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.

Erica Driver

Erica Driver was a co-founder and principal at ThinkBalm. She is a leading industry analyst and consultant with 15 years of experience in the software industry. She is quoted in mainstream and industry trade press including the Boston Globe, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, CIO, and Computerworld. Prior to co-founding ThinkBalm, Erica was a principal analyst at Forrester Research, where she launched the company’s Web3D coverage as part of her enterprise collaboration research. She was also the co-conspirator behind Forrester’s Information Workplace concepts and research. Prior to her tenure at Forrester, she was a Director at Giga Information Group (now part of Forrester) and an analyst at Hurwitz & Associates. She began her career in IT as a system administrator and Lotus Notes developer. Erica is a graduate of Harvard University.