Technology sector
companies in
Virtual Worlds

T   he Technology sector has been extremely quick to adopt
    virtual worl...
What is a virtual world?                                                                 However, as the chart below left ...
The graph below shows the regional breakdown of
MTV and NBC integrating shows through to apparel                                         In part, this has been a me-too s...
So, what Cisco is saying here is that in essence, a                                      principles which have guided Sun ...
One of the main drawbacks of real-world events is                                        The mainland consists of three la...
Xerox used simulcasting to broadcast a real life event
explains the benefits of having personnel available in-                                   By this, Claus was referring to t...
Partner/developer channel                                                                Autodesk Island is part of a wide...
Other companies also make use of their Second Life
In addition to providing product information on a                                        Commenting on this initiative, Lo...
Commenting on the launch, Malcolm Dunford, Chief                                         available on-demand technical con...
A virtual bank is being used to test different layout
configurations. A virtual BP garage has been created
to show where und...
development solution) and Teamcenter software (a
PLM product).
Promotions and competitions
In addition to using strategic ...
re-position their expertise to deliver metabrand                                                Xerox
applications.       ...
largest opportunity for all these companies is the
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Technology and Virtual Worlds


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The full KZero Worldswide report.

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Technology and Virtual Worlds

  1. 1. Technology sector companies in Virtual Worlds T he Technology sector has been extremely quick to adopt virtual world strategies. Should this be a surprise? No. After all, metaverses such as Second Life rely exclusively on technology to make them work and the population residing inside these worlds are early adopters. However, as this KZero case study explains, the benefits and opportunities available to companies in the tech sector are much more related to creating communities and personnel experiences than to the latest technological developments. Tech Companies in Virtual Worlds: A KZero Worldswide Case Study. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 1
  2. 2. What is a virtual world? However, as the chart below left shows, other regions and in particular Europe, have embraced Second Life. The World Wide Web as we know it today consists of In late 2006, Second Life resident numbers broke static 2D pages. You visit a website and read/watch through the 1m mark, helped by significant media the information or media presented on it. Virtual coverage. During 2007, resident numbers grew by 1m worlds (metaverses) are different. per month and now (Jul 2009) the total number of They are digital 3D environments accessed in real- registered accounts is over 19m. time that allow people to explore, examine and interact with the objects created within the world and However, even greater growth has been observed in importantly they allow people to interact together in a virtual worlds catered towards younger audiences. shared collaborative space regardless of their Stardoll for example, has over 34m accounts, Barbie geographical location. Girls over 10m and IMVU over 39m. Appendix one shows the KZero universe graph, an illustration of the Second Life was the first glimpse into the future of the size and range of virtual worlds available. Internet, a future of ‘Places, not Pages’. However, other virtual worlds such as There, Kaneva, Stardoll and Using Second Life as an example, as explained in the many others are now available for marketers in this following sections, the unique characteristics of a emerging space. typical resident has expedited the take-up, and the range of different countries represented. Why are virtual worlds growing? Who is a typical resident? The most popular commercial metaverse to date, Second Life, is a global application, meaning that Second Life is not a gaming application. There are no anyone can become a resident. Initially, North America scores, no ‘lives’ to protect, no objectives and no end- drove take-up due largely to the fact that the result. company behind Second Life, Linden Lab is based in San Francisco. Comparison has been drawn to World of Warcraft, an extremely popular MMOG (massive multiplayer online game) but the only real similarity is the fact that they Rest of World 23% are both virtual worlds. US Importantly, whereas the average age of a Warcraft 37% player is 17, for Second Life, the average age is 32. It is this fact which stimulated the interest in major brands to consider entering Second Life. Below (next page) is Europe the age range spread for residents. 37% Canada 3% Tech Companies in Virtual Worlds: A KZero Worldswide Case Study. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 2
  3. 3. The graph below shows the regional breakdown of fashion-themed world Stardoll. Rest of World 16% US 37% Also of note and further interest to brand owners is Europe the fact that females account for 45% of users. A 43% surprising, yet valuable piece of information. So, a Canada combination of the average age and gender ratio has 4% made brands realise that there are benefits to be reaped by developing metaverse marketing strategies. KZero has in-depth data and research available for a wide selection of virtual worlds and is best-placed Further analysis of the demographic profile of to make media planning and virtual world selection residents reveals that these people reside heavily decisions for marketers across the world. within the Innovator and Early Adopter groups. Why are early adopters important? Pre-December 2006, Innovators were the main types inside Second Life, but, as explained by the Rogers Early Adopters are tech-savvy, brand sensitive people. Technology Adoption Curve, Innovators act as a They are educated to a level higher than average and catalyst for Early Adopters. Whereas Innovators are importantly act as opinion-formers. very keen to trial new technologies, they have local Their social networks are cosmopolitan, meaning they social networks. have the ability to recommend brands, products and The media landscape services with influence to their friends, family and colleagues, across the world - another reason for the range of countries represented within Second Life. Second Life aside, marketers now have a wide range These types of consumers also have above average of options available to them. And, importantly, household incomes. traditional media planning techniques can now be used to select the most appropriate virtual world for Which companies are in already? the marketing objectives. A range of companies across many different sectors Different worlds have widely different resident bases are already in existence in Second Life. These range from a geographical perspective as well as different from movie companies streaming their films into age ranges - as demonstrated by appendix one. virtual cinemas, through to media companies such as Tech Companies in Virtual Worlds: A KZero Worldswide Case Study. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 3
  4. 4. MTV and NBC integrating shows through to apparel In part, this has been a me-too strategy, with brands such as Adidas and Reebok creating virtual companies entering in order to keep up with some of stores and automobile manufacturers building virtual the early entrants, but a more strategic reason is based racetracks for their cars.. on using metaverses as a platform for experimenting Below are the logos of some of these companies (no and exploring how this platform can be leveraged to trademark infringement intended). the advantage of the core services offered by each company. Experimenting and exploring As discussed, in many instances tech sector companies have to have metaverse presences simply to support their positioning as leading-edge organisations. Several of the larger tech sector companies have adopted a natural, organically explained rationale for entering Second Life. Cisco explains their rationale as follows (taken from the News @ Cisco blog): “For Cisco, it is about the Human Network. Part of that is becoming part of communities in Real Life, and now, in Second Life. We opened the Cisco campus to better explain and show who we are, what we are about, and how we are powering the Human Network. And, that means more than just showcasing products (or, giving away T-shirts and virtual Cisco phones in Second Life). It means working with the community, becoming part Is it a no-brainer? of the community.” An interesting question. Faster broadband speeds, quicker, more advanced computing power, the increased reliance of IT to business performance and the rise of user-generated content have all contributed to the profits of companies in the technology sector as well as explaining the recent rise in popularity of virtual worlds. So, in many cases it’s unsurprising to see companies in the tech sector entering Second Life. Im fact, of all the business categories, the tech sector has seen the most businesses enter. Tech Companies in Virtual Worlds: A KZero Worldswide Case Study. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 4
  5. 5. So, what Cisco is saying here is that in essence, a principles which have guided Sun since our founding. I virtual world presence creates a marketing platform to see virtual worlds like this one as the next evolution of demonstrate their services. 'The Network is The Computer.' Second Life is a community built entirely on participation, and while Other tech companies explain their rationale in a slightly different way. Shown below is a statement this is still an experiment for us, we're jumping into from Siemens, relating to their UGS PLM divisional Second Life with both feet because we see the online Second Life presence (taken from the Siemens world's unlimited potential for collaboration on Innovation Connection). everything from social issues to Java technology development” “Collaboration is the core of PLM and the heart of how UGS PLM Software does business. To enable This positioning is further supported by the message collaboration through Global Innovation Networks, UGS communicated when you visit the Sun venue in PLM Software develops and leverages 3D modeling, Second Life: visualization, and collaboration technologies. Virtual “A singular vision - "The Network Is The Computer" - environments like Second Life are a natural and exciting guides Sun in the development of technologies that extension of these technologies. Through Siemens power the world's most important markets. Sun's Innovation Connection, our customers and our partners philosophy of sharing innovation and building are experimenting with these new collaboration and communities is at the forefront of the next wave of visualization technologies. We are working together to computing: the Participation Age. Sun can be found in explore how these technologies can be utilized to more than 100 countries and on the Web.” improve business processes and innovation. Siemens Innovation Connection also provides an exciting way to So, is simply being in a virtual world enough? By share some of our customer’s innovative products.” making a public statement full of good intentions, does this imply there’s a clear strategy in place? No, it doesn’t. Companies should not view an entrance into the metaverse space as purely a PR exercise because the residents in Second Life (in particular) are far to clever to be fooled by these types of motives. Instead, as explained in the following sections, virtual worlds can be used in a variety of ways, many in conjunction with real-world activities. Product launches and events ‘Collaboration’, ‘Community’ and ‘Experimenting’ seem to be key words used to describe the strategies of Companies across all sectors annually spend millions companies in this sector. Here’s a similar statement of dollars on product launches. These events are from Sun Microsystems Chief Researcher, John Gage: designed to create as much awareness (buzz) as possible about new products and services. “Second Life is creating new possibilities for communication, sharing and community-building – all Tech Companies in Virtual Worlds: A KZero Worldswide Case Study. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 5
  6. 6. One of the main drawbacks of real-world events is The mainland consists of three large virtual land geography - it’s not always possible to attend events masses where the vast majority of Second Life land due to other commitments or time restraints. owners reside. However, the advent of virtual worlds allows people from across the world to meet in a shared real-time The benefit of this type of approach is audience reach. environment, meaning that the concept of virtual The typical approach of having a dedicated corporate product launches and events is definitely worth island (off the mainland) typically means more space exploring. to develop virtual spaces but the downside is the extra effort required to encourage visitors to teleport to the In October 2006, Sun Microsystems became the first venue. Having a mainland presence means a potential Fortune 500 company to hold an in-world press for higher traffic and therefore greater awareness of conference. The event itself was to open the virtual activities. Sun Pavillion in Second Life and was hosted by John Gage (mentioned previously). Specifically for the Vista launch event, a real-world concert was streamed onto virtual screens, Other companies are now choosing to use Second Life accompanied by billboards and other exhibition type to launch specific products. An example of this is support collateral. Microsoft. Other companies using Second Life for product launches include UGS, AMD, Sun and Xerox. UGS (like most tech sector companies in Second Life) has a virtual auditorium to cater for product launch events. These venues not only allow guests from around the world to virtually attend, but also allow the presentation in-world of real-world products They decided to run a series of launch parties in recreated virtually, as shown below right in the Sun Second Life to promote the European release of Vista. Microsystems conference centre. Rather than build a single dedicated venue for this But, not everything needs to be recreated from scratch launch, instead, Microsoft opted for ten different in-world. As shown above (right) with the AMD Live venues across what is known as the ‘mainland’ in image, it is easily possible to import existing artwork Second Life. and marketing imagery into Second Life to create virtual displays. Taking this idea one stage further, a concept known as ‘Simulcasting’ describes the simultaneous broadcasting of an event across more than one medium. Tech Companies in Virtual Worlds: A KZero Worldswide Case Study. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 6
  7. 7. Xerox used simulcasting to broadcast a real life event Service channel at Fenway Park, Boston live into their venue in Second Life. Using this approach can widely open up the Should we be surprised to start seeing virtual worlds potential audience for real world events, providing a used as a customer service channel? Absolutely not. video screen in Second Life viewable by avatars. After all, channels such as websites, email and instant messaging already augment more traditional Furthermore, functionality permits avatars to actually methods such as telephone support. participate in real world debates and presentations. In May 2006, Nic Mitham (K Zero) delivered a One such company testing Second Life for customer presentation to an audience of marketers in Turin, Italy. service is Dell. In July 2007, they announced a trial in- The event, Mondi Virtuali, held at the Virtual Reality world offering tech support assistance for 10 hours and Multi-Media park had a Q&A session following per week. The trial was designed to gauge demand as the presentation included questions asked by avatars well as query handling. This process actually involves from the virtual conference hall, answered using audio making nominated Dell personnel avatars available in and video streams taking live from the event. designated Dell areas. PA Consulting also offers customer service of a slightly different type. Visitors to the PA Consulting island in Second Life are met by virtual greeters. These people are present to meet visitors, answer questions and take them on tours around their facility. What is different about PA’s approach is the fact that they have outsourced this service. Expect virtual events and launches to be a common Rather than assigning real-world employees to this occurrence in the very near future. project, they pay (in Linden Dollars) third party individuals who are on standby during the day. This Already present at many Second Life venues are event provides an extremely low-cost alternative for boards and other devices used to publicise upcoming companies wanting in-world presence. The KZero case presentations and talks. Shown above right is such a study The 7 Point Plan for Marketing in Second Life board on Cisco island. Tech Companies in Virtual Worlds: A KZero Worldswide Case Study. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 7
  8. 8. explains the benefits of having personnel available in- By this, Claus was referring to the fact that avatars are world. able to interact with company information of a visual interactive nature. It would even be possible to direct The leader/evangelist for virtual worlds at PA customers to streamed in-world video showing Consulting, Claus Nehmzow told K Zero an interesting solutions to their queries or teleport them to areas story relating to their service outsourcing... dedicated to their product or service. Recently, voice communication was made available in IBM is another company embracing virtual customer Second Life (3D voice), allowing avatars to speak in service (and virtual worlds in general). IBM has a very real-time to each other. When asked about the large footprint in Second Life with many islands potential for voice in the context of virtual customer serving a range of purposes. service, one of the rostered third party agents pointed out the fact that they were actually deaf. The IBM Business Centre is their dedicated venue for providing support to customers and prospects. It includes a Support Library containing a wide range of manuals and references including the Red Book range. Up to this point, this fact was not known and in fact, why should have been when communicated to date had been conducted via text? In Second Life there are no disabilities or ailments. As a further demonstration of IBM’s commitment to virtual worlds, the Business Centre as manned 24 Some schools of thought think that virtual service hours a day from Monday to Friday with nominated channels could actually pose a threat to conventional personnel. call centres. A article titled ‘Could Second Life kill off the call centre?’ presents the argument that meeting company representative in a virtual environment is actually a more engaging experience than waiting on the telephone. Claus Nehmzow was asked to comment on this article and responded as follow: “The waiting period can be so much more entertaining than with an IVR system” Tech Companies in Virtual Worlds: A KZero Worldswide Case Study. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 8
  9. 9. Partner/developer channel Autodesk Island is part of a wider initiative, Autodesk University an online resource for users of their Another channel being examined on an augmented software. basis in virtual worlds is the Partner/Developer audience. The island itself includes regular events, downloads and opportunities to participate in beta trials of Several companies are already using Second Life to upcoming software and focusses hard on the provide outreach to third parties. One such is Microsoft collaborative aspects of virtual worlds. with their Visual Studio Island. The island was created to support programmers using the Visual Studio software range and features a sandbox area (a dedicated piece of virtual land where anyone can create objects) as well as a launch competition. Intel has also entered into this category and is using Second Life to communicate with developers of multicore, manageability, and mobility technologies with the presence of Intel engineers and experts (with Another part of the island contains a showcase/demo ‘Meet the Experts’ events). area of what is possible using Autodesk products, with real-world products recreated virtually. In a similar fashion to Microsoft, Intel is also using the competition mechanic to increase awareness and interest in this initiative. Specifically, they ran a ‘Braniac Warbots’ contest, where developers will be able to use the Second Life standard Linden Scripting Language (LSL) to build robots that compete. Scott Apeland, Director of the Intel Developer Network commented: Sales channel "We see that Second Life is becoming a popular area for our audience, it provides a new, rich environment for Let us not forget that in many ways, Second Life and training and exchanging information as well as other virtual worlds offer a marketing channel to entertainment. As the developer base grows in Second potential customers. So, just as some companies are Life, we want to be there and grow with them and experimenting with customer service and third- provide the information they need to get the most out parties, others are exploring its role as a sales and of Intel platforms." marketing platform. Visual software company Autodesk is using Second Life almost exclusively as a developer platform. Tech Companies in Virtual Worlds: A KZero Worldswide Case Study. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 9
  10. 10. Other companies also make use of their Second Life presences to promote their product ranges. This typically involves 6-sheet type displays carrying product imagery, hyper-linked out to relevant website pages. Below are some examples of this approach. Dell is a great example of taking this approach. Their Dell Island features a factory room where avatars can configure and order the Dell XPS hardware range (both real and virtual). Ro Parra, Senior VP and GM for Dell's Home and Small Business Group was quoted as saying: “It will tell us what we're doing right and will tell us what we're going to improve. So we asked ourselves how to extend this relationship with the customer to create a different experience. We want to be where people are gathered and they're gathering on the Web in growing numbers. For the first in-world resident to order their PC from us, Tax software company H&R Block also uses Second they'll get it for free. We asked ourselves if Second Life Life as a sales channel. Encouraging integration, they customers want to build a virtual PC and want to get it sell (for L$100) a virtual product bundle including a delivered in real life. We think some of them will." license key providing access to one of their products, Tango. Dell Island also includes a super-sized version of the Dell XPS 710PC. Avatars are able to fly inside the The Technology sector is not the only category computer and interact with various elements within it. exploring ways of integrating virtual worlds into their Consider this in a way product placement. Sales and Marketing operations. However, due to the incumbent technical profile of the early adopter population in Second Life, this sector more than others (at this stage) is the most appropriate to examine this mechanic. Tech Companies in Virtual Worlds: A KZero Worldswide Case Study. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 10
  11. 11. In addition to providing product information on a Commenting on this initiative, Louis Vong, VP of static basis in Second Life, some companies choose to Interactive Strategy said: deliver in-world presentations, or ‘SLeminars’. "TMP believes the recruiting process should reflect Typically these involve bringing in product experts to what's going on in business -- which is going digital." deliver presentations in virtual auditoriums as well as facilitate Q&A sessions with attendees. The first event for the North American marketplace included companies such as Verizon, Ebay and HP. Recruitment Tech sector companies were very quick to realise that not only does the audience inside Second Life contain potential customers but also potential employees. Not only are tech sector companies themselves using Second Life for virtual interviews and recruitment events but also real-world recruitment companies are starting to use this space as an extension of their other recruitment-led activities. Then followed a European based event with The best example of this emerging technique is TMP representatives from Alstrom, Areva, Capgemini and Worldwide, a global recruitment advertising company. Unilog present to meet potential candidates. TMP has already even several regionally based recruitment events in Second Life. They have branded Following the lead set by TMP, Australian and New this initiative ‘Network in World’. Zealand based IT recruitment company Sapphire Technologies has also entered this space. The company is now offering access to podcasts on IT employment topics as well as arranging meetings with virtual recruitment consultants. Clearly this is a very new field with a learning curve for both interviewers and interviewees. Recognising this, TMP provides participants with training on how to interact during a virtual interview as a supporting website to manage the respond and interview booking process. Tech Companies in Virtual Worlds: A KZero Worldswide Case Study. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 11
  12. 12. Commenting on the launch, Malcolm Dunford, Chief available on-demand technical content and training Operating Officer of Sapphire Technologies said: for software developers. Shown below is an Intel discussion on Advanced Ajax programming. “This is an exciting step for us as a business as we continue to innovate in the way that we connect with IT Intraverses professionals, and give our candidates greater choice in Virtual worlds can also be used for internal uses. This how they choose to engage with us,…. types of venues are very useful for providing …Our goal is to create a new Second Life community metaverse environments for employees to learn and of IT professionals in Australia and New Zealand, who interact. visit the virtual HQ to experience ‘Sapphire Life’. So as Xerox took this approach with Second Life building a well as offering practical advice such as podcasts on private venue called Xerox Innovation Island, duty of care for IT contractors, or providing a new space explained as follows: where people can be interviewed, the site includes “The Xerox Innovation Group (XIG) explores the features that are purely recreational, like the sandbox unknown, invents next-generation technology, and the pool table.” architects product platforms, manages intellectual property, and creates new business opportunities Training through its research centers and associated operations." Another logic step following on from developer outreach and customer service is virtual training. A trend likely to continue in popularity is the concept of taking company intranets in-world to create One company, Thomson NetG already provides Intraverses. enterprise software training courses via the Web and was quick to implement a virtual training presence in NPD and showcasing Second Life. The highest graphical and interactive nature of Their in-world campus contains classrooms, labs and metaverses lends itself extremely well to visualising communication centres staffed with mentors and and showcasing new products and services. trainers. In addition to providing in-world avatars for PA Consulting has used this method to excellent effect assistance, NetG has used collateral such as streamed audio and video presentations and podcasts. and actually has three Second Life islands dedicated to showing demos and examples of new business Intel also provides training in Second Life via their applications. Software College and Dev Zone. The company makes Tech Companies in Virtual Worlds: A KZero Worldswide Case Study. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 12
  13. 13. A virtual bank is being used to test different layout configurations. A virtual BP garage has been created to show where underground pipes and tanks are strategically located. Also present is a racetrack explaining the rules of betting as well as an airport to demonstrate check-in procedures. IBM has also leveraged Second Life to demonstrate new product applications. One example is this relates to their involvement in providing measurement tools So, in the context of virtual words, this type of project and analysis for real world tennis events. is a perfect fit. On Cisco Island, the Connected Home is been recreated in order to visual demonstrate the Already they have integrated real-time matches from features, such as accessing a central media library and the Australian and French Opens as well as view and control security cameras. Wimbledon taking data obtained from the HawkEye system. As shown in the Competitions section later in this document, products, services and other initiatives can be integrated into other activities of a more promotional nature. Cisco has done this with their ‘Connected Life Contest’. The Siemens Innovation Connection on UGS island is another showcasing example. The venue contains recreations of real-world product development solutions including the JCB Dieselmax, a car that broke the land speed record for diesel- As part of their overall strategy in Second Life, Cisco powered cars (at over 350 mph). decided to showcase their ‘Connected Home’. The Connection Home is Cisco’s consumer vision of how the role of the network will impact and influence technology in the home. The project also involves Linksys and Scientific Atlanta. Also projects shown include to Hendrick Motorsports Nascar which uses NX software (UGS’s digital product Tech Companies in Virtual Worlds: A KZero Worldswide Case Study. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 13
  14. 14. development solution) and Teamcenter software (a PLM product). Promotions and competitions In addition to using strategic rationale to explain virtual world activities, some tech sector companies are also deploying tactical initiatives, mainly in the form of promotions and competitions. The ‘Intel Ignites OCC’ promotion was a tie-in with real AMD has also pushed into this space with its world activity. Intel commissioned Orange County Developer Outreach programme. This is at AMD Dev Choppers to build a bike in celebration of Intel’s 30 Central Island and is a three month treasure hunt for year anniversary. On the island, avatars are able to developers who will be entered into a competition for create their own custom bikes to ride across Second a Dell E521 with an Athlon 64X2, 4GB of DDR2 Life. There’s also free bikes already built available for memory, a 320GB hard drive and a 20-inch visitors. widescreen monitor. The use of competitions and other similar incentives is Metabranding a mechanic used by many real world companies in Second Life, typically about a month after the launch As virtual worlds continue to grow in population size of their venues. and brand presence, brand new business models will be created. This will be driven by the demand for Another example of a contest is Cisco’s Connected Life virtual products - Metabrands. Metabrands are - a promotion encouraging the generation and products and services created purely for virtual submission of innovative ideas for a connected life. A consumption. first prize of $10,000 USD and runner-up prizes was This is a key area that tech sector companies should made available. focus on. Over and above looking at metaverses such as Second Life as communication channels for real- world services, they should closely examine how to Tech Companies in Virtual Worlds: A KZero Worldswide Case Study. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 14
  15. 15. re-position their expertise to deliver metabrand Xerox applications. TMP Thomson NetG One company is this sector is already exploring the Sun concept of Metabrands. Sunbelt Software is a real- Sunbelt Philips world provider of anti-spyware/malware and email PA Consulting security solutions. Microsoft In addition to the expected features such as a virtual LogicaCMG Intel office and auditorium, the venue provides virtual tools H&R Block for visiting avatars. This is where a prime example of a IBM Metabrand can be found. Sunbelt has created a Dell Second Life security door application that allows Cisco people to control the access to the properties they Autodesk AMD own in Second Life. Amazon The creation of Metabrands is one of the key future 0 5 10 15 20 revenue streams for all companies and particularly The average in this category is over three venues, with those in the tech sector. IBM stealing the show with 18. Furthermore, the actual buildings created on these Is bigger better? islands are much larger than their counterparts in When companies are considering entering a virtual other business categories. This is most likely explained world such as Second Life, one decision to be made is by an objective of creating the perception of how to visualise and create their company dominance in a newly charted territory. environment. Shown below are two examples of ‘going-large’ in Across all business sectors, the typical metaverse Second Life. deployment involves purchasing a single island off the mainland. On it there is typically a main office area and an auditorium. Interestingly, tech sector companies have adopted a ‘bigger is better’ approach. Bearing in mind the average number of venues across all sectors is one, look at the graph below showing venue counts for the tech sector. Tech Companies in Virtual Worlds: A KZero Worldswide Case Study. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 15
  16. 16. largest opportunity for all these companies is the prospect of leveraging real-world expertise in order to create virtual services and products purely for metaverse consumption. We will shortly be entering the age of the Metabrand. In summary The tech sector has been extremely quick to establish company presences in Second Life. And, to a certain extent this decision has been forced on them, in order to keep up with their competitors and stake early claims in this new virtual territory. However, as this case study has explained, there are several different options available to this companies, ranging from in-world events and launches, customer service and sales channels, NPD and showcasing and recruitment. For hardware companies, probably the greatest opportunity, aside from the benefits listed in the previous paragraph is the platform to recreate their real-world products in a virtual environment and therefore allow avatars to interact and experience them. Software and solution-related organisations (with non-physical products) have a different set of opportunities, the primary one the ability to visually represent the specific attributes or features of their services and produce immersive demonstrations or experiences of them. For all technology sector companies, metaverses should be viewed as important future sales and customer services channels. However, potential the Tech Companies in Virtual Worlds: A KZero Worldswide Case Study. Copyright 2006 - 2009 Page 16