What got into my head? During a relative lull in interesting sounding sessions at Enterprise 2.0, I decided to attend the session run by Linden Labs entitled “The Virtual Enterprise: The Future of Work”.

At the session Linden Labs announced Second Life Enterprise, a behind-the-firewall private virtual world for within an organization. And yes, just to comply with the theme du jour, it’ll have an app store.

For $50000 you can get yourself a pair of servers dedicated to running your very own Second Life. Apparently, and according to Linden Labs, 2009 is “a breakout year for collaboration” – funny, I thought it was a breakout year to focus on efficiency, cut costs, get more productive and move away from the kids-on-crack hype.

It seems I was wrong.

second life enterprise

So they’re actually serious (I checked my diary just in case we’d swung around to April 1) – Linden say that “Virtual worlds are the best alternative to face-to-face interaction” – in the session the audience were asked how many people had engaged in video conferences (everyone had) and how many had a good experience doing so (pretty much no one). Linden then effortlessly glided to the conclusion that virtual worlds would change all that. All because itcomes complete with both a lunar landscape and a spaceship environment. Oh my!

It seems others have got a little hot and bothered about the opportunities these sorts of offerings give to the enterprise. In one case it’s Farmville for business – Oy Vey!

Now if Linden were selling a product that enabled the distributed virtual design of prototypes of real products maybe I’d buy into their schtick – but they’re not – it’s all just about selling crack – except at least with crack you get the initial high.

Linden rolled out some customers who use Second Life Enterprise – namely the US Navy and IBM. Bear in mind that one is an inefficient behemoth trying to find its way in a world and spending great sums of cash earned from a legacy offering while the other is an inefficient behemoth trying to force its way in the world and spending great sums of cash earned from taxpayers ill equipped to pay. Not exactly an example of cutting edge, nimble and focused case studies.

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Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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