Patrice, could you present us Digital Europe to us?
Director of Digital Economy and Trade Groups, DIGITALEUROPE
DIGITALEUROPE is the voice of the digital industry in Europe. Its membership combines about 60 corporations at the leading edge of global competition in IT, consumer electronics and network equipment, and 36 national trade associations which provide us with a unique gateway to thousands of SMEs across Europe.
On top of its regular advocacy on a variety of topics (see reference ), DIGITALEUROPE has been running the successful ‘e-Skills Week’ programmesprogramme in 2010 and 2012.
More recently, the European Commission has entrusted us with organizing the ‘e-Skills for Digital Jobs’ campaign of 2014 on top of managing the secretariat of the ‘Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs’, a considerably more ambitious project that bears the hallmark of Vice President Kroes’ vision of a whole generation of Europeans possibly lost if radical steps are not taken immediately to address the shocking paradox of more than 50% of 16-24 year olds being out of a job in several Member States while the e-skills shortage is stuck in the vicinity of 700,000 EU-wide . It took the whole Barroso II Commission only a few months to make the Grand Coalition one of its top priorities. I refer to these initiatives since they afforded us more than one opportunity to engage with the team behind PWI and to work together on the many ICT-related issues that are dear to your hearts and to ours.
Speaking of the European Commission, a few words may be in order as regards the new college shaped by President Jean-Claude Juncker. Gamification resulting mainly, as we will see, from a cross-fertilization between a business born digital and other industries, it is not immaterial to see copyright – the single most important driver of open culture and education - put under the wing of the digital agenda: assuming that Member States will agree to sing together from this innovative song sheet, Europe’s Arts, Culture and Entertainment (ACE) will eventually operate in a seamless Digital Single Market, thus eventually affording Europe the chance to play the ACE card it has been hiding up its sleeve for too long. With luck, European content will keep holding the world spellbound, for once to the direct benefit of European creators. One additional reason for hope in this respect is a recent decision by the French government – a stalwart of the resistance to unfettered digital culture – to entrust a former minister for the digital economy with the C ulture portfolio. Can we think of more cogent evidence that the digital revolution is marching on to Paris?
Let’s hope so! Another French revolution! Patrice, you just talk about gamification, it is an emerging trend that could be used by many different industries. Can you tell us in In a few words, what people mean by 'gamification'?
The essence of gamification boils down to borrowing a few leaves out of the videogame success story. It focuses on game technology and the specifics of a typical gameplay. Indeed, while the producers of interactive software - the code name for videogames – keep growing their share of the world’s entertainment markets and of the broader ‘digital lifestyle’, the influence wielded by their products and services pervades regular business as well. This is best illustrated in education, training and health (see details below).
There is much more to it though than sheer technology, however sophisticated. Games reflect the imagination of artists whose creativity matches that of professional authors, composers, movie directors, etc. Games are replete with total immersion, instant feedback, peer learning, opportunities to compete or to coalesce with fellow gamers, --- all features that happen to nurture innovation, problem-solving, teamwork, hence to provide the most valuable building blocks on which to run a business.
However, gamification reaches out well beyond business, to the delight of lobbyists thus afforded countless examples to quote on making a case for the many benefits the digital economy holds for all . Actually key to the ever increasing appeal of the internet is the way interactive software, combined with other cutting-edge technologies, enables users to act as both producers and consumers of data.
Can you describe some sectors of industry where gamification is already used and how?
The Health sector is undergoing a radical transformation as a result of growing gamification. Take the example of the consortium that won France’s call for ‘serious games’ projects back in 2009. MoJOS (Moteur de Jeu Orienté Santé) was a clear winner. It is now a fully developed product that has assisted the rehabilitation of hundreds of stroke patients, see reference . Indeed self-motivation guided by professionals works wonders at customizing a gliding path to recovery. It spares the time and trouble to call at practitioners’ offices. The developers of this leading-edge tool would occasionally wish for the time when it is prescribed like regular medicines, seemingly oblivious to the fact that this would expose a regulatory dilemma between light-touch regulation applied to digital products and services and the strict constraints under which the pharmaceutical industry operates.
Going back to the above hints at how games’ bounty materializes, and helps map out the many areas currently or potentially concerned by gamification. Its magic originates in a carefully structured transfer of the main features that make videogames so attractive to an increasing number of people:
- Total immersion, a way for teachers to recapture students’ long gone attention
- Instant feedback, most effective in patients’ rehabilitation
- Risk -free experimenting, much appreciated in training to exposed occupations such as flying planes, fire-fighting, mine-sweeping, etc, all areas where digital simulation is praised as a true game-changer
- Telling friends from foes: forming a league online tests abilities to make the most of a team in the real world; defeating virtual enemies hones self-defense skills in real life.
Even investment traders
cannot do without gamification, probably because they share with gamers a common impatience with latency (see reference )
But the sector that best exemplifies the benefits of gamification is education. The process has been underway for decades, whether with book publishers, at school or at home. Today’s young students gather more information on Wikipedia, on social networks or while playing games than in the classroom. The role of playing in acquiring knowledge and skills - or learning by doing - was originally explained by Piaget and Johan Huizinga, who coined the term Homo Ludens.
Nowadays Sir Ken Robinson is a brilliant evangelist of this cause on the conference circuit: he would call it the dawn of learning in the information age and relish the end of education shaped around the needs of the industrial revolution. Sadly, the introduction of games in the classroom – a kind of ‘gamification in education 101’ – remains confined to a limited number of experiments, however successful: see .
From our discussion I understand that you have plans in the near future to walk your readers through one of the best examples of gamification in education: Inanimate Alice (www.inanimatealice.com) indeed shows how a great deal of the production churned out by school book publishers is morphing towards transmedia as demonstrated on 8 October at the Frankfurt Book Fair.
The gaming industry has extended its reach outside their traditional sector, how do you see the game industry evolving?
Yes, there is a wealth of other industries transformed - or poised to be transformed – by gamification. Take book publishing: not only are children’s and school books morphing into ‘transmedia’ by virtue of the above-described revolution in learning but the other three main streams of that business are informed by the increasing merits readers see in a gaming-style experience (see Technology and Innovation for Smart Publishing–TISP ).
Accordingly, the gaming sector is not content with transforming adjacent industries; it is reinventing itself all the time. As a testimony to this continuing revolution, you can spot the rise – and fall at times, as borders are blurring constantly – of a fully-fledged taxonomy that includes serious games, casual games, mobile games, etc. Never a dull moment in that industry!
In light of my above considerations, a sizeable part of ICT-transformed businesses owe their new ‘face’ to gamification, arguably. The same holds true for productivity enhancement.
In conclusion, the gamification of business is definitely gathering steam . Although France’s Colin & Collin report on the taxation of the digital economy is not aimed to address this particular development, some of their findings are worth quoting regardless:
Patrice Chazerand is Director in charge of Digital Economy and Trade Groups at DIGITALEUROPE.
Prior to joining DIGITALEUROPE, Patrice Chazerand was the Secretary-General of the Interactive Software Federation of Europe (ISFE), the trade body of PC and videogames publishers operating in Europe between 2002 and 2009. In this capacity he has established PEGI, the only pan-European system of harmonised rating of digital content dealing with various topics such as internet content, protection of minors, privacy, freedom of expression and intellectual property; competition law as applied to interactive and user-generated content; Net neutrality, etc.
In 1999, Patrice Chazerand set up the Brussels office of Viacom which he ran as Vice President, European Affairs until 2002. During this tenure with Viacom he dealt with audiovisual content creation and distribution on all platforms, anti-piracy, EU audiovisual issues.
From 1989 to 1995, Patrice Chazerand was Director, Public Affairs, at AT&T France, and subsequently Managing Director from 1995 to 1999. He has extensive knowledge of telecom services and networks: regulation, interconnection, universal service, broadband deployment, next gen networks, etc.
Patrice Chazerand spent the first fifteen years of his career with the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, seven of which were at the Embassy of France in Washington.
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Any views and opinions presented in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of DIGITALEUROPE, nor do they constitute a legally binding agreement.