IBM shows off Second Life creations

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IBM shows off Second Life creations

Big Blue unveils marketing and information 'islands' in virtual world.

After announcing last month that it would be funding research into 3D worlds, IBM showed off the latest developments in its 3D Internet project. 

In a private tour for vnunet.com, the company showcased several of its virtual islands in Second Life. 

The islands include areas for current and former IBM employees to meet, information centres for marketing IBM services to customers, and retail areas designed for IBM clients.

A company spokeman told vnunet.com that IBM is hoping to provide the 3D worlds to customers as a marketing and communications service, eventually including 3D internet services with its other enterprise offerings.

One of the retail islands is a newly-launched virtual showroom for electronics vendor Circuit City. 

The Circuit City island includes shelves that contain 3D images of DVD cases, gaming consoles and stereo equipment. On examining the virtual products, users are given the option to visit Circuit City's website and purchase the actual item.

Also on the Circuit City showroom is a feature that lets users determine what size of TV would be best depending on the distance from a user's couch to the set.

After determining the size and type of television, users are again provided with links to the product pages.

IBM said that it has yet to determine how much a virtual showroom like the Circuit City island would cost. Linden Lab, the company that makes Second Life, currently charges $1,675 plus a US$295 monthly fee for the island space. 

Big Blue also demonstrated islands relating to employee networking and customer service.

One of the 12 Second Life islands owned by IBM serves as a virtual meeting place for current and former employees. The island features an outdoor pavilion and a building that contains company information and virtual coffee machines.

Yet another IBM-owned island serves as a sort of service oriented architecture theme park.

The island, which is geared towards prospective enterprise customers, contains interactive graphics, slide shows and 3D models that explain IBM's business software and tout the advantages of the company's SOA offerings.
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