Companies looking for more interaction than a collaborative environment are turning to virtual-world-environment providers such as Qwaq and Second Life for private activities like pre-first-day job orientation, meetings, and project collaboration.
What about, mission-critical operations, such as running a network operations or data center? Is virtual-world technology up to the challenge? And are today’s often technologically conservative IT departments ready to consider something that makes enterprise use of Facebook-type social networking sound staid by comparison?
The short answers are: Not completely, but getting there—and a growing number say: If it can shave some costs off IT operations and improve IT capabilities, sure, why not?
The virtual-world interface makes it easier to “bring in” other people, such as subject-matter experts to consult on a problem or prospective clients wanting to “tour” a data center hosting area before becoming customers. While virtual-world technology may not be ready for mission-critical applications, a number of companies have begun using it, and others are exploring it, notably government agencies and Fortune 100s, who have the mix of budget and motivation to pursue better ways to manage their technology infrastructures.