Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Virtual Worlds

The Athena Alliance released a new report, Virtual Worlds and the Transformation of Business: Impacts on the U.S. Economy, Jobs, and Industrial Competitiveness. From the introduction:
Here we argue that online social networking and Web 2.0 platforms are likely to transform core business operations and interactions with suppliers, customers, and supporting services. Virtual Worlds platforms that form the core of a new corporate operations ecosystem will not only allow for horizontal and vertical interactions but will expand the essential business, partner, and management linkages that enhance productivity over the long term.

Virtual World environments promote such changes by helping enterprises develop new products in concert with suppliers as well as with specialized "expert firms" or individual entrepreneurs. In these immersive, collaborative environments, corporate executives and other employees can bring computer simulations and robust databases into Virtual Worlds supported by high-speed, next-generation networks. This allows a wide range of businesses, manufacturing concerns, and services to see the results of business decisions in real time. For instance, banks can visualize analyses of equities data or of options prices and make rapid decisions about where to direct investments.
Second Life and other massive online games get most of the attention but the applications to business and social entrepreneurship have yet to be fully explored. Someday soon we'll be reading about value chain management in virtual worlds.

Ken Jarboe has more information at the Intangible Economy, the blog of the Athena Alliance, and there are a lot more resources at his page.

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