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Second Life: It is an internet-based 3-D virtual world. It is the place where people can experience the new life by meet new people, exchange goods and services with own currency and all other social-network through own avatars.
1.2 Key general features of the technology/trend for business
Second Life is not only a game it is the place where business can sell their goods and services to its residents.
1.3 Sector Definition
(Banking, Insurance and Financial services)
We can experience the frontier capitalism and we can actually earn money. We can test new banking and financial services or learn those systems. Since it is web reality programmed we can analysis what is going to happen if we implement new system in real world and what will be the risk and benefits we can get from it.
2.1 Assessment of potential business Benefit (B) and Risk (R) of the technology to the sector
Potential business benefit B5
Potential business risk R3
2.2 Potential Business Benefit/Risk – Discussion
4 millions of residents are in the SL, businesses can use this virtual world as a new business opportunity. By selling their products and also they can test or promote such as brand marketing, holding events, training and simulations. In SL there are some manufactures and brands such as Microsoft, Adidas and much more. These businesses were not specially founded for SL but they involved themselves into this virtual world. Banking, Insurance and Financial services are not much involved in this virtual world but if they do there will be benefits and risks for them.
Banking and those financial services can promote their brand through SL for example they can set up a business in SL and residents will be using their services and as a result the reputation will increase and also businesses can test their new products such as new banking products or insurance products and analyze the result to apply it to real-world. But since SL first introduced in 2002 the number of residents will keep increase as time goes by. Therefore the benefits they might expect for now is not so much but few years later the SL market will get much bigger and there will be much more opportunity for business.
However there are potential risks for business as well as benefits. Although SL is a virtual world businesses will still need set up costs and operating costs, theses expense will be much less than real world but if those businesses fail to satisfy SL residents the reputation and brand name will be disadvantaged from the result.
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2.3 Could this technology (perhaps alongside others) either create whole new markets or dramatically reduce existing market in your sector?
SL will create whole new markets for banking, insurance and financial services. If Natwest involve them in SL it is just same as opening a new branch but in this case opening in a virtual world. 4 million residents are about same as population of New Zealand. It is a big market and since SL is a virtual world company can challenge anything they want to do. Meta bank opened branch in SL and people are opening accounts in SL. According to www.secondlfie.com US dollars spent last 24 hours where $1,635,129 (2nd March 07). People are using SL currency called Linden dollars. In SL people are buying lands, buildings and even computers. But financial services are not yet settled.
Where consumer and businesses exchange goods and services financial services plays crucial role. Also the numbers of residents are continuously increasing. It means there will be much more opportunity for business and benefits through SL.
3.1 Describe through simple story-telling, how the technology-sector scenario mightb turn out in five years time.
The numbers of SL residents are increasing every day. They need financial services just as in real world. There are not many financial companies but in 5 years time there will be many different companies from many different countries. They will introduce wide range of insurance products and financial products such as car insurance, pension, loan and etc. They will operate just same as in real world. Giving customers interest on savings or charge customers for borrowing money and so on. Even the residents will use credit cards in SL. Since there are many companies they are trying to advertise their products and services or to sell their products thorough retail shop in SL so they will need a place to borrow funds. It means the market for financial businesses will grow dramatically. Also if they test or promote their products and services in SL and get great result, they might apply it in to real world. New businesses in that sector might introduce their bands through SL in first place and see how it goes; once they have reputation they might launch their business/brands in the real-world.
3.2 Justify your answer with reference to Nicholas Carr, “Does It matter?”
I found major problem for 3.1 after read Nicholas’ article. According to Nicholas’ article it says
‘Companies can also steal a march on their competitors by having superior insight into the use of a new technology.’ If banks and financial firms trying to introduce new products in SL first and then launch it to real-world, if competitors obtain new products/services and introduce it to real world before they do it might be a problem. But since it involves legal features it may be not a problem, however if introducing a new services or products, businesses have to consider competitors can use their new concept and it might be a disadvantages for them.