Optical/IP Networks

Cisco's Second Life

4:00 PM -- Continuing its quest for consumer cool, Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) has joined the onslaught of corporations with a presence in Second Life. The company is building out an island that got its official kickoff Monday, to coincide with the integrated services router (ISR) announcements at ITU Telecom. (See Cisco Catches Integration Fever and Cisco Touts ISR.)

They put some work into this place. Here's the main building:

Cisco also plans to build out a kind of artist's rendition of Cisco Field, the proposed new home of the Oakland A's. It's, uh, not quite done yet:

And there's a whole other half of the island that appears inaccessible. Looks like it's being developed for future use.

The place is getting some traffic -- five or six visitors this morning, as well as a reporter from TheStreet.com who was interviewing the Cisco "greeters."

Cisco has built an amphitheatre to hold events, and it's stocked the buildings with product exhibits and downloadable info sheets. I don't know if I'd call Cisco Island fun, but it was interesting to explore.

It also shows the promise of the virtual tradeshow. Yes, the human interaction is dilute compared with real life, but if all you want to do is walk up to an Ethernet switch, stare blankly for a while, then walk away -- hey, Second Life is practically like the real thing.

These kinds of marketing gimmicks are bringing publicity and population growth to Second Life, but you have to wonder how the longtime residents feel about that. Wasn't this supposed to be a place to escape the real world?

— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading

Scott Raynovich 12/5/2012 | 3:33:11 AM
re: Cisco's Second Life yes, this is funny.

I wonder how many future residents of SecondLife will be convertly sponsored. Like, you could meet somebody that's actually a product of Intel.

You should have to disclose if you are sponsored by a corporation, I think.

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 3:33:06 AM
re: Cisco's Second Life Yeah, that's a good point. You could get an astroturf campaign going inside Second life -- although the place is so big, it would be hard to get much traction.

So far, companies are using the Big And Obvious method instead, which actuallly works well. And they're playing by the rules; the Second Life equivalent of spam, whatever that's going to be, hasn't fully emerged yet.

I should note that the Cisco employees/greeters at the island are well marked; they *want* you to be talking to them, after all.

I have to admit, the island really does look nice. I mean, Cisco wasn't going to do anything radical like fluorescent spheroids and giant anteaters, but within conservative corporate borders, they built up a place worth exploring. I love the fountains with the zeroes and ones floating in them.
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