Linden Labs has modified its popular Second Life virtual world to allow businesses to get into the act behind the safety of their own firewalls.
Launched on Nov. 4 as Second Life Enterprise, the new software creates meeting room environments for employees and use voice-over IP, text chat and 3D collaboration, but with businesses allowed to control the hosting and application management themselves, according to an AFP article. IBM, Northrop Grumman and U.S. Navy are among 14 businesses that are already using the $55,000 product.
So far those companies seem impressed. According to IBM:
"Second Life Enterprise version offers a great combination of collaboration, content creation and communications tools and resources," said IBM vice president of innovation initiatives Francoise Legoues. "We were one of the early adopters of the Second Life platform, and having that technology behind the firewall gives us the opportunity to expand our use of the platform enterprise-wide."
The Navy apparently likes the extra security:
"Virtual worlds have the potential to provide a safer, more cost-effective approach to some of the Navy’s current mission areas," said Douglas Maxwell, program technology lead for NUWC Metaverse Strategic Initiative. "Hosting the Second Life Enterprise on a secured network allows us to conduct training, concept of operations exercises and collaborative engineering activities using sensitive information in safety."
Linden Labs said it has more business-related products in the works and plans a Second Life Work Marketplace for early next year.