James Corbett is founder of Vizitant, an organisation which aimed to develop an advanced communications network for isolated seniors.
James qualified in Computer Engineering from University of Limerick and spent a number of years working in the multinational sector before setting up his own online business and branching out as a start-up adviser and Internet analyst.
James cites the death of a number of relatives, all within the space of a few years, as a turning point in his life. James was immersed in a world of high tech where the latest and greatest gadgets were being marketed aggressively to the youth market. Having several recently widowed relatives made him stop and think about his priorities and made him think about the benefits such technology could bring to seniors.
James Corbett founded Vizitant, an organisation which aimed to develop an advanced communications network for isolated seniors. The Idea originally came about after hearing about a group of volunteers in Dublin who proactively made phone calls to elderly people living in their community. He felt that while oral communication could be very effective in reducing isolation, older and more vulnerable people might appreciate seeing a friendly face, along with the body language that goes along with that.
Vizitant aimed to bring video-enabled social networking and presence applications to seniors living alone and in retirement/nursing homes, providing an affordable and easy to use means to connect with each other. James worked alongside the Respite Centre in Dromcollogher to introduce the concept to people there. He teamed up with WTS broadband to bring wireless networks to the retirement village and respite centre in the area. The original project used Skype due to its ease of use and affordability, but ultimately James wanted to provide a more immersive experience using videoconferencing and telepresence technologies.
James has since collaborated with fellow awardee Keith Kennedy to found Daynuv, which built interactive virtual worlds to help improve education. This led to the development of Mission V education with another awardee, Margaret Keane, of giftedkids.ie. It provided a virtual world authoring tool for students, enabling them to develop their own game-based learning activities. Following a successful pilot programme it was supported by the National Centre for Technology in Education and implemented over a 12 month period in 20 primary schools. Today James is managing director of Simvirtua Ltd., trading as MissionV, which is building a Virtual Reality platform for teaching and training.
To look into the eyes of those cut-off from society and to hear their stories is to comprehend how soul destroying and debilitating loneliness can be. I really want to help do something about that.