The Virtual Building Company


Enterprise Applications for Virtual Worlds

Stanford University: Second Life

Photo:Stanford University in Second Life

I remember the first time, I learned to write a web page <HTML> text here </HTML>. We couldn't believe it was so easy and to our minds the opportunities the 'web' presented were more important than the first moon landing but convincing others was quite another matter. Why do I need a web page people would ask ?

A similar situation exists today when people ask "Why do I need a virtual world?"


The technology for 'running virtual worlds has been around for more than a decade and while some large companies - Vodafone' for example have been early adopters of them - primarily for meetings, most of the developmental uses and applications for this new technology have been demonstrated by educationalists working in universities.

Surveys show that almost every university in the UK and North America has a presence in a virtual world where most of these universities started with a small island in Second Life, where this highly devoped and rich environment offered an easy and cheap introduction as they dipped their toes into the possibile uses for virtual teaching.

The enthusiasm for this new technology was often driven by individual, paying out of their own pocket in dollars and time but increasingly the early adopting universities are now moving into using other implementations of virtual worlds; notably the open source software of Open Sim, as these organisations already have a sophisticated IT infrastructure Open Sim allows them to run virtual worlds as closed 'grids' comparable to a company's fire walled intranet which are invisible to the mainstream.

So what do they use these virtual worlds for ? Language learning, Medical diagnosis and triage training, Criminal Justice practice, Marketing analysis, Fashion design and Pattern Cutting, Environmental Biology, Drama Studies, Microbiology, Elementary Physics, Management role play, Health and Safety training.

As with so much implementatiopn of science and technology it is the imagination of third parties which demonstrates the uses for an otherwise hard science.