Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Cementing Relationships in Denmark

In recent posts I have been toddling around a few Northern European commercial sims - and tonight is no exception. This time we are in Denmark, at the FLSmidth Cement sim, a company specialising in the provision of equipment, systems and services for the cement and minerals industries.

FLSmidth has been in existence for 125 years, and currently employs some 9,000 people (or is it 7,000? The website gives both figures). Perhaps to tie in with this anniversary - or perhaps to demonstrate their open and innovative mindset - they have employed Danish IT company, Intoint, to build this island in Second Life. Once again, I am rather late to the party, since this island was actually built in the Summer of 2007 - but better late than never, eh? Intoint describe this build thus:

FLSmidth wants to explore the possibilities in 3D virtual worlds - and Second Life is the obvious choice. The solution is placed on a dedicated Second Life island ("FLSmidth Cement"). On the island it is possible to see movies, pictures and explore an animated cement factory. Furthermore it is possible to get a ride in one of the ECO cars, sponsored by FLSmidth.
And this is indeed a decent summary. The main feature of the island is the animated cement factory, which seeks to demonstrate the key processes of such a beast to an ignoramus like me. I was impressed with the idea, and indeed much of the execution. However, it was not easy to make out where the actual raw materials were in the process. Lots of moving parts, but not much moving through it. The ECO car was fun to drive - which coming from me, is high praise indeed. I am dreadful when it comes to driving virtual cars - but this one seemed responsive, rather than skittish, and had the added benefit of easy-to-use gears. Aside from this there is a cargo ship and a (high altitude) meeting and presentation area, where an assortment of videos can be viewed.

If you feel so inclined, you can help yourself to a free T-shirt and hard hat. While I think the island is probably underutilised, and does not appear to be tied in with any wider marketing campaign, I still rather liked it. Oh... it will probably class as a ghost sim - but then, the population of Second Life is not likely to be falling over itself to visit a cement company. I hope, though, that the company is taking the opportunity to assess how virtual worlds may be useful to them in the future, building on (and taking lessons from) the work done here.

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