As a kid, we all look in awe at Santa Claus and his wonderful sleigh, pulled by a team of strong reindeer. No matter how badly we wished it to happen, it never did. Until now. Christmas came early for pediatric patients in Tampa, Florida and Western Australia as Santa takes them on a virtual reality sleigh ride. This immersive holiday experience is an initiative from Insight Enterprises, the global provider of Insight Intelligent Technology Solutions aimed at different organizations of different sizes.
This is the third year that Insight’s Digital Innovation team brought Santa to life by allowing the children at Tampa General Hospital to experience this VR game at 360 degrees. It is the first year, however, that the team expands its outreach to the children in another country as well. They took their custom-made “Holiday Madness” to the Perth Children’s Hospital in conjunction with the Starlight Children’s Foundation. Matt Fedorovich, Insight’s national lead for immersive technology, created this wonderland that children experience through the Oculus headset. Parents could also connect headsets to watch their children fight off flying presents in the North Pole. The team also brought a real bag of toys to hand out after the game.
Fedorovich stated that the team didn’t want children to feel stuck in a hospital when they should be out celebrating Christmas. He said that the team usually gets excited about VR applications and intelligent applications used in the business world, but nothing beats the experience that they could give the children. He mentioned that seeing their faces lit up made them realize why they do what they do and that technology has the power to make the world a better place.
Leigh Shayler, a technology strategist for intelligent applications at Insight Australia, was responsible for bringing the Santa VR experience home to many children in Perth. He said that virtual reality can take us anywhere we want to go, even if we aren’t able to go there at the moment. He further said that he hopes the holiday experience was enjoyable for the children but that it also sparks their curiosity. He said that technology opens up a new world of possibilities and who better to put that forward in the future than the children of today.
Insight has always found innovative ways to enable the lives of children through technology because it forms part of their Reach mission. Fedorovich said that the team is planning on continuing with the tradition every year and they are also taking it to hospitals in Charlotte and Raleigh in North Carolina next year during July. He mentioned that they are only beginning to discover the surface benefits of virtual and augmented reality in business and that there is so much more to discover. He said that bringing smiles to the faces of children reinforces the possibilities of AR and VR technology and it motivates them to pursue it even further.
January 8, 2019