IBM Trains Workers with New “Serious Game”

Posted by at 2:01 pm on May 6, 2010

IBM has announced CityOne, a new “serious game” that can help customers, business partners and students discover how to make cities and their industries smarter by solving real-world business, environmental and logistical problems. Based on decades of experience in solving business challenges in creative ways, IBM “serious” games are designed to train the workforce of tomorrow. Details on the latest serious game from IBM will be unveiled on May 4, during the IMPACT 2010 conference in Las Vegas.

CityOne will be a no charge, “sim-style” game in which the player is tasked with guiding the city through a series of missions that include the Energy, Water, Banking and Retail industries. For example, one mission involves a city where water usage has increased at twice the rate of population growth, supplies are becoming strained (and possibly polluted); the municipality is losing as much as 40 percent of its water supply through leaky infrastructure; and energy costs are steadily increasing. To complete this mission, the player would be challenged to institute a Water Management System that would include accurate real time data to make decisions on delivering the highest water quality in the most economical way.

Players who promote a more customer-centric business model to the banks represented in their city will discover how mobile payments, dynamic invoicing, and micro-lending can impact business goals. In all of the missions represented in the game, the player will need to determine the best way to invest to meet the financial, environmental and sociological goals of the city’s industries while balancing their budgets and the needs of the citizenry.

Historically, simulation gaming has been used extensively in the military, by athletes and by scientists to discover effective new strategies and techniques and develop the skills needed to implement them. These simulations have migrated into the entertainment space and spawned a new generation of what are known as massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs). In these online games, players from all over the globe log into realistic and real-time virtual worlds via the Internet; they learn different roles and skill sets, and come together in self-selecting teams to collaborate and carry out missions in pursuit of common goals. Businesses have realized the value of this and are deploying their own games to create life-like simulations of real markets, customers and business situations that they deal with every day.

IBM is not new to the serious games space. Over the years, IBM has released a number of games such as INNOV8, RoboCode and PowerUp that are used by schools, businesses, museums and conferences. Additionally, IBM has conducted an extensive study of massive multiplayer online role playing games (MMORPGs), and the results have underscored how a rotating leadership model is likely to affect an enterprise. Based on these results, last year IBM announced the second in the INNOV8 series of games that teach the fundamentals of Business Process Management (BPM) using a 3D environment. The INNOV8 series is now being used by more than 1000 universities worldwide and is offered for free to schools via IBM’s Academic Initiative.

IBM will be unveiling the CityOne Demo in the Agility@Work Zone during the IMPACT Conference. A special session titled ‘Using Games to develop strategies and skills to thrive in a real-time world’ is part of IBM’s Executive Education Track at the upcoming IMPACT conference. Michael Hugos of the Center for Systems Innovation and Phaedra Boinodiris, IBM’s Serious Games Program manager will be presenting how businesses can profit from simulation gaming.

For more information on IBM serious games and details on how IBM is helping clients and Business Partners to make smarter, faster decisions, please visit: http://www.ibm.com/cityone.

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