Gamification: Improving the Workplace by Having Fun

The workplace is an ever-changing environment. It is constantly evolving based on new technology, new findings, and new ethical pathways. One way the workplace continues evolving is with the new use of gamification. And, no I don’t mean the use of gamma rays inside an office. We are talking about games. Yes, you heard it correctly–normal video games that all teenagers play are being used to enhance the workplace!

Let’s first delve into what gamification is. Gamification is the use of game elements inside non-game settings or platforms. For example, playing games at work. Gamification involves gaming with a different purpose than recreation, somewhere where a game is not typically played. This can mean either to use more traditional games, like scavenger hunts, or use new technology like VR. The nature of playing games in your office may seem unrealistic, but companies have already started doing it. Google has implemented a travel expense game which focuses on the employees who travel a lot. The game helps them keep track of their travel expenses every time they travel, while also having fun. A new study by four BYU information systems professors found newly-formed work teams experienced a 20 percent increase in productivity on subsequent tasks after playing video games together for just 45 minutes. These 45 minutes could be the time offices implement as their gamification time. Another place where gamification is really making a difference is in school education. Gamification in schools and offices have almost the same objective, except in schools, the games are targeted at a younger audience.

Incorporating games into offices is not an easy task. A lot of issues arise, like what if people get too competitive or what if they get distracted? There have to be games which create a balance of recreation and education. The purpose of these games is to basically educate the workers. According to an article by author Dave Nevogt,

One of the biggest problems with gamification is that it incentivizes winning over other objectives… Working in a corporate environment has traditionally been a relationship of exchanging time and effort for money — and this naturally leads to a lack of motivation in the long term, especially for millennials who want to be engaged in meaningful work.

These issues have to be prioritized if gamification in the workplace can be a realistic market.

NASA Goddard Engineer Tom Grubb uses VR/AR

As you probably already know, new consoles and games are always coming out, like the Xbox and PlayStation. However, there is a much deeper future than just the normal consoles. That future is the world of VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality). VR is already making a strong push into the gaming industry, especially with new headsets like Sony’s and Oculus’. VR is groundbreaking, but AR is where things get especially exciting. AR is a different type of interactive experience than VR. AR takes computerized graphics and places them in the real environment. One of the first games we saw including AR was Pokemon GO, which displayed an image of different Pokemon fighting in the environment through your device. Another example of AR we don’t notice everyday is in football. All the yellow lines and scoreboards on the field are all possible with AR. Now, you may be wondering what all of this has to do with an office. But, these new tech games are the ones that are going to be used in the workplace. New technologies have a tendency of providing people with fun through novelty, especially young adults just getting started in their adult lives. More excitement in a game makes for a more fun experience, which makes for a more productive game and person. The ultimate goal is to help employees work harder by having fun.

As you can see, games can be used for other purposes than just for teenagers playing around. Games give a sense of entertainment and recreation, which helps a person become more engaged. This concept, which has been used for generations, is now just being used with more technology. If gamification in the workplace can be implemented in all offices, every employee can work and have fun!

Oculus Rift and Omni Treadmill, Gaming of the Future!

Friends, Wondergressivers, Gamers. The future looks very bright for us all! 720p virtual reality bright. Oculus Rift and Omni Treadmill are paving the way for exciting future developments in games and virtual reality.

Both Oculus Rift and Omni Treadmill started on Kickstarter where the projects were eagerly accepted! The gaming community said YES and the projects exceeded the funding that the companies expected, allowing for the projects to fly into full development. I am getting ahead of myself though, let us explore each individual item before we begin to experience both together!

Related Article: 3D? Let’s Go One More! 4D!

Before we can begin to walk, let us open up our eyes and experience the world around us. Oculus Rift consists of virtual reality goggles that will bring high definition sight to your gamer eyes! Yes,they will open the door to that which we have dreamed of since we first played pong. It is finally coming, the gaming era we have all been waiting for. Although it is still in its beta (testing) stages, and mostly useful to developers, the Oculus Rift can be expected to fully open up the role playing world of Skyrim, enhance your first person shooter sensations when playing Call of Duty, and immerse you in your strategy as you micro manage your troops in Starcraft. Units misbehaving? Get up close and in their face as you dictate new commands. Characters need resurrecting? Finally a way to spot the corpse without trying to click on the pixel stuck between the mountain of characters destroyed in a raid. You know it well WoW players.

While still in development stages, it comes compatible with only a few games and is specifically dedicated to a computer. The price tag is set at $300 which isn’t too steep, but since it is still in developmental stages it may drop or rise depending on demand and how much more it is augmented.

Related Article: Substitutional Reality Helmet

Now that we are used to the light and we understand the world, let us begin crawling. Or rather, let’s skip the crawling and begin walking in virtual reality! Omni Treadmill helps take the virtual reality experience one step further by giving gamers the ability to not only percieve the virtual world, but also the ability to roam in it!

Let us suppose that you are playing a competitive first person shooter. Wouldn’t that shooter become more intense and more fun if you were able to walk and run in the game by the use of your feet rather than by the use of a gamepad? Of course it would! We gamers thrive off of the competitive edge, the rush of the kill streak, the rhythmic pulse of our heartbeats syncing up with the beat of the rat-tat-tat of our semi automatic as we spray and pray our bullets onto incoming bogies. A treadmill to release the intense rush and to fuel the competitive strategic play. Oh what fun!

What’s more, the developers behind this are very gaming community minded! I simply love developers like this. Their goals are to make the gaming world better, to create a new idea that will explode into a million other new ideas. Reference Omni’s motto:

The Omni is the first omni treadmill that is focused on the household consumer and achieves three objectives: being affordable to household consumers, fitting in a living room, and above all, enabling the user to walk freely and naturally, as he or she would in real life.

For $500 you can purchase the Omni Treadmill, packaged with the shoes, the belt, and hardware/software needed, all of which is set to be released March 2014.

For more on Omni, check out the video below! I am sure that this will one day be standing in my living room. I am willing to accumulate much debt for something like this!

 

Related Article: Augmented Reality Blows My Mind – Twice

What endless possibilities, what endless worlds to explore, what endless things to experience. And why not, there is a lot of good that can come from these developments as well! Terminal cancer patients can travel the world in their household, people in wheelchairs can walk again even if only virtually, and most importantly, those disabled may now have a chance to experience the world as others do! Apart from all the different benefits, it still is amazing and super exciting the direction the gaming world is heading in!

Cheers to the future!

Research:
Oculus Rift

Omni Treadmill

Kickstarter

Skyrim

Starcraft 2

Call of Duty

World of Warcraft

Wondergressive: Substitutional Reality Helmet

Wondergressive: 3D? Let’s Go One More! 4D!

Wondergressive: Augmented Reality Blows My Mind – Twice

StickNFind: Never Lose Anything Again

I lose everything.  Keys, wallet, even a tent once.  How many times have people said “I wish there was some easy way I could locate all the things I lose!”  Many products have been released, but they’ve always been loud, bulky, or downright useless.  Yearn for a more organized future no more my forgetful friends.  The future is here, and it is tiny, optionally silent, and works on bluetooth technology.

The answer to no more lost possessions is StickNFind, an inexpensive solution for tagging and locating electronics, keys, pets, and anything else you frequently lose track of (tents, in my case). A single small, adhesive, bluetooth enabled disk costs $25 and can be attached to any flat surface or key chain.  The device runs on a small, replaceable, CR2016 watch battery that is guaranteed to last at least a year.

The device also contains a free phone app that you can use to find your lost treasures through a radar-like interface.  As of now, the 100-foot range radar only displays distance, but an update, which is planned to come out before StickNFind is released, will add direction, allowing you to play a fun game of hot and cold while you search for your lost kitten.

The app includes other useful features as well, including alerts that tell you when the StickNFind is out of range.  You can also set the device to beep if you leave it behind, meaning that you’ll never forget your precious smart phone at home again.

Developers will be able to create their own apps for the StickNFind as well, allowing them to modify the technology to fit their needs.  StickNFind is currently available for pre-order and will be available for retail purchase in March.

As long as I can program the StickNFind’s alert to sound like a distressed R2D2, I’m in.

 

Sources:

http://www.sticknfind.com/

http://www.engadget.com/2013/01/02/sticknfind-bluetooth-stickers-hands-on/