Another significant analyst goes independent

I had a phone chat with Erica Driver yesterday about her new venture, ThinkBalm. Erica has been one of Forrester’s lead analysts for some time, becoming one of their most knowledgeable researchers in what she calls the Immersive Internet. That’s virtual worlds such as Second Life, serious games, virtual meetings and so on. Erica’s charted the possibilities of these technologies – as a participant, not just from the outside. She’s charted much of this through the Forrester Information and Knowledge Management blog, where her reports are still available and can be reached without a subscription (I believe …).

ThinkBalm, set up by Erica and her husband Sam, aims to help vendors and – if there’s a foothold – enterprises working in these areas. With the pressure on costs, the increasing quality of virtual interactions, and less willingness of employees to travel continually, the opportunities are enormous. At the simplest level: I spoke with Erica using Skype – a free call, and we could see each other. Again: the Open University course that I’m teaching has given me a group of students spread from the north of England to the far Mediterranean, and we rely entirely on online communication. With no real face to face time, we have chat rooms but not live video. Wouldn’t that be nice!

Erica is a recognised leader in knowledge and experience of these technologies. She reckons her first clients will be IT vendors. I would expect the more adventurous enterprises to be equally interested!

Tips From A Successful Virtual Conference Erica Driver, Forrester IKM Blog, 28 Apr 2008