Organisations are discovering myriad ways to benefit from virtual worlds.
The first and perhaps most obvious is collaboration. This includes holding real-time meetings in the worlds with each member participating via an avatar. It can be a big cost saver, as it removes the need to fly workers around the globe.
Virtual worlds can also help teams spread across several locations work together and co-ordinate projects.
The virtual world Qwaq, for example, allows users to create rooms that can store documents relating to a project, and where team members can meet up to share those documents and discuss the project using their avatars, IM and even VoIP.
I took a quick look at Qwaq, and it looks like a solution for companies to isolate their involvement in the 3Dinternet to collaborational meetings (which is certainly a nice market niche, but not necessarily one that will enable broadly innovative uses of virtual environments). It's also pricey, imho, when with a little flexibility an existing platform like Second Life can be used for similar purposes. I'll investigate more fully and report out. Perhaps a Qwaq-er could comment here in response and elucidate further?