VMware and CHOC: enabling better outcomes
Rodney Davis has a background in delivering technology solutions inside hospitals and healthcare organisations. After a stint at Texas Children’s Hospital where he was responsible for providing applications, devices and technology in many different forms to care providers and patients, he joined VMware as part of their solution architecture team, focusing specifically on healthcare. “We try to take that same knowledge and apply it to more practical situations, rather than just the traditional VMware products and solutions that we have in our portfolio, which is very vast” he says.
Their core service is delivering any application to any cloud to any device. “That means customers are going to be able to get applications and services into the hands of their customers, no matter where they are, or what they're doing. That's where VMware is leading the charge in the industry.”
They have a partnership with Children's Hospital Orange County (CHOC), helping the organization with their strategy and vision as well as execution plans. Davis explains this involves “understanding the business needs coming from their executive leadership, and then translating that back into organizational opportunities for us to invoke change and digital transformation within the organization.”
“The mission that CHOC has is something that's near and dear to most professionals - we all have family and most of us will have children as well, so we understand that providing good natured care is critical for their mission and their success. The partnership comes by way of making sure that our technology is supporting that mission, from top to bottom” Davis explains.
As an example he cites a current project to deliver a new technology into clinicians’ hands, something that has previously never been successful. “From VMware’s perspective, we’re here to make sure that is successful. Ultimately that's leading into care being more accessible to the clinicians, and maybe more consistent as well. Finally, those patients get to go home with better services and the clinicians can do their jobs in a more efficient manner.”
He sees VMware as enablers of these efficiencies. “VMware is a component of the organization's ecosystem. We're not the be all and end all to every solution that's out there, even though our portfolio is very vast, but we absolutely are in the middle of just about everything from the consumer to the data centre.
“But in order to truly be impactful, extending to a third party is very important, so there are a lot of system integrators and other partners that are part of that ecosystem. We want to integrate with those individuals and organisations as well, so we're delivering consistent end-to-end solutions that may carry outside of VMware’s point of view. Ultimately that’s going to drive better outcomes for CHOC, and make them more successful from a patient care and delivery perspective, and hopefully drive all the different financial and business outcomes they need to be a relevant player in the Southern California medical industry.”
VMware’s portfolio is continuously expanding, and Davis explains that in the last decade they’ve transitioned from being a data centre company to an application company, before moving into security and networking. “All this ties into the idea that we make sure our customers are connected, no matter where they are” he adds.
What is the metaverse and why is everyone talking about it?
What is the metaverse?
Think of the metaverse as internet 2.0 (not to be confused with web 2.0, which we saw off in the 00s). It’s a catch-all term designed to incorporate virtual and augmented reality, social, the internet and, crucially, real life. Critics argue that it is being used to replace useful subsets of technology that are distinct entities in their own right. Proponents counter that the components are on course to merge into a single entity and that the move to a singular phrase is helpful to trammelling technology towards that goal. Rather than describing an air-intake filter, carburettor, piston chamber, cam drive and gearing system by their respective parts, you come up with a term for the collective – the internal combustion engine. So it is with the metaverse, or that’s the theory.
Where did the term ‘metaverse’ come from?
The metaverse is actually not new at all. The term comes from Neal Stephenson’s 1992 sci-fi novel Snow Crash, where is was used to describe a VR successor to the internet. It’s actually a similar concept to William Gibson’s cyberspace (Burning Chrome, 1982) though since cyberspace has entered general usage to talk about the internet, an alternative was needed.
Who is talking about the metaverse and why?
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, in a virtual call with employees, said the company’s work would focus on products for communities, creators, commerce and virtual reality. “What I think is most interesting,” he said, “is how these themes will come together into a bigger idea. Our overarching goal across all of these initiatives is to help bring the metaverse to life.” He went on to describe it as an “embodied internet”.
Zuckerberg isn’t alone. In January, venture capitalist and writer Matthew Ball (who was previously head of strategy at Amazon Studios) penned an article on the characteristics of the metaverse. And Microsoft’s Satya Nadella mentioned the “enterprise metaverse” on a call in late July. A near 20-year-old term does not suddenly crop up among a handful of exalted tech names without becoming either a trend (or a source of derision).
Metaverse: trend or bust
It’s too early to say whether Silicon Valley is jumping the gun on the metaverse. It certainly doesn’t sound like the sort of phrase you can imagine explaining to your grandparents with a straight face or casually mentioning during conversation. But you could say the same of robotic process automation, which is big business. Whatever the status of the phrase, the theme – of tying together disparate, or at least separate, tiers and types of technology into a connected whole seems completely in line with industrial technological trends. Let’s hear it for the metaverse, and hope the phrase is used as sparingly as ‘cyberspace’.