Tuesday, 8 May 2007

In a Heartbeat

Today I ventured out among the far-flung islands of the Western Oceans of Second Life, and found landfall at Heartbeat Digital island (to be honest - this isn't very far out!). The company "creates custom Websites and high-value Web software for Fortune 500 companies and other industry-leading organizations" and is based in Manhattan. They specialise in web software for Life Sciences and Financial Services companies.

Bill Drummy, CEO, gave a speech recently en
titled “YouTube, MySpace and Us” which included the following statement: "It’s important to realize that virtual worlds like Second Life represent an entirely new paradigm that will enormously affect how people interact online in the future. At the same time, these sites are ‘bleeding edge’ for most people today. Only 15% of Second Lifers return regularly.” He concluded with: "...nobody knows anything – yet. This is all extremely new; business models are gestating. That spells opportunity, but it also requires experimentation." I think I'd agree with that!

My chum VeeJay, over at Mindblizzard, was not entirely complementary about the build when he stumbled upon it a few weeks ago. However, I am a
much more generous chap (evidently) as I reckon that the build is still incomplete. At ground level it comprises only a small, Victorian-era "orangery" with a fairly full description of the company and somewhat erratic teleport. The rest of the island is lush grass and the odd tree. Above ground is a huge airship, stretching the length of the island - and above that is a solid expanse that blocks a satellite view of the whole place.

The airship is reached using the quirky teleport. It houses a couple of meeting areas and a dance floor, along with a couple of gondolas for more (virtual) face-to-face meetings. However, the whole thing feels decidedly unfinished. I don't know if they are taking a breather, but it is not in its final configuration - or so I would hope. I am encouraged in this thought by the fact that I can find no press releases announcing its presence. Oh... some quite nice particle effects by the way.

Incidentally, VeeJay commented on the island claim date as July, 2004. However, I am not sure this isn't a bug (or feature?) of Second Life, as I have encountered a number of "new" islands with "old" claim dates. Perhaps more instructive is that the owner, Praetor Hax, was "born" on 14th Feb, 2007 (although he has an older alt dating back to 2005). I am therefore happy to reserve judgement until more has been done - assuming more is actually done! If you know anyone from Heartbeat Digital, please ask them to comment, correcting me on any errors or misunderstandings.


Praetor Hax said...

I am Director of User Experience at Heartbeat Digital and what you saw was a proof of concept build that was unlocked, my bad :). We are a web development firm with clients that may be well suited to a number of virtual worlds including SL. I have over two years experience in SL personally (Praetor is the "corporate me) and our staff in New York are committed to bringing many "Next New" approaches to marketing for our customers.

So we plan a space that will be staffed, not a "put up and they will come" experience.

We plan to both work and play in SL, hence a corporate space with a dance floor and particle effects! We will be providing some novel experiences that anyone can come and enjoy regularly, once we are up and running.

Along with fun we will be working with those clients that can best create a valuable and relevant relationship with residents in SL. We do not plan to be soliciting clients from within SL like many SL build companies.

The island is recent so the incept date is wrong, and the build is progressing. We will let everyone know as we announce a launch date. Thanks for your interest!

Aleister Kronos said...

Hi Praetor.

It's good to know my instincts are not far wide of the mark. :-)

Good luck with the build - and please keep me posted!