IBM reports on a conference held in Second Life (.pdf): “The meeting in Second Life was everything that you could do at a traditional conference—and more—at one fifth the cost and without a single case of jet lag”.
Benefits reported: reduced cost and increased productivity (i.e. less time traveling to/from conference). The paper discusses how the conference was organized – not exclusively in Second Life, video conferencing/web casts were used as well – and the budget ($80,000).
I’ve been involved in many online conferences over the last few years that have a far greater reach than the several hundred participants mentioned in here. Plus, we’ve generally done it with a budget of, oh, about $0. Still, it’s nice to see organizations experimenting. New experiences sometimes offer their own reward. I know of colleagues who have been teaching a certain subject matter for decades…and when experimenting with blogs or wikis, suddenly find renewed enthusiasm.
(via Tom Werner)