Monday, July 30, 2007

Employee guidelines for virtual worlds? Intel? Huh?

IBM leads the way in utilizing SL within the corporation as a viable tool. IBM has embraced the possibilites of emerging technologies as a tool for internal employee productivity and development. But Intel? I don't think so. This just in from Virtual Worlds News:
"This week IBM will release a set of rules for its 5,000 employees who use Second Life and other virtual worlds. Intel is working on a set of voluntary classes and guidelines to follow suit."
I think Intel may have 5 employees ALLOWED to access Secondlife certainly not 5,000. Intel marketing might consider throwing up adds in SL, and buy an Intel Island. And the software group might also support their external software communities, developers, etc. within a fun little SL conference room.
(Actually, the one I experienced was quite nice) But Intel will NEVER allow their rank and file employees to participate in emerging technologies like SL. No Intel team members from different geo's will ever meet in a SL area for training, project meetings, etc.

Oh good grief. If ANY company in the world was going to create useless guidelines this early in the life of a technology I should have known that it would be Intel. Only the Paranoid Survive, right Andy? Let's figure out if Second Life is even going to be a viable corporate tool before we turn on the paranoia machine.

I wonder if any of those Intel employees are aware that they can't even get into SL from with in the corporate network. So, now corporations are creating guidelines for activities that can ONLY occur on your OWN machine on your OWN free time. Somehow that just seems wrong to me on so many different levels.

Can anyone from an Intel training function with an internal customer base comment on this? Did the IT department actually cave in, and open all the UDP ports (or whatever they're called)? I was told for years that there wasn't a snowball's-chance-in-Arizona of ever getting UDP ports opened.

With all that said, YES, I think tools like SL have the ability to become (are) extremely, EXTREMELY useful learning environments. And apparently so do many of my learning colleagues as well. I would encourage my colleagues to check out what Proton Media has to offer...VERY cool stuff!
And from The eLearning Guild's data we find "93.8% of members believe that immersive learning simulations are BETTER [than other elearning offerings]." Check out the Immersive Learning Simulations report if you want the ammunition to get those software guys to open up Intel Island for internal training use.


Josh Bancroft said...

I don't know how much I can disclose, but I can say for a fact that the attitude towards SL at Intel is not nearly as dismal as you portray it. :-)

There are technical as well as statutory roadblocks, and it will take time to work through them. Will Intel be slow and cautious? You bet. Will that frustrate people like me who want to bring the company to the forefront of collaborative technologies like SL? You bet.

There's a lot of Marketing effort going on in SL, too, which I think is going to end up being wasted. People don't want to be marketed to in SL. If anything is going to be successful, it's going to be subtle, contextual, borderline-useful advertisements, like Google AdSense. NOT "come see our gigantic island and all the cool stuff on it!".

That said, Intel has bought three islands/sims in SL that I know of them. Two of them are owned/run by the marketing group (the Orange County Choppers island and the "journey to the core" thing). The third island is special. It's run by my group. Intel Software Network, and it's NOT about marketing. It's an extension of our developer community.

What exactly are we going to do with it? We don't know. We're experimenting. We've had some really successful technical events. Beyond that, we're still fiddling. But I'm excited about the possibilities.

Let me know if you want a tour or invite to one of our events (they're all public), and I'll show you around. :-) And you can tell us how not to suck - we're listening.

Celeste Spencer said...

For those of us who are reading this from behind the Great Wall of Intel and thus can't look it up - can you explain what SecondLife is? You caught my attention Brent. ;-)

Brent Schlenker said...

Sorry for the late response to this. Celeste: first off, HI! how are you? I hope life behind the great firewall isn't still stifling and sufficatingly painful beyond all wait...that was when I was there...things must have changed ;-)
SecondLife is a totally interactive 3D virtual environment that is crazy popular...hard to explain without seeing it.

Josh: Somehow I knew you'd find this post and comment. I'm happy to hear that things are looking up. I'm certain Intel will buy many more islands to reach out to the public, supporting marketing efforts, and external partner groups, but that's it. That's what I was saying in my post. Celeste and her internal colleagues will never get the benefits of SL brought to them. There are other tools that ROCK behind a big corp. firewall and I'd like to see Intel take advantage of those. They have been built specifically for the corporate life.
I'd love to have you on my podcast soon, Josh. I'll contact you. I hope you are both doing well.