By walterbays on Jan 09, 2008
I had my first business meeting in Second Life today, held jointly with a real world conference room. We remote participants travelled to the meeting by network rather than by airplane. It was a lot like ordinary meetings with remote participants. Which is to say we had a lot of trouble seeing and hearing the Bay Area participants, and vice versa. But instead of complaining about inadequate conference phones, mikes, and dedicated videoconference boxes, we got to complain about inadequate streaming bandwidth, poorly timed server maintenance, and incompatible video formats. At least I had the company of a few dozen colleagues from around the world while we discussed problems with the tele-link to the real-world conference room. I think virtual worlds have a lot of potential to overcome some of the social barriers to effective distance collaboration - barriers that put too many of us on airplanes too often. But I don't think the technology is quite up to the task yet. Sigh, that reminds me, I've got to go make a reservation. :-(
If you do visit Second Life, you must go see Hope & Happiness from Sun Microsystems. It is a delightful and magical walk through the wintery woods, following the glimmer of lanterns and faint music from distant warm cottages. You can make wonderful discoveries along the way, or you can get lost. And watch out for the bears and wolves, though I doubt they are truly dangerous, but it's fun to pretend. Especially if you missed out on a White Christmas this year, it's a great experience.