I have just uploaded the next instalment of Immersive Internet Australia, entitled ‘Focus on Health’, which canvasses the opportunities for delivering health services via virtual environments. By way of an introduction, I includ below, a couple of charts which indicate the depth and breadth of innovation amongst health providers. Table 1 is my own:
Table 2 was compiled by the folk at Virtual Ability, a non-profit corporation based in Colorado, USA, with a mission to “enable people with a wide range of disabilities by providing a supporting environment for them to enter and thrive in online virtual worlds…”
In spite of the evidence, the serious use of virtual worlds continues to be allude policy makers. Only last week, an Australian Labor Party back bencher Nick Champion referred to a demonstration by the anti-climate-change lobby as “a rally that has all the credibility of a Dungeons and Dragons convention – full of fantasists ” . A reading list including the John Seely Brown’s ‘Harvard Business Review’ articles, and a link to Jane McGonical’s ‘Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World’ are winging their way to him now.
One other indicator of narrow thinking comes, unlikely, from the authoritative blogger on virtual worlds, Daniel Voyager. Daniel recently posted a list of the 15 top real life companies that are still active …gasp gasp…in Second Life. what is troubling is that he omitted the multi-billion health (and education) industry from his list. These are businesses too, only whereas the corporates may be struggling to justify the Second Life subscription fees, education and health providers have found real purpose in SL and other the virtual environments; they have a deeper understanding as to how online virtual environments can create value: broadly speaking, this is by acting, playing, learning, helping, moving, meeting and so on.
To put it into a simple equation :
virtual +verb = value
(where the verb ends in ‘ing’)