Move over Second Life , a new virtual world is being created for the federal government called vGov. According to Government Computer News: "The vGov virtual world environment is now being built and is expected to go online starting in July. It will be used for employee education, continuity of operations training, cybersecurity education and disaster response..."
vGov is a joint federal effort with the Department of Agriculture, Department of Homeland Security, Air Force and National Defense University iCollege joining forces to create the vGov virtual world behind a secure firewalls that require authentication to enter. The virtual world will initially be limited to federal employees.
One thing for sure, the technology used to create these virtual worlds is not just a game. Virtual World News described the USDA contract and the technology which is pretty cutting edge. Here's an excerpt:
"... Like many enterprise-class virtual worlds, Teleplace's is designed for use in training, collaboration, and project management. What sets Teleplace's solution apart is that it allows application sharing across platforms, even through firewalls or cloud computing systems. Another key component of Teleplace's solution is vPresence, a communications suite that combines VOIP, text chat, and video conferencing features within a single virtual conferencing center...."
I can easily see this virtual world interface taking off, not just in the federal government, but also in the state and local government spaces. I anticipate virtual worlds for training and interaction in a business environment, which is currently limited in popular virtual worlds like Second Life. In my opinion, virtual worlds are currently viewed as games by most professionals, but I see that changing in the coming few years. Here's a good article describing the evolution of virtual worlds and training in global businesses.
I also see this trend becoming more widespread in the next few years, and we'll all have avatars within less than a decade in my opinion. In the meantime, bleeding edge adopters of fun workplace training will be busy creating virtual worlds for governments and businesses with appropriate controls, dress and acceptable use provisions. I'm not sure if Second Life will be the ultimate leader or not, but vGoc points the way for all of us.
To learn more about vGov, you can watch this video which describes vGov in detail.
Any thoughts on virtual worlds being used for training? Do you have an avatar?