IBM opens sales center in Second Life

Big Blue to sell hardware, software and services in the virtual world

IBM Tuesday opened a virtual business center at Second Life that will be staffed by IBM sales representatives from around the world.

Clients who want to buy hardware, software or services, or get help solving a business problem, can meet with a sales rep in the new IBM Business Center, which can be accessed here.

"The IBM sales avatar [in Second Life] can work with the client avatar up to the point of signing contracts and the passing of money or credit information. That would be handled through a link to IBM's Web site or by phone," IBM says in a press release.

"We seek to engage with clients in the way they prefer to engage," Lee Dierdorff, vice president of Web strategy and enablement for IBM, said in a conference call this morning. "This may be over the Web, this may be over the telephone, and now it may be over a 3-D virtual world."

IBM sales reps will staff the virtual center during business hours in their respective countries and will be able to speak the following languages: English, Portuguese, German, Spanish, Dutch, Italian and French. Asian languages will be supported later this year.

Visitors will be able to access a technical-support library that includes guides known as IBM Redbooks and an IT research publication called Systems Journal. The IBM presence in Second Life also will include an innovation center and conference center where IBM partners and others can collaborate.

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