Pharmaceutical researchers, doctors and others in the healthcare field rely heavily on collaboration, but as costs rise and budgets shrink, professionals can't always be where information-sharing is taking place. In ProtoSphere, they can attend classes, watch lectures and participate in brainstorming sessions in a virtual, real-time environment.
ProtoSphere is the creation of Lansdale, Penn.-based Proton Media. The company started in 1998 as a custom e-learning shop for life sciences companies, but in 2005 began evolving into the company it is today, providing SecondLife-like online spaces for collaboration. Proton Media was bootstrapped by its two founding partners, including the current CEO, Ron Burns. Since 2007 the company has raised $7 million in venture capital. The company is profitable and its revenue has doubled in the last two years, Burns says.
Several healthcare companies, including Merck, SciMed and Johnson & Johnson, are using the virtual environment. SciMed recently opened the industry's first Virtual Diabetes Institute in ProtoSphere, with classrooms, conference rooms, a lecture hall and a large auditorium. Physicians visit spaces within the ProtoSphere as well-dressed avatars and do things like sit in a simulation of a new piece of expensive equipment or walk around a rotating molecule.
It's the ultimate supply chain: Collect trash, compost it, and sell it back to the same businesses that threw it away.
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