Thursday, October 27, 2011

Do You Understand Gamification?

The big buzz word in the world of marketing in recent months has been ‘Gamification.’ It’s all the rage at conferences spanning several industries; from Game Development (obviously) to HR and even to Education. Of course you can’t leave out gamification’s very own, annual Gamification Summit. Companies around the world want to know all the secrets to this somewhat new niche. They want to know how to apply game tactics to their business model to ultimately increase profit.

The question you have to ask with a concept so new is, does anyone really understand gamification?

At the digital marketing conference ad:tech London 2011 last month, Upstream Group administered a survey to gauge the waters of corporate reception of gamification. Their findings indicated that 78% of marketers believe that consumers are more likely to respond to game-based marketing mechanics, but just 27% have used gamification tactics in their campaigns.

As could be assumed with such a new and radical concept, the survey found that 66% of marketers did not fully comprehend the term gamification. What these marketers don’t realize however, is that the use of game mechanics has been around for many, many years. According to the definition of gamification, it is the use of game design techniques and mechanics to solve problems and engage audiences. Basically put, turning any life task into a game to make it for interesting.
Take AXA Equitable for example, they just unveiled their new game Pass It On! at the 2011 Gamification Summit that does the difficult task of teaching consumers about the boring topic of life insurance. By taking the message and turning it into a fun and engaging game and also offering cash sweepstakes, the game has already been a huge success.

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Look to the Future with Facial Monitoring Technology

Will facial monitoring technology be the new frontier for game design? With the technology from London based, Realeyes, companies can now predict and track what consumers are thinking simply by scanning their facial features. The concepts behind this technology have been utilized extensively by advertising firms in the past; filming and studying study participants in artificial settings. Realeyes hopes that they can be able to collect similar consumer data in a real-world setting in real-time.

Mihkel Jäätma, who founded the company in 2007, says that his system is able to gauge a person’s mood by plotting the position of facial features, such as eyebrows, mouth and nostrils, and employing clever algorithms to interpret changes in their alignment. Eye-movement tracking hints at which display ads were overlooked and which were studied for any period of time. The approach offers precisely the sort of quantitative data brand managers yearn for.

The technology would be an unparalleled asset to the games industry, for both recreational games and serious games.

Realeyes has been working with Kaplan, an educational-services company, on a project in Hungary which is using the system to measure how children respond to virtual games that teach them English. The hope is that by studying the emotional expressions in the children, the type of tasks and the characters that appear in them can be made more engaging.

The technology would make computer games more engaging, too. The technology would make computer games more engaging, too. At Sony, they believe that reading players’ emotions with webcams would let software pick up on their subconscious behavior and change the game in ways that would enhance the experience.

Read More

Friday, October 21, 2011

Apps Become Medical Tools

The next time you visit the doctor for an MRI or X-Ray, don’t be surprised if the doctor doesn’t place your scans on the big backlight display to counsel you with. Instead they just might in take out their smartphone or their tablet to pull up your scan results.

Recently, the F.D.A. has cleared a handful of medical apps for diagnostic use. Among them is Mobile MIM, which allows physicians to examine scans and to make diagnoses based on MRIs, computed tomography and other technologies if they are away from their workstations. The app comes in two versions: Mobile MIM, for physicians, and VueMe, for patients; both of which are free.

Dr. Patrick J. Gagnon, a radiation oncologist, says the app will also be useful in providing physicians at other hospitals rapid access to the images for immediate decisions. These apps make it more convenient for patients who wish to seek secondary diagnoses and treatment options.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Latest Game Theory: Mixing Work and Play

The Wall Street Journal apparently sent a reporter to the Gamification Summit a couple weeks back, because the paper of record surfaced an article about how "companies are trying to bring more play to the workday.” That reads like the agenda for the conference.

Gamification is the process of using game thinking to solve problems and engage audiences. Much like the phrase “social media” in the recent past, the word “gamification” is being lobbed around in marketing circles as the next frontier in web and mobile. Just as nearly every application, website, brand and marketer now employs social media in some capacity, so too will game mechanics be used in the years ahead.

Striving to make everyday business tasks more engaging, a growing number of firms are incorporating elements of videogames into the workplace. This "gamification" of the workplace, or "enterprise gamification" in tech-industry parlance, is a fast-growing business. Companies have used digital games for a number of years to help market products to consumers and build brand loyalty. What's emerging is using games to motivate their own employees.

AXA Equitable was a hit at the Gamification Summit, for using competitive game play in an avatar-based world to engage consumers and make life insurance relevant and fun. Consumers find the Pass It On! video game on the web or on their iPhone, chose an avatar and create a virtual family, and decide their financial future by saving gold, managing expenses and making decisions about life insurance. Please follow this link to play the game and check out the New York Times coverage. (as a consumer-facing example of gamification was not in the WSJ)
Tech-industry research firm Gartner estimates that by 2014, some 70% of large companies will use the techniques for at least one business process. Market researcher M2 Research estimates revenue from gamification software, consulting and marketing will reach $938 million by 2014 from less than $100 million this year.

So far, the tactic has proved effective. A study last year by University of Colorado Denver Business School found that employees trained on video games learned more factual information, attained a higher skill level and retained information longer than workers who learned in less interactive environments.

Read more at the WSJ