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Issue 14

ICT SPRING EUROPE 2013 (II)

Ovidiu Mățan
Founder @ Today Software Magazine
OTHERS

In this article we continue to give the account of ICT Spring Europe, which I had the pleasure to take part in, together with my colleague Marius Mornea. It was the first TSM delegation abroad and we had the opportunity to connect to the pulse of the European IT world. The future looks good and it wouldn"t surprise me to assist to a redefinition of the old continent"s importance in the development of tomorrow"s applications.

The second day of the event started with the presentation of Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, whose theme was Democracy and Internet. What sticks to our mind is the invitation to an imagination exercise which synthesizes Wikipedia"s philosophy: "Imagine a world where everyone has free access to all the knowledge of humankind". A funny thing told by Wikipedia"s founder refers to China, where names of meal courses containing the word Wikipedia began to appear. Initially, no one knew how they appeared, but it turned out that, when searching certain words on Google, the result often started with Wikipedia. This happened before the Beijing Olympics, when all restaurants translated their menus in English. So, if one searched the name of a mushroom in English, the result of the search would start with: Wikipedia.

An interesting aspect mentioned by the founder of Wikipedia is related to the differences noticed between countries of communities in relation to the type or amount of accessed information. Thus, we generally notice the same kinds of articles and statistics related to the access to them. However, there are differences in their popularity, such as pop culture in Japan or the fact that the Germans are the most curious in relation to geography!!!

Jimmy Walles

Coming back to statistics, Wikipedia has until now 490.000.000 unique visitors and according to their estimations, they will reach 500.000.000 before the end of the year.

Who writes in Wikipedia? 87% are men, since Wikipedia is rather technique. They are trying to improve the interface for editing articles so that it would be much easier to write an article. There are many PhD candidates/ post-graduates among those who write articles. The funds for Wikipedia come from the Wikimedia foundation, the majority of the received amount coming from the wide public.

How does Wikipedia work?

  • Wikipedia is an encyclopedia.
  • NPDV - Wikipedia does not judge decisions.
  • Free licensing - observing copyright. All content has been generated by Wikipedia"s collaborators.
  • IAR - no firm rules. Things are not done just because there is a rule.

Jimmy Wales went on to present a few real cases regarding the usage of internet in countries having a lower living standard. For example in Nigeria, even though it is an African country where internet access was low and the allotted broadband was very small in 2002, this drawback was eliminated and now the top of the most used sites is similar to that from other continents: Google, Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, local papers. This entire process is much faster than a lot of people would have imagined.

If we think about what the world would be like 20 years from now, we notice the high connectivity to the Internet for thousands of millions of people who will not speak English, nor French.

The next subject discussed was the Wikia project. The aim of this project is to help everybody create a personal library. Users can create their own libraries, not necessarily academic ones. Some examples were given, among which the series Lost or Lostpedia, another series which producers used to open a communication channel with their fans. Basically, anyone can create their own wiki. I suggest you access this site, which is not very well known. I found many interesting projects such as Logopedia, an encyclopedia which contains 24.434 company logos.

Trip Hawkins , another speaker who attracted attention, is a leader in the game industry Hall of Fame. Founder of Electronic Arts, he played an important role in defining PC industry at a global level. He is also co-founder of You Can company, which produces educational games and offers assistance for games to IT companies such as Kixeye, NativeX or Extreme Reality 3D. He has spent his entire career as a pioneer of the PC industry, initially next to the founders of Apple, when his company had no more than 25 employees.

Trip Hawkins

The presentation within ICT Spring was called "Digital Disruption du Jour" and it looked into the cannibalization of the PC games market by the social networking and the mobile devices, anticipating its possible evolution. Employing an original terminology, the irreclaimable gamers who play on consoles were called whales and those who play social games: dolphins. According to Trip Hawkins, we witness a transformation of the whales into dolphins. The performance of the games has been replaced by the convenience of running them on tablets or phones. Furthermore, the dexterity necessary to the games came in second when competing with buying some virtual goods. These can be exchanged between the players and their evolution can turn them into real benefits. What do we actually buy? We buy time, as the items received in exchange help us move on faster to the next level.

An interesting point made in this presentation focuses on education. Changes of the manner in which children learn in classroom are anticipated. Tomorrow"s children will be dependent on the mobile devices and the teaching manner will have to change by using games more extensively in classrooms.

Coming back to the disruptive part, an illuminating comparison was made regarding the distribution of the games. If 10 years ago, the manner in which a game could reach its final user, in as many geographic areas as possible, was extremely important, nowadays all these have disappeared, being replaced by virtual shops such as Apple Store. Discovering the games will prevail over distribution and originality will prevail over brand. According to Trip Hawkins" presentation, few people anticipate these aspects. The advantages against the competition can be created in time, by taking into consideration:

  • IP (Intellectual Property) originality,
  • Innovation culture,
  • Using the advantage offered by frameworks such as: NativeX, Unity, Extreme Reality 3D.

An attempt to summarize the entire "Digital Disruption du Jour" presentation can be represented by the following ideas:

  • We are living in an era of convenience.
  • The target must be the dolphins - players of the games integrated in the social media.
  • Today"s applications will run in browsers tomorrow.
  • Very good learning of managing virtual goods.

The next panel was Gamification now: how Games are impacting the global Social and Business landscapes, which had the following guests:

Trip Hawkins - Founder of Electronic Arts - CEO, Digital Chocolate

David Gardner - Co-founder & General Partner, London Venture Partners

Raphael Goumot - Founder, CREAgile (moderator)

Boris Pfeiffer - Managing Director, Kabam Europe

Volker Hirsch - Global Head of Business Development - Games, BlackBerry

Here are the main ideas posted on our Twitter account (@ todaysoftmag) during the panel:

  • Angry Birds has had a bigger success than Mickey Mouse;
  • Japan is the place to learn, since they are pioneers in many domains;
  • Games mean stimulation and we are not vegetables; the improvement of brain activity can be done through games;
  • The concept of gamification is natural and it has always been part of our life;
  • The future of games are those which last for 30 seconds, maybe 1 minute, even in the case of the complex ones;
  • In conclusion, games must be fun, if they are not, they will miss the gamification aspect. Positive characters always win.

Here we put an end to the account of the event. Soon we will also publish a short film made during this. We thank the organizers once again, Celine TARRAUBE and Kamel AMROUNE, for inviting us to the event and giving us the opportunity to distribute the TSM magazine within it.

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