Category Archives for ThinkBalm Reports

What is an advertisement plan (and its contents)?

Question by windleox: What is an advertisement plan (and its contents)?

I am asked to become an advertisement plan expert for my marketing class. That is I have to know what an advertisement plan is and what contents are in the plan.

I wouldn’t mind looking for reference in my school library, but I have no idea what keywords I should look for.

Any helps would be appreciated. Thank you.

Best answer:

Answer by ALASKA F

First you have to identify your market clientele Men/women/animals????
Then their demographics where they are what they do.
Target the group .Age, sex, preference, single married,……….
How do you reach them?
Sunbathers tow a banner on the beach……
Pilots at airport or flying magi zens……
scuba divers dive shops or magi zines…..
you get the picture
about 15% of your gross income should go back in to advertisement.
Be very careful where you spend you advertising dollar,
Possibly have a article written about your service in the trade publication for trade of the product, this only cost a small amount compared to the return,
Do some thing out-landesh to get attention, climb a tall building with your web site written on your back. hide out behind new paper reporters with your web site in the background.
Think if you were the one who wanted the product, where would you go to find it.
good luck there are a lot of people out there.

Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!

Change is under way at ThinkBalm

Disruptive-thinker-bus-SMALLAt ThinkBalm we’ve had a couple of great years as industry analysts dedicated to covering work-related use of immersive technologies—an early-stage, emerging technology market. We have worked with some terrific people at great client organizations like Altadyn, BP, Chevron, Forterra Systems (now part of SAIC), Linden Lab, Moondus, ProtonMedia, Teleplace, and Tandem Learning. We’ve published nine comprehensive reports spanning market overview, business value, technology selection, barriers to adoption, and best practices—and made this research freely available via our Web site. We launched the ThinkBalm Innovation Community, grew it to more than 470 members, and hosted more than 35 facilitated work sessions, training sessions, and networking events. More than half of our research reports arose directly out of ThinkBalm Innovation Community activities. Continue reading

Immersive tech for meetings/conferences must be scalable and easy to use

In our January “trends” blog post, we predicted that 2010 would be a year of churn in the emerging enterprise immersive software market. It’s only a few months into the year and already a rapid-fire series of events has occurred, setting many industry participants on edge:

  • Forterra Systems was acquired by SAIC (see our February 8, 2010 post about it here).
  • Oracle discontinued funding Sun Project Wonderland (now called Open Wonderland) (see our March 1, 2010 post about it here).
  • Key roles on Linden Lab’s enterprise team were folded into the broader organization and several folks on the enterprise team have moved on, including former general manager Chris Collins.
  • Virtual Worlds Management, the company that has held Virtual World Expo and 3DTLC conferences since 2007, renamed itself Engage Digital Media and has de-emphasized its focus on virtual worlds. The 3DTLC conference and blog have been suspended. editorial content has been folded back in to

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SAIC/Forterra acquisition: what it means for the enterprise immersive software market

On February 1, 2010, Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) announced that it had acquired the OLIVE product line from Forterra Systems. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. SAIC had been working with Forterra on and off for the past six years and SAIC had been working with OLIVE internally for the past year and a half. Moving forward, the company plans to offer OLIVE solutions to customers, as well as to use it internally.

On February 4th, we spoke with executives at SAIC about the acquisition. Our takeaways are:

  • SAIC’s industry focus for OLIVE will be government, energy, health, and other commercial markets. SAIC’s focus on these industries closely mirrors the industry focus Forterra had — so we don’t expect the OLIVE customer mix to change much in 2010. SAIC also says it will continue to work with channel partners with whom Forterra had relationships. Forterra had regional resellers in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, as well as associations with companies like ACS Learning Services, Lockheed Martin, and Carahsoft.
  • The primary internal and external use cases will be training and business activity rehearsal. SAIC has a long history in modeling and simulation, going back two decades. The company’s primary customer, the US government, has been putting increasing training emphasis on the interpersonal realm. OLIVE fills a gap in SAIC’s existing modeling and simulation offerings: strong support for interpersonal interaction. OLIVE gives SAIC a collaborative, multiuser 3D immersive environment. SAIC has already integrated OLIVE with systems like the US Army’s OneSAFTM (One Semi Automated Forces) simulation solution. The company is likely to integrate OLIVE with additional systems moving forward.

What it means for business decision makers

As we have detailed in the past here and here, the enterprise immersive software market is still emerging and 2010 will be a year of churn. We see the acquisition of Forterra Systems by SAIC as a positive step in the maturation of the market. While it is difficult for those who are personally involved, the industry will benefit from having a smaller number of stable, well-capitalized technology providers.

  • OLIVE just gained momentum in government and military and has promise in health and energy. Now offered by SAIC, a Fortune 500 company, OLIVE has a better shot than ever of penetrating the government and military sectors. If SAIC chooses to fully develop market opportunities in the energy and health sectors, OLIVE will remain a formidable competitor to products like American Research Institute’s PowerU, Linden Lab’s Second Life Enterprise, Teleplace’s Teleplace, and ProtonMedia’s ProtoSphere
  • As with any acquisition, change is inevitable. Given that the acquisition just closed this week, many open questions remain. Existing and prospective OLIVE customers should keep an eye out for changes to product pricing, packaging, and status (e.g., Meeting Labs was a new hosted offering from Forterra and its future is unclear), as well as SAIC’s relationships with Forterra’s channel partners (some of which compete directly with SAIC).

ThinkBalm publishes immersive software decision-making guide

Today ThinkBalm published The Enterprise Immersive Software Decision-Making Guide, a powerful tool for business decision makers selecting immersive technology for use in the workplace. To view or download a PDF version of this 29-page report, click this link or the image below.

Enterprise immersive software is a collection of collaboration, communication, and productivity tools unified via a 3D or pseudo-3D visual environment. In this computer-generated environment, one or more people engage in work activities like meetings, conferences, and learning and training. The software provides a shared, interactive, multichannel experience through presence awareness, voice chat, active speaker indication, text chat, and many other features, often including avatars.

The Enterprise Immersive Software Decision-Making Guide is a use case-based guide designed to aid business decision makers in the enterprise immersive software selection process. In this report, we present “if/then” scenarios and highlight good-fit vendors for common situations, with a focus on the most prevalent use cases: meetings, conferences, and learning and training. The report offers guidance on how to: 1) ask core business questions to frame the discussion, 2) choose a research-and-demo, do-it-yourself, or combination approach, 3) identify requirements based on your use case, and 4) filter your options based on important limiters.

The following vendors are covered in this report:

  • A World for Us (Assemb’Live)
  • Altadyn (3DXplorer)
  • American Research Institute, Inc. (ARI)
  • Amphisocial
  • Avaya
  • Forterra Systems (now part of SAIC)
  • IBM
  • InXpo
  • Linden Lab
  • ON24
  • Project Wonderland
  • ProtonMedia
  • ReactionGrid
  • Rivers Run Red
  • Teleplace
  • Unisfair
  • VastPark
  • VenueGen
  • Virtual Italian Parks (Moondus)


To develop this report, ThinkBalm analysts held structured briefings with nineteen enterprise immersive software vendors and conducted interviews with fifteen early adopters who were involved in the technology selection process. Some of the briefings took place directly in the vendors’ immersive environments. We combined our insights from these discussions with our hands-on experience using immersive software and our interactions with our clients and members of the ThinkBalm Innovation Community. The ThinkBalm Innovation Community currently numbers more than 400 Immersive Internet advocates, implementers, explorers, and technology marketers.

This research was made possible by sponsorship from Linden Lab, ProtonMedia, Teleplace, and Virtual Italian Parks.

Enterprise immersive software trends for 2010

Enterprise immersive software is a collection of collaboration, communication, and productivity tools unified via a 3D or pseudo-3D visual environment. In this computer-generated environment, one or more people can engage in work activities such as training, rehearsing business activities, delivering or attending presentations, collaborating on documents, brainstorming, visualizing data, building or testing prototypes, and attending conferences and trade shows. The software provides a shared, interactive, multichannel experience through presence awareness, voice chat, active speaker indication, text chat, and many other features, often including avatars. The software can be installed behind the firewall, delivered on a hardware appliance, or accessed via a software as a service (SaaS) offering.

The term “enterprise” in the category name indicates that solutions are suitable for use in the workplace, as opposed to recreational use (e.g., consumer video games and recreational virtual worlds), and are scalable, secure, and stable enough for at least some work-related use cases. Because the enterprise immersive software market grew out of four distinct ancestral origins (virtual worlds, serious games, business applications, and learning simulations), the software products in the category vary widely in features and functionality.

ThinkBalm’s predictions for 2010:

  1. The market will remain in the early adopter phase. The enterprise immersive software market has passed through the innovator phase, when nearly everyone who was experimenting with the technology was a technologist or virtual world enthusiast. In contrast, the bulk of the attention today is from early-adopter business people in functions like sales and marketing, human resources, and learning and training, as well as IT. We expect the market to remain in this phase until approximately 2013, when it will transition to the early majority adoption phase. This transition and timing assumes the industry is successfully able to “cross the chasm,” in Geoffrey Moore’s parlance.[1]
  2. Cash will be king. Enterprise immersive software vendors made significant strides in 2009 in features and functionality, scalability, and stability of their offerings. New and updated products emerged every quarter. While vendors will continue to improve their offerings in 2010, a focus on financing may curb the pace of change temporarily. Many of the vendors in this small, volatile market are actively seeking outside funding. Not all will receive the investment they require to reach their target customers or even continue operations. Executives will be out on the road, raising money and trying to encourage customers to move pilots to paid-for production deployments.
  3. The year will be marked by churn. We expect 2010 to be a busy year, with new entrants, mergers, acquisitions, and even some business closures. Most of the enterprise immersive software vendors are small. Avaya, IBM, and Sun Microsystems are larger players, but their immersive software project teams are no bigger than those of the small vendors in this space. In 2010, new vendors will enter the market and some vendors that are undercapitalized will exit, often through acquisition. Product life-cycle management (PLM) vendors are keeping an eye on this emerging market as a natural extension of computer-aided design and prototyping. Unified communications (UC) vendors are also keeping an eye on — or getting involved in, in the case of Avaya — the market. For UC vendors, immersive software could be a new way to deliver unification of services.
  4. Implementations will break out of the experiment-and-pilot ghetto. In April of 2009, we conducted a small survey of Immersive Internet advocates and implementers and found that about 2/3 of projects in 2008 and the first quarter of 2009 were what we call pre-production: early experiments or pilots.[2] In the same survey, nearly 75% of respondents (47 of 64) said their organizations either might or will increase their investment in immersive technologies in 2009 and 2010. In 2010, we expect to see more large-scale production deployments follow on the heels of 2009’s trend setters. In September of 2009, Cisco Systems held its annual sales kickoff meeting online using a virtual event platform, with 19,000 attendees.[3] IBM’s CIO office has a vision of deploying immersive technology to the entire workforce — that’s nearly 400,000 people. And BP extended its 2009 Game Changer program, which has been focused on the Immersive Internet, for an additional six months because the company was seeing so much value from it.
  5. A wave of products will move from alpha and beta into general release. While some vendors could emulate Google and offer beta products in perpetuity, most of the vendors that have early-stage products will take a more traditional route and move their enterprise immersive software products from alpha or beta into production this year. In 2010, we expect to see generally-available (GA) products released by A World for Us, Amphisocial, Avaya (assuming the company moves forward with web.alive, which it has acquired with Nortel), Linden Lab (Second Life Enterprise), VastPark, and VenueGen. We may also see a GA release of Meeting Labs, if Forterra Systems moves forward with this new hosted offering.
  6. Customers will demand more integration with existing systems. Some of the vendors already provide interfaces to various back-end business systems. Several vendors provide lightweight directory access protocol (LDAP) integration: Altadyn, Avaya, IBM, Forterra, Linden Lab (with Second Life Enterprise), ReactionGrid (with Harmony), Sun Microsystems, and Virtual Italian Parks. ProtonMedia and Teleplace also integrate specifically with Microsoft Active Directory. Another common integration point is office productivity software. A World for Us, Amphisocial, Avaya, Forterra Systems, ProtonMedia, Rivers Run Red, and Teleplace allow users to upload or drag and drop Microsoft Office,, Google documents and spreadsheets, or other types of files into the environment. American Research Institute (ARI), Forterra Systems, and ProtonMedia commonly integrate with their customers’ learning management systems. Amphisocial, InXpo, ON24, Unisfair, and VastPark provide integration with external social networking tools, like LinkedIn and Twitter.
  7. The base feature set for the most common use cases will begin to standardize. Because the enterprise immersive software market grew out of multiple distinct ancestral origins, the software products in the category vary widely in features and functionality.[4] Despite this, we are starting to see a standard feature set emerge for small, presentation-style meetings, which is the simplest use case. All of the products that address this use case provide meeting spaces, local text chat, and either file sharing or screen sharing. Most also provide 3D meeting spaces, 3D avatars, and local voice chat. In 2010 and beyond, vendors will coalesce around a richer set of features for this use case and fairly standard sets of core capabilities for other use cases, primarily small, collaborative meetings, large meetings and conferences, and some forms of learning and training.
  8. Pricing models will go through a transformation. To date, most immersive software deployments are pilots – not large-scale production deployments. Most customers are not yet making large, strategic investments. As a result, vendors have not yet received much feedback from the market about pricing, and lots of experimentation is under way. Some products are open source and therefore free, if you don’t include the cost of building applications and supporting the environment. Some vendors charge based on number of concurrent or named users, while others charge per user, per hour. Some charge per month, others per year, still others per virtual event. Some charge a traditional up-front license fee plus an annual software maintenance fee. As the market evolves, pricing strategies will also evolve to align more closely with customers’ expectations of enterprise software, whether it is installed on-premise or delivered via a hosted service.
  9. Early attempts at mobile device support will focus on a subset of features. With a few exceptions, enterprise immersive software products do little to support mobile users. A few vendors (like ARI, Forterra Systems, and Sun Microsystems) provide telephony integration so mobile users can join immersive meetings and training sessions via voice. Several third-party vendors have created iPhone apps (e.g., Sparkle IM and Touch Life) that are slimmed-down Second Life clients. VastPark is working on apps for the iPhone and Android. Other vendors are likely to provide mobile device support for their products, as well. The mobile applications will not likely have all the same functionality as the full apps, but at minimum will provide presence information text chat, and voice chat. With the rise in the tablet computer format in 2010, which will have a larger display than mobile phones and will have built-in support for broadband Internet and Wi-Fi, we expect to see some exploration into this new hardware category, as well.
  10. New alliances will form, creating new value. We hope this is more than wishful thinking on our part. But wouldn’t it be nice if . . . enterprise immersive software vendors partnered up with unified communications vendors and virtual event platform vendors? We see many crossovers already between enterprise immersive software and unified communications. (See the January 6, 2010 ThinkBalm article, “Immersive software for meetings will expand the information worker toolkit.”) Imagine an immersion layer that presents a simple, natural user interface that truly unifies communication and collaboration among information workers. Also imagine alliances between vendors that offer 3D environments and those that offer pseudo-3D environments for large-scale events (e.g., InXpo, ON24, and Unisfair). You’d be able to augment the unfettered access provided by pseudo-3D environments for large-scale events with the collaborative power of 3D for smaller breakouts and training sessions.

Immersive software for meetings will expand the information worker toolkit

Immersive software can deliver a similar level of engagement as a physical meeting or high-end telepresence session, without the requirement to travel. Enterprise immersive software vendors have suffered something of a catch-22 as they built products that show off the potential of immersive technology. They added tightly integrated communication and collaboration features, even though these features are redundant with existing information worker infrastructure. Immersive software features that are also part of more established information worker software include voice services, messaging (real-time and asynchronous), presence awareness, team workspaces, video streaming and sharing, and document and screen sharing. As more organizations adopt immersive software, the time will come to tackle one of the second-stage barriers we’ve discussed before: integrating these new capabilities into their existing software investments? We anticipate that integration will be a major focus of early adopters in 2010.

Immersive software for meetings will:

  • Extend the reach of existing investments with new features and functionality. It is helpful to think about immersive technology as the front end of the wave of communications and collaboration tools, with an emphasis on engagement (see figure). Immersive software provides features other forms of information worker software don’t — like a 3D interface (in most cases), avatars (in most cases), unification of collaboration and communication services, more sophisticated non-verbal communication (e.g., gestures and animations), and a strong sense of presence. Immersive technology isn’t about replacement, but expanding and extending the toolkit. Immersive Internet advocates should try to position their investments in immersive software for meetings within the broader information worker infrastructure context.
  • Integrate with existing communication and collaboration tools. We are starting to see vendors design or add function to their products to achieve integration with existing systems. For example: Amphisocial has built direct integration with Google Docs and Spreadsheets. ProtonMedia has integrated with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007. Teleplace provides drag-and-drop integration with documents (and can provide this for Microsoft Office documents as well). Several vendors (ARI, Forterra, and Sun Microsystems) provide the ability to call a telephone from within the environment. Sun and VastPark provide a session initiation protocol (SIP) interface.

New ThinkBalm analyst report: Crossing the Chasm, One Implementation at a Time

Today ThinkBalm published a new research report: “Crossing the Chasm, One Implementation at a Time.”  We timed the research and release of this report to coincide with our opening keynote presentation at the 3DTLC conference in San Jose. To view or download a PDF of this report, click this link or the image of the report cover below.

The core question we set out to answer is, “How are early adopters overcoming barriers to adoption of immersive technology in the workplace?” To build upon the research we conducted for the ThinkBalm Immersive Internet Business Value Study, Q2 2009, in August of 2009 we conducted in-depth interviews with 16 highly-qualified Immersive Internet advocates and implementers who work for organizations like AT Kearney, Blended Solutions, City of Geneva (Illinois, USA),, groupVision AG, IBM, Microsoft, Preferred Family Healthcare, SAIC, San Diego State University, The Coaches Center, The Maids, University of Denver, and World2Worlds, along with some that wished not to be named.

In this report we provide insights into the barriers early adopters face — technological, people-related (especially time and perception-related), and financial — and offer a set of recommendations for “springboards” that can help project teams leap over the barriers.

New video: 9-minute tour of ThinkBalm Data Garden

A new video is live: a 9-minute tour of the ThinkBalm Data Garden, which is an experiment in data visualization. The ThinkBalm Data Garden is open to the public on ThinkBalm Island in the virtual world of Second Life. A tour through the garden is an interactive next-generation “webinar” experience based upon the findings of the ThinkBalm Immersive Internet Business Value Study, Q2 2009. This video is a ThinkBalm production, with special help from ThinkBalm Innovation Community members Eric Hackathorn, Jeff Lowe, Jonas Karlsson, and Keely Algiere.

ThinkBalm publishes business value study

Today ThinkBalm published a ground-breaking new research report: “ThinkBalm Immersive Internet Business Value Study, Q2 2009.”  The core question we set out to answer is, “What is the business value of using immersive technologies for work?” We surveyed 66 highly-qualified Immersive Internet practitioners and conducted 15 in-depth interviews. This research report contains our findings and analysis. To view or download a PDF version of this 36-page report, click the image below.

Click this image to view or download a PDF of this report.

Key findings from the study:

  • More than 40% of those surveyed (26 of 66) saw a positive total economic benefit from investments in immersive technologies in 2008 and 1Q 2009. More than 50% of respondents (34 of 65) expect to obtain a positive total economic benefit in 2009. The number of respondents who expect to obtain economic benefit of $25,000 USD or more in 2009 is more than double the number who indicated they achieved this level for 2008 / 1Q 2009.
  • Nearly 30% of survey respondents (19 of 66) said their organization recouped their investment in immersive technologies in less than nine months, once their project(s) launched. Almost 30% of respondents (19 of 66) said their organization did not recoup their investment.  Another 38% (25 of 66) said they didn’t know if their organizations had recouped their investment. This is not an unexpected finding because many Immersive Internet initiatives in 2008 and 1Q 2009 were experiments or pilots.
  • One third of respondents (22 of 66) said their project data shows success. Another 61% of respondents (40 of 66) said the project “feels like” a success, for a total of 94% of respondents.
  • Over a third of those surveyed (23 of 64) said their organization will definitely expand investment in immersive technology in 2009 and 2010, and another 38% (24 of 64) indicated that they might expand their investment.
  • The top motivations for investment in immersive technology in 2008 /1Q 2009 were enabling people in disparate locations to spend time together, increased innovation, and cost savings or avoidance.
  • Early implementers are choosing the simplest use cases first. The most common were learning and training (80%, or 53 of 66 respondents focused on this use case) and meetings (76%, or 50 of 66 respondents). Some intend to take on more complex use cases in 2010 or 2011.
  • Immersive technology won out over a variety of alternatives primarily due to low cost and the increased engagement it delivers. The leading alternatives were Web conferencing and in-person meetings, followed by phone calls. Nearly 60% of respondents (38 of 66) indicated that immersive technology was less expensive than alternatives, and 11% (7 of 66) reported that it was more expensive.
  • Work-related use of the Immersive Internet is in the early adopter phase. Before it can pass into the early majority phase, practitioners and the technology vendors who serve them must “cross the chasm.” The most common barriers to adoption are target users having inadequate hardware, corporate security restrictions, and getting users interested in the technology.