In an earlier post I mused on how it looks like Web 3D is following a similar adoption meme to Web 1.0. The sizzle comes from Business to Consumer (B2C) side, the Steak is starting to emerge in the Business to Employee (B2E) domain and the special sauce we anticipate will come where the serious move back and forth on digital pipes…in the Business to Business (B2B) space.
Last October I was asked to the Society for Information Management’s Advanced Practices Council. The audience was CIOs from large corporations. Only one or two had heard of Second Life and a few had heard of MMORPGs. Five minutes into the presentation I could feel the resistance from the audience. Although this was the Advanced Practices Council and although they had asked to be briefed on this topic, they were clearly uncomfortable. Thankfully I had a ton of data and corporate examples to back up my claims that corporations were getting serious about Serious Games and Virtual Social Worlds and the audience eventually became very engaged around the possibilities that this new technology could afford their respective organizations.
As a result of that session, Blake Ives (Head of the Advanced Practice Council and Chair in Business Leadership at the University of Houston), Dennis Adams (Chair of Decision and Information Sciences at the C.T. Bauer College of Business at the University of Huston) and I embarked on a study to find out what IT leaders believed with regards to the future of Online Role Playing Games (ORPGs) and Virtual Social Worlds (VSWs) in business.
The chart below is but one of many that we developed in surveying 105 IT leaders around the world. I can’t go into all the details of the study here, but I can say that, overall, IT leaders saw more business potential in Virtual Worlds than they did in Online Role Playing Games. In fact, with regards to virtual worlds, 82% agreed or strongly agreed that there are many opportunities to leverage virtual worlds for commercial benefit.
Going a little deeper into the left side of this graph, we uncover some data to validate the replication of Sizzle, Steak, Sauce meme.
B2C facing activity (Brand Development, Reverse Branding) does not get as much emphasis as B2C facing activity Education, Simulation and Leadership/Teamwork. B2B activity like managing Distribution Channel and Product/Service Development, also get some mention, but it is clear that from an IT perspective the emphasis for the near-term will be on B2E.
Of course with that comes all the other issues I mentioned earlier about the feature/function that enterprise grade 3D environments will need that existing B2C Metaverses do not have in place. So there will be a lot to figure out on this front to make the B2E plays of learning, collaboration and development come alive via the first person interface.
It is clearly early days yet. But things definitely have come a long way since that cold October pitch in Philly last October ; )