Skift Take

Second Life has every right to reach out to businesses figuring out new ways to work remotely and to better engage potential customers, but there’s a lot of competition right now.

Linden Lab, creator of virtual world Second Life, is launching a dedicated website in a bid to attract corporations to its platform as a space for business meetings — and insists it’s not just “sleazy” marketing.

With travel bans now widespread, organizations are looking at remote working and new ways to replace the traditional face-to face-meeting. Second Life, launched in 2003, was a pioneer in creating 3D virtual worlds.

In an interview with Skift, Second Life CEO Ebbe Altberg said while travel managers needed to embrace collaboration tools, they shouldn’t just involve “looking at people’s faces from webcams.”

Ebbe Altberg, CEO of Linden Lab, creator of Second Life.

“On the business side, how do businesses come together and do meetings? Obviously there are lots of great tools, like Zoom, or Skype, or Google Hangouts, but we provide a way for people to be more immersed in the experience, and be able to create environments that make meetings, or events, of all kinds more interesting than just looking at people’s faces from webcams,” Altberg said.

“We’ve set up a new microsite to make those types of verticals realize we’re an option as well.”

However, he warned the current travel industry lockdown would lead to a step change in the way meetings are planned. “This whole thing will mean a reset,” he said. “It’s a forcing function for people to figure out another way. Meeting in a physical space, going to the office, or a conference — people are not going to be able to do that now for many, many months and possibly over a year.

“Whenever we have this under control … a lot of people will have been taught new ways of meeting. It could have a step change in human behavior when it comes to meeting, collaborating, conferencing and entertaining.”

Altberg added he was initially concerned Second Life’s new campaign would come across as “sleazy” marketing.

“We assembled that website in response to that demand, as there have been a lot of customer enquiries. Our first reaction was, these are scary times. We felt almost sleazy, being opportunistic. But then we thought, wait a minute, we’re actually providing a great solution for people that have great needs right now, so let’s just tell the world what we can offer.”

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Tags: corporate travel, meetings and events, virtual meetings, virtual reality

Photo credit: A virtual meeting in Second Life. Second Life Linden Lab

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