This past fall, the IBM Academy of Technology held two major events in Second Life. The first was a specific Virtual World Conference for over 200 members. Based on the success and the savings, the Academy also decided to host part of the general meeting for the Academy the next month. Chairman Emeritus Irving Wladawsky-Berger has already described the experience and reported that 75% of the second event's participants thought it was successful. Today, though, IBM and Linden Lab released a new case study looking at both events and their successes, including the fact that the first event saved $320,000. 

"Attendees raved about the conference and thoroughly enjoyed the experience," explains the report. "With an initial investment of roughly $80,000, IBM estimates that they saved over $250,000 in travel and venue costs and more than $150,000 in additional productivity gains (since participants were already at their computers and could dive back into work immediately) for a total of $320,000 saved (when compared to the potential expense if the event had been held in the physical world)." [Case study PDF]

For more information on the ways virtual worlds are changing the way we collaborate, check out our upcoming 3D Training, Learning and Collaboration (3D TLC) Conference taking place April 20-21, 2009 in Washington, DC. The program was just announced today!

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10 Responses to IBM Saves $320,000 With Second Life Meeting

  1. Brian Bauer says:

    This is the kind of headline that makes a business manager take notice. I have two questions:
    1. Given all the press about the IBM & Forterra collaboration on Unified Communications, it seems like this would have been the perfect opportunity to put the new tools through paces. I don’t understand why SL was the go-to vendor?
    2. I appreciate that the conference in 2008 was “green” and virtual. I agree that “cost savings” were achieved, but Return on Investment is more complex then “not spending money”. Its not hard to argue that IBM spent fewer dollars for the October 2008 conference, but it would really bolster the ROI argument if we could see some metrics that compare the outcomes and results of the 2008 conference to prior conferences. To me, this would be necessary to determine if the less expensive solution ultimately produced a relative amount of value

  2. Brian Bauer says:

    This is the kind of headline that makes a business manager take notice. I have two questions:
    1. Given all the press about the IBM & Forterra collaboration on Unified Communications, it seems like this would have been the perfect opportunity to put the new tools through paces. I don’t understand why SL was the go-to vendor?
    2. I appreciate that the conference in 2008 was “green” and virtual. I agree that “cost savings” were achieved, but Return on Investment is more complex then “not spending money”. Its not hard to argue that IBM spent fewer dollars for the October 2008 conference, but it would really bolster the ROI argument if we could see some metrics that compare the outcomes and results of the 2008 conference to prior conferences. To me, this would be necessary to determine if the less expensive solution ultimately produced a relative amount of value

  3. len says:

    I wonder what the other 25% had to say.
    I wonder if the costs will stay stable in the face of rapid technical churn, particularly that 3DCanvas announcement.
    That reads like a justification for costs expended that are being questioned.
    I don’t doubt the efficiency but we’ve had that in collaboration tools online for a decade now. They are still not explaining how the extra expense of the 3D representation is merited over the real time collaborations already purchased.

  4. len says:

    I wonder what the other 25% had to say.
    I wonder if the costs will stay stable in the face of rapid technical churn, particularly that 3DCanvas announcement.
    That reads like a justification for costs expended that are being questioned.
    I don’t doubt the efficiency but we’ve had that in collaboration tools online for a decade now. They are still not explaining how the extra expense of the 3D representation is merited over the real time collaborations already purchased.

  5. c3 says:

    3D Felicia Day?;\ len

  6. c3 says:

    3D Felicia Day?;\ len

  7. len says:

    @c3: I doubt she can. Too many jobs and too many interruptions. The vertex economy is mercilessly tedious.
    Day blogs that she is working with machinima.com. An old hobby horse: an easier stagecraft/filmcraft toolkit should be created for the storytellers. Puppetry for 3D should be as easy as Windows Movie Maker. I realize its not but if we are to realize the potential of non-linear storytelling, we have to meet the theatre geeks halfway with tools that take the tedium out of the medium. The vertex economy, heck even X3D/VRML are too low level. It took me a solid year to roll up all the pieces then assemble River of Life.
    So collaboration tools must improve by adopting a stagecraft model. The trick as Steve Guynup points out are not to get hung up on realism and to treat an avatar as the 3D cursor. An actor with an eye for design will get that. The storyteller has to be someone who can act, sing, dance, write, and visualize while researching and producing. We need a way to translate those skills into storytelling toolkits.

  8. len says:

    @c3: I doubt she can. Too many jobs and too many interruptions. The vertex economy is mercilessly tedious.
    Day blogs that she is working with machinima.com. An old hobby horse: an easier stagecraft/filmcraft toolkit should be created for the storytellers. Puppetry for 3D should be as easy as Windows Movie Maker. I realize its not but if we are to realize the potential of non-linear storytelling, we have to meet the theatre geeks halfway with tools that take the tedium out of the medium. The vertex economy, heck even X3D/VRML are too low level. It took me a solid year to roll up all the pieces then assemble River of Life.
    So collaboration tools must improve by adopting a stagecraft model. The trick as Steve Guynup points out are not to get hung up on realism and to treat an avatar as the 3D cursor. An actor with an eye for design will get that. The storyteller has to be someone who can act, sing, dance, write, and visualize while researching and producing. We need a way to translate those skills into storytelling toolkits.

  9. Hey, just wanted to let you know that the IBM case study now has a new link. It’s available at: http://secondlifegrid.net.s3.amazonaws.com/docs/Second_Life_Case_IBM_EN.pdf. Thx!

  10. Hey, just wanted to let you know that the IBM case study now has a new link. It’s available at: http://secondlifegrid.net.s3.amazonaws.com/docs/Second_Life_Case_IBM_EN.pdf. Thx!