Analyst outfit ThinkBalm have published a detailed report 'Immersive Internet Business Value Study 2009' outlining the results of a survey of 66 organisations and 15 in-depth interviews covering 2008 and Q1 2009 focussing on the value to businesses of adopting immersive internet technologies, by which they mean virtual world environments.  The report makes highly encouraging reading, giving weight to the anecdotal evidence reported in previous studies that these environments are of significant value and utility.  I would urge reading the entire report, but here are some headlines:
  • 95% of those surveyed reported some level of success ("Is or feels like a success")
  • More than 40% saw positive total economic benefit, ranging from $10k to more than $1Million and 42% said they 'didn't know' (which probably suggests that they didn't have mechanisms to measure it, not that there wasn't any)
  • 74% said they would or might expand their investment this year or next
  • Learning/Training and meetings most prevalent use cases
  • Reasons for preferring over alternatives - low cost, increased engagement
  • Biggest benefit - enabling people in disparate locations to spend time together, followed by opportunity to show innovation and cost saving
There is a wealth of interesting information in the stats and charts, and the usual range of technical hurdles  were raised by the interviewed participants.  One of the most fascinating conclusions was that the level of engagement means that "Immersive meetings are more like real meetings than they are like web conferences"

Given the stature of some of the participants - Microsoft, IBM, BP, BAE - a report like this should be taken seriously by anyone wanting to improve the nature of collaboration in their organisation.  And if you've read it and want to know more, see a demo or launch a pilot - contact us :-)