Reality of virtual trade

Internet is rushed with the term “virtual” these days. Every business strategy, every service and a software has the virtual term bind to it. It had come to a point  that we use several operating systems in the same desktop box using virtualization, and that’s what I know about the term “virtual”. But this post is not about Xen/VMWare virtualization nor application hosting on virtual private servers (VPS) it is more in to second life, yahoo’s avatar world or currently dead lively.

As we all know the harsh truth is that Business drives IT, but I like to believe that virtual worlds have created new avenues to do better and profitable business and not vice-versa. This post is dedicated to one such research, which was done by one of my collogues for her bachelors thesis. The aim of the project was to research on creating sustainable business environments in virtual worlds. Her test beds were mainly the popular public virtual worlds such as second life, Google lively and avatar city. The thesis contains alot of valuable data, for example the user density in these worlds, what are the brands who is actively doing business in virtual worlds, their success stories and if not how they failed, creative strategies to do business in such environments etc. Also as the research conclusions the thesis elaborate a set of best practises and a business model to conduct sustainable business in these platforms.

Distribution of Real World Brands
Distribution of Real World Brands in SL by 2007 (KZero 2007)

SL User Base (Linden Research, Inc 2009)
Second Life User Base (Linden Research, Inc 2009)

Even though, we do not see massive marketing campaigns or  business growth in these platforms yet, it seems that these virtual realities has alot to offer, for instance at WSO2 we can conduct a series of webnars in second life and we can ask our users to subscribe as avatars, I believe that would be a great experience. 🙂

Any how you might also get a slight chill or goose bumps, if you have already watched few related movies like Gamer (2009) or Hardwired (2009), as every technology has its dark side, I believe if we focus on its promising potential, definitely virtual worlds would be the future.

More details about the research and the thesis can be found at http://bit.ly/a4wr9W

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