Building a Virtual World

San Diego’s very own Qualcomm is doing a world of good, quite literally. Their Qualcomm Wireless Reach Program is aimed at connecting the world through wireless access, which in some parts of the world this connectivity is still an unfathomable possibility. The Wireless Reach program is a global endeavor committed to providing internet access to underdeveloped and “undeserved” technologically void areas by providing limitless access to information on the internet via 3G for everything from medical care, developing education and environmentally sustainable practices. The philosophy behind this project is grand, and makes corporate responsibility an essential ingredient in our socioeconomic climate.

Qualcomm’s outreach program includes working with over 375 partners all investing in and promoting education, outreach, entrepreneurship and even showcasing their Augmented Reality applications along the way. This Augmented Reality Experience (ARE) began in 2010 targeting students and the curriculum that aligns with their studies. This experience involves a truly realistic virtual experience with exhibits at the San Diego Museum of Art, the San Diego Zoo’s upcoming Elephant Odyssey Exhibit opening this year, the Desert Garden in Balboa Park at the San Diego History Museum. The Augmented Reality program blends technology with a “real life” virtual and completely interactive encounter which for San Diego is called School in the Park and takes kids on a virtual investigation of sorts, requires complex problem solving skills and develops team-building all while navigating through indoor and outdoor museums and exhibits. Apparently the project has gone over well, according to a third grader who had recently gone through the program “It felt like we were time traveling.”

Putting words into action the Wireless Reach Program has given the opportunity for entrepreneurship in underdeveloped countries with access to a wireless connection in order to empower those individuals with information. The vast array of accessible information will in part; allow farmers to get accurate weather forecasting and modern agricultural practices aimed at efficiency and ecology, opening Internet Café’s and with the Grameen Foundation access to the AppLab (providing resources for women and small business networks), and provide non-traditional educational resources for developmentally challenged individuals.

Since it seems as if our economy was being run by “big” technology, it is reassuring the know that the accumulated powers (or wealth) of companies like Qualcomm are being used for the greater good. The lesson we can all learn from what began as a group of seven San Diego individuals and has become the world’s leading wireless technology provider, is that purpose cannot be achieved without passion, and heading the wise words of St, Francis of Assisi ,“For it is in giving, that we receive.”

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