Thursday, January 10, 2008

KOM's eGames Conference 2008

Knowledge Oasis Muscat (KOM) will host its annual eGames Conference 31 March - 1 April 2008 in Muscat Hall on KOM. The current agenda - and there will be further additions over the next few days -currently looks like this:

Day 1

9:00am – 9:45am Opening Speech
The Future of the Digital Environment

Professor Lizbeth Goodman, SMARTlab, Digital Media Centre, University of East London

Session 1: 9:45am – 10:45am
Gaming & Entrepreneurs: A Case Study
Kevin Corti, PIXELearning

PIXELearning’s Business Game was developed specifically as a teaching aid for UK schools that, from 2005, were required to deliver 5 days of enterprise education to 15 and 16 year olds every year. The majority of teachers who had to deliver this part of the school curriculum had no business experience and were struggling to meet the demands placed upon them.

The Enterprise Game is aimed primarily at the business support/start-up/enterprise agency community and designed to foster the development of general business awareness amongst owner managers and staff. Many small companies are established by people with specific industry skills but who often lack broad business acumen.

The Enterprise Game is based on the same underlying simulation code as The Business Game but has been tweaked to be more challenging for adult learners and includes more detail in, for example, finance and marketing. How can Oman’s schools and colleges benefit from serious gaming technology. How do we take serious games to prepare young Omanis for the business world. Indeed, can serious games help foster a new generation of Omani entrepreneurs?

Networking Break: 10:45am – 11:00am

Session 2: 11:00am – 12:30pm
Gaming for Culture

Mike Gogan, Blitz Games
Professor Lizbeth Goodman, SMARTlab, Digital Media Centre, University of East London

Mike Gogan is one of the world’s leading creators of virtual reality and 3D multimedia content in the Cultural Heritage sector. He has delivered inspiring virtual reality and multimedia interactive products to some of the most iconic heritage sites in the UK and beyond. Indeed, he and his team at Blitz Games are leading the way in exploring the application of serious games technology in the heritage and culture space.

Professor Lizbeth Goodman will focus on the cultural and heritage research projects that are currently being carried out at SMARTlab and their applications to promoting heritage and culture, tourism and creating locally generated web content. What added value can serious games offer Oman’s dynamic set of tangible and intangible cultural assets?

Session 3: 12:30pm – 1:30pm
Promoting Leisure & Tourism through Second Life

David Wortley, Serious Games Institute, Coventry University

Tourism Ireland has launched a marketing campaign in Second Life; the first time a real world tourist board has used the Internet-based virtual world to market a real holiday destination. Since its establishment in 2003, Second Life has grown significantly and now has nearly 11 million registered users or "residents", 1.6 million of whom use it regularly.

Dublin in Second Life is a well established destination for live music and DJs – in fact, it occasionally makes the top 10 list of the most popular places to visit in the virtual world. Tourism Ireland's decision was influenced by the fact that 60% of Second Life's users are from Ireland's four biggest tourist markets - Great Britain, the US, Germany and France, and half those are more than 30 - a key demographic for tourism to Ireland.

Experts predict that the web will be three-dimensional in a decade's time and virtual worlds such as Second Life give us some idea of what the web may look like in the future. Second Life is one of the biggest virtual worlds in existence and many major brands, including Coca-Cola, Vodafone, IBM, Toyota, Sony and Adidas already have a presence there. Within the tourism industry, Starwood Hotels have used Second Life to pilot the design of a new series of hotels and Thomas Cook offers customers virtual package tours. What can Second Life offer Oman and its rapidly expanding tourism sector? Should we be spending a larger slice of the country’s marketing budget online?

Lunch: 1:30pm – 2:30pm

Session 4: 2:30pm - 4:00pm
Serious Gaming, Mobiles & the Consumer
Moderator: David Wortley, Serious Games Institute, Coventry University
Panel: TBA, Gartner; TBA, Nawras; Dr. Andreas Liffgarden, Ericsson & Karim Rahemtulla, Infocomm

Consumers are increasingly using technology to customize the shopping process to their specific needs. In this regard, retailers must understand how consumers are interacting with their brands as this will have a substantial impact on how retail operations will evolve in the future. It is estimated that by 2010, 20 per cent of global Tier 1 retailers will have a marketing presence in online games and virtual worlds.

Virtual worlds are expanding rapidly. To date, Second Life has nearly 11 million registered ‘residents’ who spend in excess of US$1million every 24 hours buying property, items or experiences in-world. Similarly, research suggests that the popularity of online gaming will continue to expand. Indeed, virtual worlds are emerging as places where consumers can shop and retailers need to be ready to respond to this growing demand.

On the mobile front, it is estimated that by 2012, the number of consumers using mobile phones to shop will increase at an average of more than 25 per cent per year. Mobile commerce has been viewed as an emerging new sales channel for retailers for some time now but retail revenue through mobile phones is currently very low, much less than 1 per cent of total sales. However, as mobile phones evolve in form and function, the impact of the mobile phone on retail sales is set to increase.

Through 2010, consumers will use the phone as part of their shopping activities to search, browse, find locations and check stock. Eventually, consumers will use mobile phones to purchase merchandise. So what role will serious games and mobiles play in the marketing and retailing space?

eGames Dinner : 8:00pm - Muscat Inter-Continental Hotel

Day 2

10:00am – 2:30pm: Workshop

Led by David Wortley, Serious Games Institute, Coventry University (Further details on the Workshop to be posted in the next few days)

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