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Korea Gamification Enabling Technologies and Health Challenges

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This article seeks to explain why South Koreans are one of the least obese nations in Asia whilst the Malaysians have a real obesity and diabetes problem. The article is in the context of an exploration of the potential of Gamification and Enabling Technologies for Healthcare for the Asian Region. The trip to South Korea revealed some very significant differences in urban planning that I believe contribute to Malaysia's problems.

Publicada em: Saúde, Turismo, Negócios
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Korea Gamification Enabling Technologies and Health Challenges

  1. 1. South Korea, Gamification and Enabling Technologies There are occasions in your life where everything seems to fall into place at the same time. My current trip to South Korea is one of those times and I feel compelled to share that experience and my interpretation of its significance in my vision of the potential of Gamification and Enabling Technologies and their impact on business and society. I am very fortunate to have travel opportunities that take me to different parts of the world and different cultures but this trip to South Korea to speak about Gamification, Enabling Technologies and Global Health Challenges has been a revelation, thanks to the organisers of the International Simulation and Serious Games Symposium 2014 and my Korean colleagues Dr Youngsung Lee, Chungwon Cho and Byung-Moon Suh. I travelled to Korea from my temporary base in Kuala Lumpur to be met early morning at Incheon airport by Heesun Yang with whom I had breakfast before she put me on the bus for the 90 minute journey to Cheongju City where Professor Eung Do Kim met me to drive me to the Buddhist temple where I would be sharing my Gamification ideas in an online webinar organised by Dr Lee. Korean Hospitality and a chance to practice chopsticks again After a more than adequate lunch and a re-acquaintance with Korean food we transferred to the temple to be met by Dr Lee and his family, shown my room and given a temple guest uniform to wear.
  2. 2. Temple Guest Uniform with Dr Lee, his family and students Dr Lee had organised the online seminar using the Vidyo application that allows multi-site video conferencing and presentation sharing over the internet and we were joined with 3 other sites in Korea and another Korean colleague, Professor Kane Kim, presenting from the Netherlands. Dr Lee’s objectives were to test the technology in a variety of settings and to incorporate online interpretation so that participants could have real-time translation from Korean to English and vice- versa. The technology worked perfectly and it was good to learn about serious games for health applications in Korea focused on the elderly and disabled population. I shared my own experience of using lifestyle wearable technologies to solve my obesity problem. With Dr Lee, Professor Jeongeun Kim and friendly Monk
  3. 3. The unfamiliar and stereotypically low-tech surroundings of the temple were no barrier to sharing experiences over the internet and Professor Jeongeun Kim’s presentation included project examples that were new to me, such as the use of exercise bikes in a public space where ladies pedalled away to activate a cartoon simulation of a male stripper projected on a large building and a project to support the emotional wellbeing of elderly people through the use of an interactive virtual pet on a smartphone. My Temple stay accommodation After a nice walk to a local restaurant for more practice with the chopsticks and some delicious Korean dishes, we returned to the temple and I settled down for an early night on the floor of my room and woke early to hear the monks performing their rituals at 3:30 and found myself at 5:00 am in a communal shower room shared with another Buddhist monk. My life has a very rich tapestry of experiences. At around 5:40 Dr Lee and his son drove me to his city to catch the KTX train into the centre of Seoul. I was very impressed by Dr Lee’s satellite Navigation system which even showed the exact location of speed bumps to a high degree of precision. On this high speed bullet train, he explained that the objective of all the new city developments around Seoul is to provide transport access that gets you into the centre of Seoul in 30 minutes. We parted company at the main station at Seoul and I found my way to the metro station and, with the help of a friendly local, managed to buy a “T-Ticket” which looks like a USB stick and acts like an Oyster card with additional functionality to allow you to use it to pay taxis and even buy goods from vending machines. The T-Ticket itself costs 5,000 Won (less than £3.00) and most journeys cost less than 1500 Won (under £1.00) and you top up your T-Ticket in the same way you top up your Oyster card.
  4. 4. Since I had about 6 hours before my next scheduled meeting, I took the opportunity to take my case and check in at the MVL hotel near the Kintex Exhibition Centre (equivalent to the NEC in the UK). The Korean Metro system is very easy to navigate with English translations of station announcements and numbered stations. Seoul Commuters on the Metro I checked in to my hotel which was a 15 minute walk from the subway and it was here that I began to form some new impressions about Korea. The Juyeop metro station is almost at the end of Line 3 and a good hour’s journey from Seoul main station. I had stored a local map on my iPad and found myself walking through a park area in the middle of very tall blocks of flats, all of which were numbered. Goyang City flats next to suburban park
  5. 5. The walk to the hotel took me through the park and past a large retail and leisure development that combined restaurants, retail and more than one theme park. I noticed that there were people walking in this park everywhere and, unlike the main roads which were virtually empty, the public park spaces and leisure areas were constantly busy. Park walkers in Goyang City After checking in to the hotel and the welcome luxury of a soft bed, en-suite shower and electric toilet, I made my way back the subway for the journey to City Hall and my appointment with Andrew Dalgleish at the British Embassy. Temple Guards near the British Embassy in Seoul
  6. 6. With Andrew Dalgleish at the Embassy Andrew explained that on his last visit to the UK he was impressed by how many UK companies were interested in working with Korea, especially in areas like the Environment. Ivan Boo with myself, David Crookall, Jungmin Kwon and Shin Hong-Joon.
  7. 7. Back at the hotel we met the driving force behind Serious Games Conferences in Asia, Ivan Boo and local co-organiser Jungmin Kwon and her husband and together with Professor David Crookall we had dinner at a healthfood restaurant in the retail/leisure complex. With Chungwon Cho The following morning it was another early start for a two hour metro journey for a breakfast meeting with my good friend Chungwon Cho whom I first met on a trade mission visit to the National Science Museum where he was Director. After breakfast, Chungwon took me to walk round the local park where, once again, it was noticeable how well used the park was compared to some of the facilities I have seen in other urban settings. We passed many parties of very young schoolkids exploring the park. I talked to Chungwon about my aspirations to establish centres of excellence for Gamification and Enabling Technologies in the Asia region and he was especially interested in the Parkrun concept that has engaged so many people in the UK in meeting up for exercise in their local park every Saturday morning. Chungwon drove me to my next appointment for a keynote presentation on Gamification and Enabling Technologies for health at Dankook University. Here we were hosted by the Director of the Institute of Media Content, Byun-Moon Suh for yet more chopstick practice and delicious food, including an on-table barbecue to cook your own steak.
  8. 8. Dr Byung-Moon Suh and Chungwon Cho The focus of my presentation was the impact of Gamification and Enabling Technologies for Health Applications on the mobile content industry and my fellow presenter David Crookall focused on the importance of Debriefing in Serious Games whilst the third presenter was from India, Prof Srikanta Patnaik, speaking about the games industry and culture in India. His presentation introduced me to some Indian ancient mathematical concepts which can solve complex calculations very quickly. The Kintex Convention Centre Goyang City
  9. 9. The following morning was the start of the Serious Games Conference and the opening ceremony of the “Good Game Show” which is a re-branded version of the Korea Serious Games Festival which I had the privilege of being the very first keynote speaker at their first conference when I was Director of the Serious Games Institute. The re-branding as the “Good Game Show” is most probably in response to some bad publicity from a murder case that was blamed on addiction to computer games. As a consequence, the Koreans are very keen to present games in a positive light and highlight only those game activities that are good for individuals and society. Whon Namkoong – Opening Keynote Presenter on “Future of Good Game Gamification” After the initial welcoming speeches from representatives of the Korean Game Society, the first keynote presentation was from Whon Namkoong, Executive Director of the Gamers Foundation in Korea. He outlined a vision of the future that was the closest match to my thoughts on the future importance of gamification and enabling technologies. One of his examples was exactly the use of lifestyle technology that I employed to gamify my own health by using devices like the Withings Wireless Weigh scale. The subsequent plenary presentations were notable for their focus on the psychology and taxonomy of games rather than on presenting examples of serious games. Gamification was a common theme of many of the presentations with one of the keynote presentations from Dr Scott Nicholson from Syracuse University entitled “Exploring the Endgame of Gamification”. In this presentation Scott discussed his views on how to prolong motivation once a video game has been mastered. He used
  10. 10. examples from Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOG) such as “World of Warcraft” as examples to illustrate his argument. Dr Scott Nicholson of Syracuse University New York My own keynote presentation in the afternoon was on Gamification, Enabling Technologies and Global Health Challenges. A copy of this presentation has been posted on Slideshare at :- http://www.slideshare.net/dwortley/serious-games-gamification-and-enabling-technologies-for- global-health-challenges-korea-serious-games-conference-goyang-city-2014 My argument for this presentation was that technology is shifting society from a hierarchical to a networked structure leaving a “leadership vacuum” and a trend towards what I describe as a “Spectator Society” in which there is a need to develop Gamification skills and build “Win-win” strategic relationship ecosystems through enabling technologies for a sustainable future.
  11. 11. My turn on the soapbox !! That evening there was the conference dinner at the award ceremony for the winners of the “Aqua Republica” challenge for teams from schools throughout Asia. Ivan Boo explained how the competition had grown to 400 entries for 2014 across several Asian countries. The competition is supported by UNEP and helps to teach how to manage Water Resources. It is based on real data from a region in Asia and competitors have to build a community whilst balancing the needs of business and society with water resources. The winners of the competition came from a school in Hong Kong and their prize included $500 and a fully paid trip to the conference. Winners of the UNEP Aqua Republica Challenge
  12. 12. Whilst walking from the conference hall to the restaurant where the dinner was being held, I had a conversation with a PhD Candidate called Kiseul Suh whose work is around Gamification. He asked me about the conflicting challenges of personalised games and universal motivational factors in games design. He wanted my views on how to design games which could be personalised yet appealed to the basic human factors common to all of us. I told him the story of how I had been inspired by the story of Thomas Cook who had been living in Market Harborough in the UK when he first had the inspiration that largely led to the travel industry we know today. Thomas Cook My interest in Thomas Cook came about through my involvement in a Professional/Amateur production at the Haymarket Theatre in Leicester to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the very first package excursion, a train trip from Leicester to Loughborough for a temperance meeting, speeches, entertainment, food and a party. 600 people travelled in open top carriages by train and it was the start of many such tours that led to the expression “Follow the Man from Cooks”. Thomas Cook invented the Travellers Cheque and many other innovations that still exist in package holidays. Since Market Harborough was my nearest town at the time, I had a special interest in learning how his idea for travel for social benefit came from the combination of his passion for the temperance movement and the enabling technology of his day, the railways. He believed that the railway network could enable people to broaden their horizons, improve their lives and reduce their inclination to get drunk. The secret of his success in building the travel empire through the enabling technology of his day was to make travel ATTRACTIVE, ACCESSIBLE and AFFORDABLE.
  13. 13. This very simple formula inspired me to enter a Government funded competition in 1998. It was called the “Multimedia Demonstrator Program” (MMDP) and provided funds to encourage small businesses (SMEs) to adopt multimedia and the internet for competitive advantage. My project was called ComKnet (Community Commerce and Knowledge Network) and the consortium I formed worked together for 2 years to build a community technology project that acted as a hub for knowledge sharing, collaboration and trading. I used the cultural heritage of Thomas Cook to engage the community by drawing the parallel between the growing rail network of the 1840s and the growing internet of the new millennium. Like Thomas Cook I tried to make the Comknet proposition ATTRACTIVE, ACCESSIBLE and AFFORDABLE. Today’s attention economy is very demanding on attracting and retaining customers but the fundamental principles of Thomas Cooks still apply today whatever business you are in because these factors are universally effective in engaging, building and retaining relationships of any kind. The Embedded Fitness Ice Skating Game at the Good Game Show On the final day of the conference, after the presentations were over, we visited the Good Games Show on the ground floor. Apart from the Embedded Fitness stand showcasing video games from the Netherlands there was very little evidence of any international presence the show but what was very noticeable was how popular some of the traditional board games were on some of the stands. Traditional Board Games at the Good Game Show
  14. 14. I mentioned at the beginning of this article that this trip to Korea has been a revelation. In speaking to my good friend Chungwon Cho about my own experiences around Gamification and Enabling Technologies for improving health and tackling obesity, it was clear that although there is a growing worry about obesity in children in Korea, the general population in Korea, along with Japan has the lowest incidence of obesity in Asia. It led me to reflect on the reasons why this might be so. Adult Obesity Statistics showing Korea’s strong position Malaysia’s Obesity problem
  15. 15. My motivation for trying to understand why these two countries perform so differently on obesity and associated health problems such as diabetes 2 is to establish Gamification strategies that are effective for both populations, taking into account their cultural and climatic differences. A lot of the blame for Malaysia’s poor performance is illustrated in the chart and ascribed to factors like diet and the impact of technology on a sedentary lifestyle but Korea has an even more advanced technology infrastructure and general population usage than Malaysia. I am not a nutritional expert so I cannot comment with any authority on the diets but one difference has become very, very clear to me over the last few days. As part of my daily exercise routine which involves walking an average of 20,000+ steps a day, I have spent some time exploring both the Kuala Lumpur Heritage Park in the centre of the city and the Goyang City Park near the conference hotel and, whilst both parks are wonderful places to relax and enjoy nature and seem very similar in the pictures, there are some fundamental differences that to me are critical and explain why the Korean park is vibrant and always busy with people walking whilst the Heritage Park in Kuala Lumpur is invariably empty and absent of people. In Goyang City, the park is intentionally right in the heart of the residential blocks of apartments so that residents can walk straight out of their doors into a very relaxing environment with wide paths, lots of trees, frequent exercise and sitting facilities. In the centre of Kuala Lumpur city, the Heritage Park is not near any residential accommodation and has little public transport access. The Korean facility has been designed to be ATTRACTIVE, ACCESSIBLE and AFFORDABLE whilst in Kuala Lumpur, whilst the park is very attractive, it is relatively inaccessible and, because of this inaccessibility, it becomes less affordable, especially in terms of the time needed to travel to it. I have no doubt in my mind that the Gamification strategies and enabling technologies I use to improve and maintain my health and wellbeing are appropriate for both countries but my instinct tells me that Malaysia has barriers arising from urban layout that Korea does not have and that the integration of leisure facilities and parks into residential areas should also be a priority for Malaysia.