*FEATURE: Personal Health Crucible Inspires Technology for Hospitals. ZOTT Now Seeks Funds to Expand…
Darkness. Despair. Isolation. Uncertainty. Unfathomable boredom. These are the feelings Taylor Carol grappled while battling a rare form of leukemia as a child.
He was diagnosed with terminal cancer shortly after turning 11 years old and given two weeks to live. But his spirit and will to live could not be vanquished.
He ended up spending five years in the hospital, six months of which were spent in an isolation unit, due to the treatment ravaging his immune system so severely that he couldn’t risk being exposed to any germs or bacteria. He turned to video games as a lifeline to beat the boredom and raise his spirits. And, he eventually prevailed over the cancer.
Through his love of video games, he knew firsthand the critical role entertainment — and social interaction — plays in the recovery process. He wanted to give other patients who were struggling the same resources he had to alleviate boredom, raise their spirits and provide a sense of camaraderie.
And what better way for patients to connect with one another than through games?
At age 12, while still fighting cancer, with the help of his dad, Jim he founded GameChanger Charity — to ease the suffering of children facing terminal illnesses.
What began as an ambitious endeavor inside the Carol family garage soon developed into multiple warehouses overflowing with video games, toys, and electronics. With the help of corporatins like Microsoft and Amazon, GameChanger Charity has been able to donate millions of dollars worth of engaging technology to hospitals around the world.
This year, GameChanger has brought in $27 million and 97 cents of every dollar goes directly to hospitals.
While delivering the technology, Carol and his team personally visited more than 20,000 hospital rooms. This gave them a chance to interact with patients and, in doing so, they witnesed “systemic failures in technology and patient engagement,” he said.
The failure he saw was in “the democratization of content.” Some patients had access to laptops, tutors, and textbooks, while other patients were relegated to eight to 12 hours of basic cable TV each day.
There wasn’t a centralized source of content that was accessible to everyone and there wasn’t a sense of community in the hospital environment.
He wanted the engagement to be more stimulating and personalized. So, in 2017 he created ZOTT, a for-profit subsidiary of GameChanger Charity, with HQ in Dana Point. It launched commercially in September.
ZOTT is an entertainment, learning and social experience platform – accessible on any device, anywhere in the hospital.
ZOTT has received $4 million from investors to date. It’s now seeking $15 million to grow its team, expand into more hospitals and increase its offerings.
And its current offerings are plentiful, including live TV, movies, livestreams, music, games, educational content and clinical information.
It was designed to be the ultimate diversion from the discomfort, anxiety, and boredom of a hospital stay.
It also gives hospitals more control — in terms of being able to prevent inappropriate content from being consumed inside their environment. To that end, ZOTT gives hospitals their own Twitch channels to broadcast their own exclusive content.
And, it provides patient scholarships for those well enough to go back to school.
In July, ZOTT partnered with AT&T to enable hospital patients and their families to access DIRECTV for Business through ZOTT’s platform.
A partnership with Jumo Health enables ZOTT to distribute comics, audiobooks, podcasts and videos produced for children and their families with info on health resources to make the idea of illness and treatment relatable and less scary.
ZOTT charges a monthly subscription fee.
ZOTT recently launched in UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital.
And, it added a new content creator, Shticky, who provides interactive art lessons to hospital patients via livestream.
Throughout the trajectories of GameChanger and ZOTT, Carol has remained zealous in his passion to feed the spirit of children in the hospital and remind them they are never alone. The technology ZOTT delivers is a vessel for the intangible element of hope.