episode? Residents of Second Life should also be aware that enterprises that adopt Second Life Enterprise are potentially creating a new group of Second Life residents. After all, a key barrier to entry in Second Life is simply getting to know its interface and tools. Once people have come into Second Life Enterprise for work in the day, at night, why not go to Muse Isle’s new Midwest snowscape for a little ice skating? I’ve got one last thought. Widespread adoption of Second Life Enterprise may well change the nature of enterprise overall, in ways we can’t yet imagine. In summer of 2009, Margaret Regan, of the FutureWork Institute, talked about, well, the future of work on Metanomics. Margaret has a vision of enterprises being structured more like Hollywood productions: a team assembles for a task, they make the film, and they disband once they complete it. This is a very different labor market, and it’s a very 6
  7. 7. different and much more decentralized way of managing a large enterprise. This model, if it’s going to be possible, will require a very strong platform for virtual collaboration. Second Life Enterprise might be that platform if it can do what Professor Mitzi Montoya, of North Carolina State University, spoke about during her Metanomics appearance. A good collaborative platform needs to allow people to engage with one another, engage with the subject matter at hand and engage with the environment in which they are collaborating. The level of engagement Second Life already provides its resident community tells me that Second Life Enterprise has promise. Of course, the devil is in the details. So let’s turn now to the live panel in San Francisco to hear those details. I’m Robert Bloomfield turning the reins over to Doug Thompson, who will be introducing the speakers and moderating the discussion. We’ll have a short break as we switch over to the live feed, but I’ll see you in there in the text chat. INTRODUCTION AND DISCUSSION DOUG THOMPSON: Thanks for your patience, everybody, and 7
  8. 8. welcome. It’s good to see a full room here, and we have a full room online as well. As I mentioned before the session started, we are broadcasting live to Second Life and to the web. Today we’re going to be talking about the future of work. That was the title of the session, but this whole conference really is about the future of work. We’ve been hearing a lot about how technology can help us to collaborate better, connect more effectively and share knowledge and experience. There was a great quote yesterday, by Andrew McAfee, of MIT, and he was talking about how, with Enterprise 2.0 technology, we are looking for ways to narrate our work. I love that phrase “narrate our work.” Because today we are going to explore this idea a little bit more by looking at immersive media or Virtual Worlds. We’re joined by two panelists here: Mark Kingdon, CEO of Linden Lab, and Doug Maxwell, of the Naval Undersea Warfare Center. And we’ll be joined shortly by two other guests who will be conferenced in. So to kick things off, I’m going to pass it over to Mark Kingdon to talk about some work that Linden Lab has done. And, I’ll pass it over to you, Mark. MARK KINGDON: Good morning, everybody. Thank you, Dusan, and 8
  9. 9. thank you to our folks in-world as well for attending the conference this morning and joining us here as we talk about the future of work. To get us started, I thought I’d do a pop quiz. You expected probably something a little bit different, but I thought we’d do a pop quiz. And, most of you, if not all of you, should have gotten a laser pen. Do you have one? It’s in a small box on the table, if you don’t. Get it out because it’s part of the pop quiz. Read the warning label if you’d like. The print’s a little bit small for me, but it says, “Use this carefully because it could probably blind you and burn you.” So we’re going to try to use it safely today, and it’s part of the pop quiz. So get it out. The first thing I’m going to have you do is point it at the ceiling, which is not hard to do. And then, if you push this bar, you’ll get a light on the ceilings. It looks like a little firefly. Okay. Most of you are doing it. Yes, don’t blind any friends. Now we’re going to test a little bit and see how your aim is so follow me over here. Okay. Yeah. Pretty good. Hand-eye coordination is about I’d say B-minus, but we’ll try it some more. Towards the middle here. Yeah, okay. Great. And then behind me. All right. Good enough for the quiz, I think. All right. 9
  10. 10. So let’s test by pointing at the screen. Don’t blind anyone in the front of the room. All right. You’re pretty good. Let’s go to the right-hand bullet. You’re there. Good enough for the quiz. All right. So the first question is: Do you have teams in your companies that work remotely? Yes or no. Yes. Good news. Are you currently using web or video conferencing more frequently today than in the past? Yes. Wouldn’t be here if you didn’t. How satisfied are you with your web and video conferencing technologies? Yeah. Exactly. I don’t see many fives or fours, that’s for sure, and I think you all probably fall within the two to four range. How important is security in your work collaboration tools? Again, all over the board but leaning towards the high end, which you would expect in most companies or enterprises. Have you ever attended a meeting or an event in a Virtual World? Okay. So we’re slightly more than probably half. Yes. Have you ever been in Second Life? Okay. Pretty evenly split. Well, good. This helps us know a little bit about you as we talk about the power of Virtual Worlds today. You can put your laser pens away now. I’m glad to see that no one was hurt, and, if you didn’t get a pen, there are more at 10
  11. 11. our booth out in the booth area. We have quite a stack out there, and the team’s happy to share one with you. So we’re going to talk a little bit today about virtual work and how work in the enterprise is changing as workforces change and needs change. There are two sets of opposing trends that are driving what we see is the adoption of virtual work technologies. The first set of opposing trends is the fact that workforces today are more globally organized than ever before. Even in our small company of 300 people, moving soon to 400, 30 percent of our staff work remotely, and they work from countries around the world. Travel has become prohibitively expensive, in terms of cash and carbon. When you put the facts together, you have a globally organized workforce and the need to connect, what does that mean? It means it’s hard do so, which draws people into the Virtual World because it’s a wonderful facsimile for the kinds of connection you can get in the Real World. Another set of opposing trends is bringing people into the Virtual World. One is that, in order to rapidly innovate, you need to be together to create. I was at a presentation recently that John Chambers gave, and he talked about what he saw as the 11
  12. 12. next wave of productivity in business. He said it would come, not from supply-chain management, as it had in the past, or even refined investment in information technology. He said it would come from increased productivity through collaboration. We believe very much the same thing, which is that collaboration brings people together and allows people to innovate more rapidly. The challenge out there today, and I think this is what brings people into the Virtual World, is that collaboration tools generally are weak, two dimensional, don’t allow you to have a presence, can often be asynchronous. And, when they’re synchronous, there’s a technology barrier that keeps people apart. So these are the opposing factors that we think are driving people into the Virtual World. Gartner published a study recently that looked at adoption of Virtual Worlds and believes that, by 2012, more than 70 percent of organizations, enterprises will use private Virtual Worlds to support collaboration and interaction in their business. We think that Virtual Worlds are an incredible compliment to traditional collaboration tools. Not a substitute for, but a great compliment to. They offer persistence and presence. You can represent yourself in the form of an avatar. You can work in 12
  13. 13. an environment that persists after you leave. It also offers layered communication opportunities, through text, spatial voice and audio. And you can interact with your environment in ways that you can’t, say, in a video conference. So it adds another layer of richness to the collaborative experience. Today when we look at Second Life, there are more than 1,300 enterprises or organizations in Second Life, moving towards 1,400, doing everything from events and meetings to training and simulations, large companies with distributed workforces. Businesses in Second Life are doing all kinds of things today. They’re doing recruiting, virtual meetings, scenario-based planning, data visualization, team building, complex simulations of supply chains and data centers and manufacturing facilities. They’re prototyping products. They’re engaging with consumers. They’re meeting investors to discuss investor relations. Every imaginable activity in business we’re seeing today in the Virtual World space. Some of our panelists will talk about what they’re doing, and they’ll give you a richer sense of the possibilities. One way to think about Virtual Worlds and their evolution into the future is to look at it through the eyes of an employer or worker in an enterprise. So we’re going to look at the future of 13
  14. 14. Virtual Worlds through the eyes of Zoey. Zoey’s a designer and a really cool company. It’s a new division of a manufacturing company that makes office furniture. They have a new method of manufacture that allows them to work with suppliers in local markets, minimize the transfer costs of products, build them almost to order in local markets. She relies on a global footprint from a supplier perspective and a market perspective, to create and then bring these products to market. Some of the complicators in her job are that she works from home a few days a week, and many of her partners, as well as her customers, are in other parts of the world. And she needs to be able to communicate and collaborate with them, particularly around product design, in a way that’s very powerful and enables them to share materials, designs, ideas in a real-time way. Now imagine Zoey working in Second Life trying to do those things. Imagine a future that’s not at all far down the road, you can see a Zoey who perhaps got her job through a job fair that she went to in Second Life, went through the interview process in Second Life, was assigned a mentor, given a space to work in Second Life where she created her own unique space to connect with her customers and her suppliers. In the case of Zoey, it’s probably a giant table in a field, with a small 14
  15. 15. office sitting on top, since she’s interested in furniture design. She goes to company meetings in Second Life. She connects with her co-workers and partners, collaborators around the world. She works with suppliers to look at their manufacturing process, to make sure it’s on spec, that it uses lean manufacturing methods, that it’s eco-friendly, that the product is designed in such a way that it’s easily shipped. Then once the product is created--of course, she’s been working with the suppliers and manufacturers throughout the process--she can begin to work with distribution partners, demonstrating the product in Second Life before it’s actually shipped out to the market. Now you could say, “Gee, can’t Zoey do this today in Second Life?” And, arguably, she can do a lot of this in Second Life today, on the main grid of Second Life. But there’s an element of her work that her company might not be comfortable with her doing in Second Life because it turns out that her company, she being part of a startup in a much larger organization, has very stringent rules around security, and they have a very robust set of internal systems for document sharing, planning and the like. And, for them, an optimal experience would be one where part of the Second Life experience happened behind their firewall. And, 15
  16. 16. when you think about Second Life today and you think about virtual work, there are companies that want a public experience, where they can interact with customers quite freely, they would buy an island in Second Life and do that. There are those who also want an experience that’s by invitation only. Perhaps they want to invite select suppliers in for conversations or select customers. They could do that on our main grid today, just using our basic permissions controls. But then there are elements of the Second Life experience that they want behind their firewall, connected through LDAP to their internal systems. And that’s where the need for a “behind the firewall” solution comes in. We see the Second Life experience evolving in very much that way. There’s a public, what I would call “private by invitation only” and a firewalled experience. And it is because of our vision of the Second Life experience and how it’s evolving that we decided to invest last year in a “behind the firewall” solution. And this was very much driven by customer demand. Companies came to us, and they said, “The Second Life experience doesn’t feel complete to us until you had a “behind the firewall” solution. There’s a lot that can do and do do and want to continue doing on your main grid. But, for it to be complete, we need a “behind 16
  17. 17. the firewall” solution that’s neatly integrated into our internal systems and that allows a level of security that you might not find elsewhere. We also want the ability to bring our existing content from Second Life into a “behind the firewall” solution, and we want access to a rich array of content.” And that’s what we have done with Second Life Enterprise, which today we’re announcing is in Beta. It was code-named Nebraska. Many people who have participated in the earlier Alpha and private Beta know it as Nebraska. From here on, I think it’s going to be called Second Life Enterprise. So Second Life Enterprise unlocks another level of potential for virtual work because it will exist behind the firewall. There are a couple of features that make Second Life Enterprise very powerful. I talked a little bit about security. Content is also very important. One of the major costs of the virtual world and working the virtual world is the creation of content. Second Life offers an amazing marketplace for content. This year in Second Life there will be 500 million U.S. dollars in user-to- user transactions, a good part of which are content, people buying office furniture. I have beautiful office furniture in my Second Life office; none in my real office. And we’re going to 17
  18. 18. enable people to move content that they own from the main grid into Nebraska. And then later in the first quarter, we’re going to open a marketplace that’s for enterprise, and it will be the first content marketplace for enterprises in a virtual world, Second Life specifically. And this will a boon for companies that are building their presence in Second Life. Certainly there will be things that they want to do that are highly customized to what it is that they’re doing. But there are also basic needs that people have that can easily be acquired. The “behind the firewall” product, Second Life Enterprise, will also be quite flexible in that it can be integrated into an enterprise’s existing systems, and offer a very high level of control. You can set up accounts in bulk for your company, use real names, have an administration panel as you would expect in a product like this. There are a couple of features that we’re really really excited about. Beyond the security and beyond the content richness, Second Life, if you’ve experienced it, has spatial 3D voice, which means if you’re sitting around a conference table in Second Life and someone is speaking, have your headphones on, you feel as if you’re in the room with them. It’s uncanny. And it’s because there’s a 3D orientation to the source of the 18
  19. 19. voice. That’s going to be available in Second Life Enterprise as part of the solution. We’ll also have standard communications with text chat and other things you find in Second Life today. You’ll be able to have 800 plus avatars in the same immersive environment across eight regions. And as I mentioned before, you’ll have administrative control. You’ll be able to use real names, which is not something you can easily do on the main grid today, and you’ll have the marketplace which I mentioned before. I talked a bit before about the key features. Here they are in a little bit more detail. At our booth we have spec sheets and all of the things that you need to understand Second Life Enterprise at a much more detailed level. This is a very comprehensive product that we’re putting out in Beta. And it’s comprehensive because we’ve been working with 14 different organizations on the Alpha and Beta product development, played a very active role with us in defining the requirements and helping us build the solution that we think is incredibly powerful. All right. So you can learn more about Second Life Enterprise at our booth, or you could go to our website, Thank you. 19
  20. 20. DOUG THOMPSON: Thanks, Mark. We’re really lucky today now talking about virtual environments, it made the most sense to actually patch in a virtual environment, and we have two guests who are joining us from Second Life. They’re actually on a stage in Second Life, and there’s about 200 people watching them right now in a virtual environment, and this is also being streamed to the web. We’re joined by Steve Aguiar, also of the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, and Neil Katz of IBM. So that’s who’s joining us in-world. There’s been so many case studies, use cases, examples of technology here at the conference, what we wanted to do was get some of your use cases and to find out people who have been using Second Life Enterprise for the last six months or a year, find out what they’ve been using it for so we can kind of get a sense of the range of applications that you folks here in the audience might want to think about. I’m going to start here at our live panel and welcome Doug Maxwell. Doug is a staff researcher at the Center for Advanced System Technology at NUWC. And, welcome, and maybe share a little bit about what you’ve been doing behind the firewall. 20
  21. 21. DOUGLAS MAXWELL: Well, thank you, Mark and Doug. We have a number of research goals. We go beyond just the normal training applications that we can also discuss a bit later. But we would also like to create a collaborative engineering environment, using Virtual Worlds. What we would like to do is be able to prototype next-generation combat attack centers inside of submarines and be able to quickly and efficiently show alternate designs. We would also like to connect to the shipyards and the fleet users and bring fleet users in earlier in the design phase so that we can catch any issues earlier. I believe Steve will have some other comments on our training applications. One thing that has attracted us to the Second Life framework is, it has a very robust external communications mechanism so we can also link objects in-world to Legacy simulators that we’ve spent quite a bit of time and resources developing elsewhere. So for example, we can have an unmanned vehicle, as a model represented inside of Second Life, driven by one of our Legacy behavioral models outside. I could go on and one, but those are some of the highlights. DOUG THOMPSON: We’ll pass it over to your colleague. Steve Aguiar is also at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center. He was appointed the project lead for the Virtual Worlds 21
  22. 22. exploration and application program. Steve, welcome to our session. STEVE AGUIAR: Thank you. It’s a real honor to be here. Having worked with the technology for a while, it’s really interesting to talk about this. I will just start out by saying that every week or so we are finding new ways of using this, and it’s a very interesting process to go through. Doug talked about our collaborative engineering examples with design of command and controls for new submarines. I’ll just throw in an anecdote that last week I was attending a conference in Sweden, and, right in the middle of the conference support, I’m working with engineers back in Newport, designing these combat control systems. So the remote accessibility of this stuff is really important. But just to emphasize a little on the training example, you think very simply of distributed learning, say, with classroom training. But we’re also using it for scenario simulations, using real operational areas and real tactical missions, contextual or immersive learning where the power of the Virtual World is allowing your student to be immersed in information spaces that otherwise was impossible. We’re also looking at procedural training and even just simple augmentation of Legacy content such as Flash. So we’re not replacing all our training 22
  23. 23. content; we’re augmenting it with the Virtual World capacities. DOUG THOMPSON: Awesome! Our fourth panelist is Neil Katz, who is an IBM distinguished engineer and a member of the IBM Academy for Technology. Welcome, Neil. NEIL KATZ: Welcome. Thank you for having me here. DOUG THOMPSON: What kind of range of use cases are you seeing for immersive or Virtual World technology at IBM? NEIL KATZ: Well, I think many of the use cases that Mark addressed is really what we’re seeing it being used for. In a large globally distributed company, like IBM, we have teams that help us in emerging geographies: India, China, and then across the U.S. Even my team, we’re not all together, with members in Austin and myself in South Florida, and Burlington, New York. In this day, when it’s just that much harder to get together, we see using this for meetings and large events where it gives a very immersive and interactive and collaborative experience that you can’t get by other means such as web meetings, not that this is a replacement for them, but it provides that alternative. In addition, of course, using it for learning activities and other type of collaborative activities are other use cases that we’re 23
  24. 24. applying the use for Virtual Worlds inside our enterprise. DOUG THOMPSON: It’s interesting at this conference, it’s like there’s a narrative arc that’s kind of happened in the Enterprise 2.0 market. It sounds like this year there’s sufficient evidence to really put forth a good case for why Enterprise 2.0 technology makes sense to deploy in your organization. And Virtual World technology, as part of that Enterprise 2.0 ecosystem of technologies, also has a lot of data. But I’m kind of curious, from the panelists, how do you keep your project sponsors? How do you measure whether this stuff is working and whether it’s successful? I’m going to jump back in-world, maybe pass this back to Neil. NEIL KATZ: I think the way we measure it inside of IBM is really through the community and the interest generated by the community in using these types of environments. And so we have programs inside where we can deploy Virtual Worlds and then, through internal communications, that generates interest. And, through that generation of interest, we’re able to then create that internal viral effect, which creates more demand. So we’ve seen significant interest inside of IBM for using these virtual events, starting a year ago, to where we are today. 24
  25. 25. We’re at the point now we’re running at least one virtual event a day on our internal systems with just continued demand. So that’s really how we measure it is really by the community and this viral approach to getting increasing demand through using it, leveraging it and interacting with it on a regular basis. DOUG THOMPSON: Maybe I’ll pass this over to Doug as well because I imagine you needed a project sponsor to get your stuff up and running. Tell us how that works. DOUGLAS MAXWELL: We have a number of project sponsors, but really the metrics that you use are dependent upon the activity that you’re engaged in. So if you want to measure proficiency in a Virtual World training application [versus?] a Real World training application, that’s fairly easy to do. One thing that we also do in some of our testing in our virtual combat control experiments is, we want to know things like can a sailor do time-to-target with a certainty the same inside of a Virtual World as they can inside of a Real world. So right now we’re just wrapping up some experiments in that realm, and what we would like to do is bring a more statistically relevant sample in there, to be able to actually produce scientific validation of our hypothesis. And, again, it really depends on what activity you’re engaged in for your metrics. 25
  26. 26. DOUG THOMPSON: So, Steve, I’m going to ask you the same question. I got to go to my boss and tell him I want to bring an avatar to work. What kind of proof am I going to bring my boss that I should be doing that? STEVE AGUIAR: Well, we’re still gathering that proof. And, as Doug pointed out, it really is application specific. That is the holy grail to be able to come back with metrics and numbers and quantify that, if you invest this amount of dollars, you’re going to get this much more productivity. A lot of our benefits are just more subjective. For example, we are seeing improved product quality and customer satisfaction, and our customer is the U.S. Navy so, to us, that is a very important metric. Now we’ve just started scratching the surface of the application so as we’re developing the applications in tandem, we’re developing the ways to measure success. I’ll just also add too that, from a project perspective, at a high level we are seeing significant and quantifiable return on investment by using these products so I can leave it with that. DOUG THOMPSON: I’m going to pass it back to Mark for a second because he’s kind of got a bird’s eye view of the types of organizations that are using this technology. We have IBM and these guys here; those are large organizations. Can you point to 26
  27. 27. metrics or examples across a wider range? MARK KINGDON: Sure. There are as many examples as there are applications. We have some case studies on our website,, that lay those out in more detail. One common metric people look at, if they’re looking at this as a substitute for some sort of conference is the reduction in travel costs. I think that underestimates the benefit because you’re just looking at a cost savings, and you’re not looking at the productivity gain. But even that justifies a very high return on investment. So I think it very much depends on the application. Check out the website, and look at some of the case studies. The thing about Second Life is that it’s easy enough to try right on the main grid and bring project sponsors in that way, which is what we see a lot of. DOUG THOMPSON: Doug made a comment earlier, which was about bringing in other content. I think one of the big topics here at this conference has been bringing Enterprise 2.0 technology into IT systems where there are already systems that exist. So I think it was at yesterday’s keynote they talked about, “We’re not going to get rid of email and Blackberries overnight so how can we bring in Enterprise 2.0 applications that link into that?” I’m curious because, when I first thought of Virtual 27
  28. 28. Worlds, I think of them as this separate place that you go. It’s kind of this place that you log into that becomes disconnected from web-based or internal information. Maybe I’ll ask Doug here first: Does this technology--can it be integrated into enterprise systems, and what’s that connection to web-based content? DOUGLAS MAXWELL: One thing that we have to do is, when we get into these systems, you have to remember that it’s serious work, and so you have to treat it just like serious work. When we do integration-type demonstrations to potential sponsors, we’ve learned that just the magic of being able to connect their Legacy systems into the in-world objects and being able to connect people via the multilayered chat and IM is all great. But when the first question out of their mouth is, “Why is that guy wearing wings?” you know you’ve got kind of a problem. So kind of an obscure answer to your question is the reason we like the Virtual Worlds platform is because they’re so flexible. And it’s easy for us, depending on the kind of latencies you need, to bring in other content whether it be web-based or video or even Legacy simulators into the system and treat it just like real serious work. DOUG THOMPSON: So, Neil, let me throw this over to you. If I 28
  29. 29. was an application developer building an Enterprise 2.0 application, can I extend existing applications to include an immersive environment with things like the Second Life Enterprise? NEIL KATZ: You have to go through certainly the scenario and the use case for this application developer and make sure that it applies to a Virtual World. But the thing that we’re working on and we have done is making sure that we integrate our instance of Virtual Worlds with our enterprise back ends. The biggest thing, of course, is integrating it with the corporate directory so that people log in with their user ID and password that they are most familiar with. But then beyond that is allowing it to integrate with the existing tools and systems that we have so that they can easily bring in their existing desktop applications that they need integrated with the libraries of content that they have and be able to bring that easily within the Virtual World so that we try to make the experience as seamless as possible. So for an application developer, of course, it’s kind of understanding what the users expect and then using the tools that are available, integrating it with the Virtual World environment. DOUG THOMPSON: Steve, I’m going to toss this next question over 29
  30. 30. to you, if that’s all right, which is: What has surprised you or delighted you or where did you get a return that maybe you weren’t expecting from using Virtual World technology? STEVE AGUIAR: I think every day at work I get a new surprise. I would like to just talk though for a moment that when you give demonstrations of this product, to try to explain it to various levels of management or program offices, I find it very useful to remember that every individual comes to this technology different, with different levels of experience. And some people get it right away, and some people just don’t get it. I would definitely recommend that my experience has shown I’ve had to demo two or three or four times even, and I cross different applications before that light bulb goes on. And then suddenly that person who was a naysayer or just didn’t understand it is one of our biggest advocates. So on such occasion, one person at a time, and, once they get past that threshold, then they come back to me with ideas that I had never even dreamed of, and hence the innovation just starts to happen, and that’s what I really like about the technology. DOUG THOMPSON: That’s wonderful. So where do you see this going next, or, if you had one piece of advice for somebody who was thinking of taking on this technology, what would that be, Doug? 30
  31. 31. DOUGLAS MAXWELL: I think it would be, again, to take it seriously and to make sure that you understand your audience, the people who you’re pitching your ideas and who you’re approaching for funding. If they’re savvy and they understand the platform, then you can go a little bit crazy with your demos, but, if they’re quite conservative or if they’re perhaps a bit hostile to it, don’t show up looking like a dragon. That would be my best advice and make sure that you understand your audience. DOUG THOMPSON: It’s interesting. And I can’t remember who said this, but it was somebody from IBM, however, and I’m going to give the alternate view, which was that you can do serious business--and it was somebody from IBM, and I think it was David Levine. He said, “but at the end of doing the serious business, they take the IBM folks sailing.” Because there’s something about the water cooler effect and the team building and a sense of kind of getting outside of your normal box, which actually does add something that has a measurable return. Neil, maybe I’ll just pass it over to you for a comment. Where does this all take us? NEIL KATZ: Well, who knows where it’s going to take us. I think what we’re really trying to do is get people to experience it, 31
  32. 32. and it’s one of those things that we can talk to it, give people demonstrations of it, but what we’re really doing is making it as easy as possible to allow different people and groups to come in and experience it themselves of providing the tools and the facilities to easily get onboard and begin to hold meetings and events. Certainly you have skeptics as in any new emerging technology, but it’s actually amazing what you hear from people who actually experience it, where they come in and afterwards they say, “I thought I’d really hate this, but I’m actually amazed that I really enjoyed my experience.” You hear that regularly from people who come in. And so where is it going? Who knows. We will continue to make it available, enhance it, and it will grow based upon what people are looking for. DOUG THOMPSON: Steve, you made a bit of an interesting comment earlier, which was each week you’re discovering something new, which there’s been a lot of discussion here. There was a presentation yesterday by somebody that was talking about doing a new release every week of an enterprise software platforms. Is that sort of what it’s like, rapid prototyping, iterative prototyping, or describe how do you take advantage of this technology once you’ve got it? STEVE AGUIAR: Right now it’s still just all R&D for us, and, 32
  33. 33. like I said, the more people we put into the environment, we’re deploying our enterprise grid, if you will, to our R&D workforce so that about 2,000 people will be able to access it in the near future. And, to us, again, that should just open up innovation. So my speculation is, as I sit one on one with individuals and they say, “Can you do this with it and that with it?” and we work out whether it’s the right maturity and the right technology for the right problem set, more often than not we’re finding that, yeah, there’s some real performance benefit here. I’m looking forward to seeing all the other applications that I’m not privy to or really knowledgeable of. DOUG THOMPSON: On which note, I’ll pass it back to Mark for a little future vision. If I was enterprise today, where could this take me? MARK KINGDON: I think it’s taking us, well, into another dimension, the third dimension for sure. I think that Virtual World space is incredibly rich, with possibility, because every aspect of a company’s business can be enhanced by the Virtual World space, and we’re at the very, very beginning, the first step, I would say, in the adoption of this technology. I’m absolutely convinced that, in the next five years, it will change in very fundamental ways the way we work. And I can say 33
  34. 34. that with confidence, not just because we developed this product, but, because I spend one to five hours a day in Second Life myself working, because we have a distributed workforce. It’s such an incredibly powerful tool and much more powerful tools than I’ve used in the past because of the level of engagement and connection you can have with people. That’s just one of probably hundreds of use cases because, at Linden Lab, we’re not simulating warfare. I would say that my business meetings are probably a little bit more pedestrian, although I’d love to have a submarine, if you have a spare one sitting around. But you can see the possibility set is almost endless, and the next five years will bring change that we can’t imagine today. DOUG THOMPSON: I want to thank the panelists and wrap it up again with the concept of virtual environments as providing an opportunity for us to narrate our work and to go deeper that as social technologies increasingly get picked up in the enterprise, these are places that we can have rich experiences as well. I’d like to thank you all for being here today, as well as our online audience. MARK KINGDON: Thank you very much. If I may add, I’d like to 34
  35. 35. thank Dusan, from Metanomics, for bringing the panel together and organizing this in-world experience. Thank you very much. And I’d also like to say, if you’re interested, Judy Wade, who’s our VP of Enterprise International, is here, and Hamilton Hitchings is here, if you’d like to speak to the folks that have been driving the development of Second Life Enterprise, and our booth is over in the Trade Show. Thank you. Document: cor1071.doc Transcribed by: 35