Interesting bit of news from 3pointD (Link) as word is that Sears, in partnership with IBM, will be using Second Life as a kind of preview system for their customers. From the blog entry:
The plan is to allow a customer to import their own kitchen design to the virtual space, fit it out with Sears products, and be able to move around in it as they would a real kitchen in order to get a feel for how the products would work in their kitchen at home.
â€œItâ€™s currently one kitchen layout, but ultimately youâ€™ll be able to bring in your own kitchen from Google SketchUp or another application,â€ Rowe said. â€œYouâ€™ll be able to place Sears products in the kitchen itself, change the countertops and cabinet facings. Ultimately, the entire Sears catalog will be available.
The immediate goal is actually pretty simple to achieve in Second Life. That they’re spending millions on this effort tells me someone will have a nice payday. As to “ultimately” bringing in data from Sketchup or some other app, that will be a bit trickier. Consequently, I look forward to seeing what a dedicated IBM effort yields; especially one with money to play. Stay tuned.