Government Technology

The Conference Board Holds its First 'Virtual' Meeting Inside Second Life

NOAA Second Life Island

April 26, 2007 By News Staff

The Conference Board, a global business research and membership organization, will hold its first virtual meeting in June.

On June 15th, The Conference Board Council of Telecommunications Executives, in cooperation with Columbia Business School's Institute for Tele- Information (, will be holding a unique meeting that will bring together technology experts with business strategy experts from diverse fields such as law, advertising and marketing, sociology (consumer behavior), and forecasting.

Although the meeting will be a "real" meeting, half of the proceedings will be hosted online in the Virtual Reality of "Second Life." The Conference Board Telecommunications Council will be assisted by IBM, which is already building a business by providing companies such as Sears and Circuit City with online "virtual" stores inside Second Life.

The meeting will feature presentations from: Eli Noam, professor of finance and economics, Columbia Center for Tele-Information; John Lester of Linden Labs, the creator of Second Life; Robert Gehorsam, president, Forterra Systems; Algis Leveckis, Co-CEO, QuestG; Michael Rowe, Virtual Worlds & 3D Internet, IBM; Adam Pasick, Second Life Bureau Chief, Reuters; Rita M. Bush, Division Chief, Information Exploitation Division, Disruptive Technology Office, Office of the Director of National Intelligence; Victor Mayer- Schoenberger of Harvard Law School; Professor Beth Noveck of New York University School of Law; Richard Field, advisor to the United Nations; Tom Clancy, professor of law, National Center for Justice and the Rule of Law; Professor John Carey of Fordham Business School; Clay Shirky, writer and consultant; David Greenfield, CEO, Center for Internet Studies; and Aline van Duynm, head of Communications, Financial Times.

Virtual worlds, such as Second Life (, are emerging as fast-growing Internet-based environments, according to experts such as Bruce S. Woodcock, author of An Analysis of MMOG Subscription Growth at

They have attracted the interest of a wide range of participants from entrepreneurs to large multinational enterprises who have established "virtual stores" online, said Edward M. Roche, manager of The Conference Board Council of Telecommunications Executives.

Companies that are already online or close to it include IBM, ABN-AMRO, Sears, Circuit City, General Motors, Toyota Motor, Dell, Cisco Systems, Sun Microsystems, Reuters Group, Wal-Mart, Intel, American Express, and many others.

"This is the first Conference Board meeting that is a true hybrid between 'real life' and the reality of 'virtual worlds,'" said Roche. "By having half of the meeting in Second Life, we will be joined by experts from as far away as Finland, Japan, Malaysia, Scotland, Germany, Chile, and France."

These "remote" participants in the meeting will be presenting both videos and slides presentations within the virtual facility. All participants worldwide will be linked together via a telephone teleconferencing system.

This unique meeting will feature business strategy, innovation, marketing, legal, and technology leaders.

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