Thursday, April 24th, 2014

More Games in the Workplace – IGIC

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 November 2, 2011, International Games Innovation Conference, Orange, CA--Robert Mical from Sony looked at the concepts from the entertainment industry and how they are moving into the workplace. The basic concepts are migrating into all areas because a game structure is easier to understand and use than traditional interfaces.

Games have the general characteristics of being fun, entertaining, and interesting through intelligent use of graphics and audio. The game designs give immediate feedback to the user and provide immersive experiences. Now, games are moving into the workplace, although many of the first computer-based games originated in companies to help check out systems performance. In fact, one of the first games was a tennis simulator that included gravity effects and displayed on an oscilloscope.

People enjoy entertainment and now this means games. Social networks are a source of entertainment and other versions of games are in Flash or on browsers. Some of the early users played games at work and that became the driver for home computers. The entertainment moved from work to the home and now goes anywhere you are on mobile platforms.

Games are taking off due to higher demand, but the players are restricted by network speeds. Why do people like entertainment? The demands lead to new devices, and the experience provides distraction, amusement, and a feeling of pleasure. The features of games, chaos and grooming, help to develop communities with the ability to hook up with others. Connections are enhanced by computers.

Everquest was the first big community. It offered games and connections, and was the first game to appeal to women. The game helped to build fellowship. This shows the directions for future community games, an ability to connect with others. It also shows how to make it easy, or not, to share and make connections.

An example of a game interface for work is from Shell Oil. Their development unit wanted to increase employee understanding of the company and the unique features of the enterprise. They wanted to have something engaging and that helped to build a community. Oil companies spend a lot of money in development, and try to expedite local processes by supporting local schools and health facilities.

The company had insight to improve employees and profits. Their existing tools for project development were spreadsheets and graph paper to track the variables of a hole. The attempt is to explore capacity while minimizing total drill depth and cost which is a function of drilling complexity and depth. They changed the interface from a string of numbers to a graphical display of an area where you drag and drop pipe sections and a score card shows estimated costs. This change in interface made the analysis more interesting.

The new estimation program is easier to interact with and shows how making a boring and tedious task into something amusing can be a framework for other business applications. The new system is based on a Linux OS ported into a PS3 as an alternate boot. Security and encryption are built in, but the tool also has to deal with a lot of copying as other workers input their data and analyses.

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