July 30, 2006

A business meeting inside an MMORPG

Yesterday was a red letter day in my exploration of Virtual Worlds when I participated in a real company meeting inside SecondLife, an MMORPG that has been featured in BusinessWeek magazine.

When the Lotus Notes meeting invite arrived from an unknown US colleague, I had been put off by the unearthly 1:00 AM in the night ? and then I looked closely at the venue and was taken back to read location@SecondLife !!!

This was so intriguing and exciting as well that I immediately suspended my self imposed curfew on conferance calls after 9:00 PM and accepted the invitation.

Fortunately I had an avatar in SecondLife ... though it was a very rudimentary one. Basic male(!) with bare minimum clothes and through him I entered SecondLife at the appointed hour and teleported myself to the location that my company had set up.

And wow ! what a simulation ! Full 3D conferance room with attached lounge. Company posters on the walls, standard powerpoint presentations running on the screen.

It was a big room with about 30 chairs and I ( or rather my avatar ) sat down and watched as a whole crowd of similar enthusiasts started entering the room at the appointed hour. Some were as rudimentarily dressed as I was but othes were in extravagant clothes. At the appointed hour, the convenor of the meeting took a roll call and the meeting commenced and went as per the agenda circulated earlier.

We used a parallel telephone con-call system ( from our First Life !!) for the main discussion but could have used the built-in chat system as well.

All in all, a most unusual and exciting experience and one that is going to be the norm and not the exception in the future.

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