5 technologies the business world has borrowed from gaming

by Michael Moore| 25 July 2014

These are the ideas that will get you the high score.

Gaming is more popular today than ever before, as more and more of us log on to our consoles or go online to play. But as this popularity has increased, we're seeing aspects of the gaming world seep into our everyday lives. What starts off inside a virtual world can often prove extremely useful in real-life, expanding the horizons of what companies can achieve.

Here are some things you may never have considered could have come from the world of gaming...

trophy

Gamification

Perhaps most unsurprisingly, companies are increasingly using games to affect the way we approach many everyday tasks. It has long been known that rewarding people, even for seemingly small accomplishments, gives them a high sense of satisfaction and is likely to encourage them to repeat certain tasks, and many different areas of technology now use these techniques.

Fitness trackers are probably the most common, as they challenge you to achieve a certain goal each day, rewarding you with praise, unlocked achievements and even virtual medals for accomplishing certain things. Think also of apps like Foursquare, which can reward users with perks or vouchers if they visit a certain location several times. More commonly, sales agents are encouraged to 'level up' their activities as they work towards a certain goal, with big rewards promised at the end, showing that gamification can have a real motivational effect.

eye tracking

Eye-tracking

Staying focused is a key part of succeeding in gaming, and this means keeping your eyes on the screen at all times. Eye-tracking and capture technology has become more and more common over the past few years as professional gamers look to develop and improve their skills, allowing them to analyse where they are concentrating their focus and if this can be improved. Ultimately this technology may be used to allow users to fully control games using just their eyes, but it could also be useful for the business world too.

Tracking where a user looks on a screen would provide excellent insights for marketing and advertising firms, which could use the data to develop more effective and eye-catching campaigns to draw in more customers.

Device manufacturers can also use the technology for battery-saving purposes, to track when a user is not focusing on the screen to save power, as well as providing a biometric option for unlocking the device. Samsung's recent Galaxy S5 device included such a feature, which also allowed the pausing of video files when a user looks away from the screen.

cloud

Cloud connectivity

Online gaming can involve hundreds of thousands, if not millions of players, with the biggest MMORPGs often hosting players from all around the world, who can get very angry if their gaming experience suffers from slowdowns or connection problems. Hosting companies therefore need to invest in serious hardware power to ensure their games stay online and run smoothly, with hugely powerful cloud systems providing the means to stay active.

The gaming world taught the business universe much of what it needed to know in the early days of cloud computing, and this co-operation has continued to this day, as such services are now being transported over to help power other graphics-intensive applications such as CAD programs, medical imaging software, and more.

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