Saturday, 3 March 2007

Danish Bankers on the Job

Another recent launch in Second Life has been Saxo Bank, an online investment bank, based in Copenhagen, Denmark.

During development the island was codenamed "Wall Street", but with its launch it has now been renamed to Saxo Bank. Not being an expert in anything to do with money, I can't comment on the banking side of the implementation, but the building is impressively detailed, if rather like a... well... a bank.

Jeffrey Limpele, executive director of quantitative analysis at Saxo Bank (whatever that means), told SLNN that the bank ultimately plans to offer "leveraged Forex trading on the lindens... We want to give you access from Second Life to your Real Life foreign exchange." We'll see.

I spoke with a few people at the bank last night, and during the conversation I was told that it had been visited by around 5000 people in 24 hours. I initially took this at face value - though it seemed like a high number. However, my chum Team Mascot did some back of fag packet calculations which came up with the answer "highly unlikely". It'd be interesting to see the stats, broken down in 1-hr chunks - as I'm struggling to see who came, and when.

Anyway, let's carry on. The main bank building shares the island with a large volcano,

viewable from the bank's roof terrace. There is also a bizarre Rio carnival parade that processes around the island. I have provided pictures, including one of me doing the Samba - certainly not a sight you're likely to see every day! Whether there is some deep symbolism in the use of the volcano and carnival, or whether it is an amusing whimsy, I have no idea.

The floats are fun - but I am suspicious. The lag seemed to be extremely marked on this sim - frame rates were poor, chat was delayed, yet there seemed to be no client-server bandwidth problems apparent. I'm no expert (as you will have gleaned if you've read my other postings) but I wonder if the sim is a tad over-done: too many scripts; particles; prims... all that technical stuff that can grind a poor little Debian server into the ground. OR, alternatively, it was "just one of those SL days", and all will be right eventually.

The site is the work of those clever folk at Beta Technologies (what happened to my launch invite btw? eh? Eggy??) - who might want to update their website to log this build.

In terms of applying the Laws of SL, Saxo have been doing their homework - or at least listening to people. They plan to have greeters in attendance on a 24x7 basis, to give that all-important human dimension, without which a place can rapidly decline. Beta have built a number of fun facilities into the island too - some directly concerned with banking (eg: there's a banking game - which I went nowhere near!), while others appeal to broader tastes. I'm thinking here of the music and dancing on the carnival floats.

An interesting addition to the Second Life Menagerie!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Aleister,

I head the Product Development section at RL Saxo, and have also headed our SL entry. Appreciate the feedback we are able to derive from your blog, as this is very new territory for us.

We decided late last year to venture into SL – and had a very efficient task force of dedicated people work out our solution.

The building is build exactly like our RL headquarter currently under construction (scheduled to be ready in 2008) – which might explain the high level of details. It’s done by builders according to RL architect specs. Having such a building proved beneficial when explaining our SL venture to internal staff and other stakeholders. More tangible I guess, than some of the other stuff we showed.

In terms of visitors – the 5000 number you were given was the official SL “traffic” number… - don’t know exactly myself how this number is derived, but am aware that its not “number of visitors”. The staff we have helping us out inside SL are mostly very new to the universe – so I hope the community can forgive an error like this. 

All in all we are pleased with our initial move (you should try the game, but we are just changing some details on it) – and very pleased to be part of SL. As Jeffrey mentioned, we are already looking into the next step, which will link RL and SL closer for our current and future clients.

RL: Stephan Martinussen
SL: Stephan Canto