Accessibility to virtual worlds in business

A post from Peter Abrahams on makes the claim that business cannot afford to block access to Second Life for their employees. The argument runs that the gains to be made in training, meetings and their associated cost savings makes it a no-brainer.

Abrahams takes the argument further, stating “A blue chip company will never want to be pulled through the courts or exposed in the media for excluding anyone with a disability from a real life meeting”. With the more traditional options like teleconference, I think it’s drawing a long bow to claim that discrimination is occurring if Second Life isn’t made available. For me, the real argument is the cost savings – compare teleconference costs to installing Second Life and the value proposition is obvious – there’s no need to even have premium accounts for your employees (though it’s not hard to imagine the grumbling around that).

So is it likely to be open slather for Second Life in business? Somehow I doubt it – like most applications there’ll be varying levels of access with procedures around their use. The more innovative businesses will allow more widespread use and even encourage it. The more conservative group will either avoid the issue until they start to lag their competition or allow access to a couple of product development people.

What are your thoughts? Can you imagine Second Life widely available in your workplace?

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