What is it?

According to Wikipedia, “Gamification is the use of game thinking and game mechanics to engage users in solving problems. Gamification is used in applications and processes to improve user engagement, return on investment, data quality, timeliness, and learning.”

How does gamification work?

The concept of gamification goes back to the first level of Nintendo’s Super Mario Brothers, which motivated users to play the game and move from one level to another, earning points on their way. Gamification challenges people, provides a medium to express their creativity thereby bringing in elements of motivation, retention, loyalty and above all, a sense of achievement!

“Challenge + achievement = Pleasure”

…is a simple formula behind the huge success of gaming in general. No other medium is able to deliver the same results, at such frequency, leading to addictive behavior. It makes people want to do it again and again, over and over!

Now imagine if this were to be used at the workplace…or as a medium to improve your business!!

It is no wonder then that Gartner estimates by 2015, more than 50 percent of organizations that manage innovation processes will gamify those processes. By 2014, Gartner predicts that over 70 percent of Global 2000 organizations will have at least one "gamified" application, and that "gamification is positioned to become a significant trend in the next five years." M2 Research reports that gamification will be a $2.8B industry by 2016. (Source: gamification.org)

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As Steve Jobs said, “You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology.” It is important to think what the user thinks about an application, after he or she is done using it. The goal is to know if using the app made the user think there is more that is possible with it. That’s when the user would come back and reuse the application. Mapping out the user experience is the first key component behind any successful mobile application. Here at Torry Harris, we create designs that are not only simplistic and intuitive from a front-end perspective, but also solve specific business challenges through integration with the back-end components. 

Creating a good user interface always involves identifying the target users and making sure the application addresses their needs keeping in mind the user’s skill level. Just a lot of options will not make the application a lot better, but ease of use and simplicity and simple problem solving capability will make the app more likeable. Let’s see how Torry Harris once provided a simple intuitive solution to a problem that had been lingering for quite some time.

Sometime back we chanced upon a problem with sliders available in mobile apps, creating confusion for the user in choosing between options like a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ and ‘On’ or ‘Off’. The solutions available in the community at that time didn’t scale well when users were presented with multiple options. You can see in the below example, that, it is hard for a novice smartphone user to decide on which of the states of the switch is ‘On’ or ‘Off’. Chris Nortstrom speaks about this in greater detail in one of his blogs’ - Invention: Multiple-Choice “Windowed Slider” UI.

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Organizations with operations and subsidiaries spread across multiple geographies are continuously dealing with individual silos of IT assets. There is duplication & non-standardization across hardware, network equipment, custom enterprise applications, services, middleware, and other IT assets which in-turn increases operations and maintenance cost and reduces the speed with which you can take new initiatives to market. Also, most of these assets remain under-utilized and some gradually become redundant, but are retained, adding to the overhead costs.

 

 

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Cloud computing arose out of an operational dissatisfaction with large inflexible server infrastructure that needed to be maintained meticulously, even when such maintenance was not a core competency. It was of course fortuitous that the technology matured at the right time, but that's the case with most successful technologies.

Amazon with its AWS suite and Rack Space were the early entrants into the market, with Google, Microsoft and GoGrid joining the party two years later. AWS is the undisputed leader in the public cloud space, but other players are successfully carving out their own niches.

If you're in the market for new cloud offerings, the services need to be evaluated on platforms supported, languages, integrated DB support, pricing policy, support response time, maximum limits, Support for human-only tasks, availability of service level agreements and service credit in the event of an outage.

Data Security is a big one and each provider addresses this in their own ways. Google's app engine for example runs Java applications using the Java 6 virtual machine (JVM). The JVM runs in a secured "sandbox" environment to isolate your application for service and security. The JVM can execute any Java bytecode that operates within the sandbox restrictions.The Python interpreter also runs in a secured "sandbox" environment to isolate your application for service and security.

There isn't a one size fits all requirement for cloud. Each of the four major public players should be evaluated on the basic parameters above and the list below:

  1. Platform Supported
  2. Languages Supported
  3. Cloud Services and Tools
  4. Integrated Db
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The great thing about software is that it can enhance and optimize the workings of almost any industry. At Torry Harris Business Solutions we continually seek to make this happen for all our clients even in fields that don’t automatically lend themselves to “software”. And, not surprisingly, one of our major telecommunications clients tapped us to do just that.

Our client had thousands of farmers in Africa as subscribers and wanted to provide a service that would be of use to them. We proposed a simple but effective software solution that would provide up-to-date information on weather conditions and market price for several staple crops in the region. We designed the service to be available in both English and Kiswahili.

Our project team set up an IVR system and a call centre, where expert advice could be dispatched. And of course, the experts were more than willing to help. The service, as it’s deployed now, has the potential to make a positive difference in the lives of over half a million farmers in Tanzania alone. It’s a part of value added services tied to cell phone credit and is a viable productive model for all the stakeholders. It doesn’t need a lot of bandwidth and is compatible with almost all devices, both high-end and low-end. It can basically work for anyone with a mobile handset and connection.

The telecommunication and software revolution made this difference possible in the lives of farmers in Tanzania. The mobile phone is a visible banner of victory for this revolution. The role of software is not always easily visible. Yet millions of lines of code operate “behind the screens” to make this happen. Essentially, this is the role Torry Harris Business Solutions plays in the lives of our clients. We help our clients help their clients.

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