Second Life and other virtual worlds like it are quickly becoming one more in an arsenal of mainstream applications that business are using to gain an edge on their competitors. However, since virtual worlds are still in the infancy stage, the ways that companies can best use them to further their goals is still under development. This paper takes a look at how businesses are using virtual worlds in the areas of brand and service expansion, virtual human resources, employee development, business to business marketing, product exhibitions, and on-line collaboration (both internally, with customers and with the media). It will also examine companies who have taken on building their own virtual worlds or are using virtual worlds other than Second Life. Keywords
Second Life, Virtual Worlds, On-Line Collaboration, 3-D environment, Business. 1Introduction
Everywhere you look it appears that Second Life as a virtual world, is gaining momentum. It’s growing throughout the business sector, as well as in educational environments. One place where it’s not growing is in the disabled community. For corporations moving into the realm of Second Life, there’s an increased need for careful evaluation of security risks. This group project will present other growth opportunities for Second Life, as well as address some of the security issues that need to be considered when embarking into this new world of virtual communication. Companies on the cutting edge and even those not traditionally seen as “technology based”, are using virtual worlds such as Second Life (and others) to provide additional benefits to their employees, customers and the general population. This paper aims to describe the various uses of virtual worlds that businesses are currently engaged in and to take a look at how business are adopting virtual worlds (Second Life or other software). The second section contains a background on virtual worlds and how they have come to exist. The third section will provide a brief overview of the main inherent problems that come with load balancing architectures, followed buy a comprehensive look at some of the mainstream load balancing algorithms in use today in section four. The final section of this paper will provide a summary and propose the use of a dynamic hash-based load-balancing algorithm coupled with flow volume monitoring as the ideal solution to the problem presented in this case. 2Background
MultiUser Virtual Environments, or MUVEs, have been around for a long time. In the 1980s, they were text based environment running, mostly, on university mainframe computer systems in the early days of the internet. Users could type text-based commands such as “Go East” or “Pick up ” to maneuver their way through the virtual environments. With the higher speed networks available today, not to mention the processing power of desktop computers and modern day servers, these virtual worlds have become 3-dimensional representations of virtual environments. Today, there millions of people participating in MUVEs, whether in a virtual world such as Second Life, which has more than 11 million registered users, or in a subset of MUVEs called Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs), such as World of Warcraft which has more than 8 million users. With participation numbers in the millions, it was only a matter of time before businesses started to get involved to either get their message in front of potential or current customers or to use the MUVEs in order to further their business goals. (Peters 2007) 3Business Uses of Virtual Worlds
While many businesses are still figuring out the best way to make use of virtual worlds, a few trends are starting to emerge in how businesses are using the interactive environments. The trends focused on in this paper are Brand and Service Expansion, Human Resources, Business to Business Opportunities, and On-Line...