A VISIT TO THE VIRTUAL WORLD
Second Life, the online 3-D virtual world, is where PA decided to hang out another shingle last year and construct a stunning futuristic (albeit artificial) office building (see image). In doing so, they were the first consultancy in Second Life—but by no means the first big business. As of last month, 50 other corporations had a presence on Second Life, like Sony, BMG, Adidas, the BBC, Reebok, Reuters, Sun Microsystems, AOL and Warner Bros. And they were joined by a total "resident" population of more than 10 million, according to Second Life.What is it?
Where is pharma in all of this?
Several pharma companies have shown interest in PA's online site, according to Dan Walsh, a member of PA Consulting Group's management team and head of the firm's life sciences and healthcare practice. "We are starting to talk to different companies about how Second Life can be used for R&D collaborations. Virtual conferencing on special topics is an obvious use for it."
Further, Winigrad stresses that "pharmaceutical companies who don't recognize that such technology has completely changed the paradigm that once governed the way they communicate with physicians and other stakeholders will be putting their futures at stake."
In an attempt then to find out more about what Second Life has to offer a consultancy, we contacted Claus Nehmzow, a specialist in consulting in virtual worlds. He is also a member of PA's management group and leads their thinking on participatory media and virtual worlds. With 25 years of experience in strategic and IT consulting, he has worked with large corporations as well as small VC-backed innovative start-ups.