By Jenny Gottstein
Last August, I embarked on a cross-country train trip to explore how games might be used for disaster preparedness.
In each city I met with first responders, Red Cross chapters, disaster management agencies, and community leaders. The goal was to identify ways to increase resilience through interactive games. The trip was fascinating, and exposed some core truths about our country’s relationship with disasters.
Here is what I learned:
1) The coastal cities generally feel vulnerable and unprepared. By contrast, the states in the middle of the country feel much more confident and capable. For example, everyone I spoke to in Montana was certified in some sort of disaster training, had survived 20 different avalanches or snow storms, and had impressive stockpiles of food and supplies. In other words, Montana is ready.
2) Different regions are facing different challenges in the effort to become more resilient. In Seattle, disaster preparedness professionals need help communicating safety messages to high school and college students. In Milwaukee, the main fear is extreme weather and water contamination. In New York, preparedness resources have to be translated to a population that speaks over 800 different languages. My job was to determine how game mechanics might be applied to overcome these hurdles.
3) Socio-economic factors play a huge role in the severity and impact of disasters. Therefore we can’t take a “one size fits all” approach to preparedness. Building a resilient community doesn’t start and end with emergency kits. We have to tackle larger issues of transportation, housing, and resources way before disasters happen.
4) Despite major disparities across the country, two things remain true for every individual: Confidence and kindness are essential qualities during a crisis. We might be thrown into unprecedented scenarios, but the first step is having confidence in our ability to respond, and the second step is, quite simply, to be kind to others. Kindness can go a long way in de-escalating a crisis. Which presents an interesting challenge: how do we teach this concept through gaming?
5) I’ve heard many people blame our country’s lack of preparedness on apathy. How else would you explain the fact that people still don’t have Go Bags or basic emergency plans for their family? But I don’t think “apathy” is the issue. I believe disasters are so enormous and terrifying, that people simply block them out. It is too big, it is too inaccessible. Therefore the problem isn’t apathy, it is paralysis.
6) The act of “getting prepared” can be isolating and boring. Would I rather go to the hardware store and pick out flashlights for a crisis that is too scary to think about, or spend time with my family and friends? The latter, obviously.
7) Finally, there is one thing that was true in every place I visited on my trip, one thing that united everyone in these incredibly diverse regions: people are more interested and responsive to emergency preparedness messages that are fun and engaging rather than messages focused on motivating people through fear.
So by creating interactive games, we can offer people a different entry point – an opportunity to tackle disaster preparedness in a way that is social, memorable, and fun. We can make something that is boring and isolating and turn it into something engaging and social. We can turn something that is paralyzing, into something that is accessible. We can design games that are entertaining and thought-provoking, without trivializing the disaster experience.
Over the next few years I’ll be exploring these nuances, and designing games as tools for resilience. If you find this interesting, please join me!
Jenny Gottstein is the Director of Games and a senior event producer for Go Game. Jenny has led interactive game projects, creativity trainings and design workshops around the world. Click here to read more about Jenny’s trip.
NEW ORLEANS—While it may seem counterintuitive at an event that also has an expo, one speaker at the International Disaster Conference today argues that a lot of the “preparedness” products on the market are not worth the price tag—and may even work against public safety.
According to the graduate research of disaster management expert and firefighter paramedic Jay Shaw, dikes and levies reduced people’s preparedness levels by 25% for all hazards including flooding. About three quarters of respondents in his research had experience with a major flood, and 75% felt prepared for a flood. Yet 65% felt unprepared for any other disaster, and 46% did not have any emergency kit, plan or supplies. The dikes in their town, Shaw found, led to a sense of security against flooding risk, and left many unaware of other risks and how to best prepare for them.
Nationally, a 2009 FEMA study found that 57% of people claim to be prepared for a disaster for 72 hours. Under further review, however, 70% of these individuals did not know the basic components of an emergency go-bag or emergency plan.
Computers are typically robust and reliable. When it comes to doing the same thing over and over again at scheduled times, they leave human beings far behind. That makes IT automation an attractive proposition for many business continuity routines or processes. Where people might forget or botch a data entry because of the monotony of a task, computers remain unaffected. They will check the status of all your branch servers every hour on the hour without fail. They will monitor manufacturing stocks and supply chains and send alerts when any out of bounds situation occurs. What could ever go wrong? Two things at least that human beings still have to help computers sort out.
The analytics capabilities exist for Internet of Things (IoT) data — it’s the integration of systems and lack of interoperability that will challenge organizations, warns Deloitte Consulting.
Deloitte predicts that the “Analytics of Things” will be one of the top analytics trends in 2015, but also predicts that organizations may have trouble leveraging the data due to proprietary solutions and APIs.
“There needs to be more interoperability, more interconnectivity, more integration of all these devices, otherwise we’re just going to have these competing standards, competing formats and I think you’ll have disappointed customers in the end,” John Lucker, Deloitte Consulting principal and global advanced analytics and modeling market leader, said in a recent interview with IT Business Edge.
In the last several years, there have been an increasing number of storage options. Initially we had just magnetic hard drives with a single rotational speed. Then they started to come in several varieties. Now we have a range of drive speeds starting at 15,000 rpm at the top end, followed by 10,000 rpm drives, then the ubiquitous 7,200 drives, and slower drives with speeds such as 5,900, 5,400, 4,500 and even variable speed drives.
The rotational speed of the disk drive is strong indicator of performance, price, capacity and power usage. Typically the higher the speed, the more expensive the drive. And usually high-speed drive has a smaller capacity, better performance and higher power consumption. As the drive speed comes down, the drive price decreases, the capacity increases, the performance decreases, and the power usage decreases.
There are other sources of drive variation, for example, drive cache size and physical drive size (2.5" and 3.5"). There is also the drive communication protocol such as SATA, SAS or Fiber Channel. There are also protocol speed differences such as 6 Gigabits per second (Gbps), 3 Gbps and slower (although these are older drives).
Whether you've forgotten to press save, a file has become corrupted or perhaps due to something more malicious, I'm sure we've all suffered the frustration of losing data at one time or another. A new study from Kroll Ontrack has now shown just how common this is by revealing that over a 12 month period from 2013 to 2014, one in four (25%) UK workers interviewed as part of their research lost work data due to malfunction or corruption of technology. This is up from 19% just over two years ago. The report also highlights that only 68% of this data was recovered, meaning that almost a third of all work related data lost was irrecoverable.
Paul Le Messurier, Programme and Operations Manager at Kroll Ontrack commented: “The business environment is now, more than ever, data driven and digital first. It is therefore extremely alarming that data loss is on the up. If we see this trend continue to build, there is a risk that we will continue to see large scale data disasters as well as negative impacts on the provision of service level agreements to customers. Organisations must prepare for potential data disasters by developing a robust business continuity plan that includes a back-up plan, education for employees and a data disaster strategy if all else fails.”
Additional findings by Kroll Ontrack highlight that one in three UK employees (33%) used personal devices or cloud services to store work-related data in the last 12 months. Recovery rates of lost work-related data among these devices are low. One in five users successfully recovered from home desktops (19%), just 8% from personal mobile devices and 17% from laptops and tablets.
Le Messurier continued: “With the rise of BYOD the lines between personal and work-related data are being blurred. As such, organisations have to take extra considerations when devising a disaster recovery plan. This includes a full audit of what devices are holding work-related data and ensuring that these devices are being used responsibly. It is also important that businesses understand what data is critical on the device and what is not to ensure that only work related data is backed up to company servers – ignoring personal apps and music.”
No matter what your stance on the cloud and its role in supporting critical vs. non-critical workloads, it should be clear by now that any data infrastructure that remains in the enterprise will be dramatically different from the sprawling, silo-based facilities of today.
Retaining key workloads in-house will likely be a priority for some, but that does not mean the data center isn’t ripe for an upgrade that improves data-handling while lowering capital and operational costs. And the strategy of choice at the moment is convergence.
Enterprise apps are a hot item. I wrote a recent feature that cited research from appFigures, Kinvey and Frost & Sullivan that, in a variety of ways, pointed to the growth in interest on the parts of both developers and their clients.
QuinStreet Enterprise, which publishes IT Business Edge, has released survey research that reveals an important finding: The user interface (UI) and related ease-of-use features are very high (if not at the top) of the list of important elements in the success of an enterprise app. The survey, “2015 Enterprise Applications Outlook: To SaaS or not to Saas” (free download with registration) said that the key features for enterprise users are easy implementation, smooth integration with existing technology and good security.
(TNS) — What would you do with a few seconds or minutes of warning before an earthquake strikes?
When late-night comedian Conan O’Brien considered the question recently, the result was a laugh-out-loud segment with people stampeding into walls, snapping risqué selfies or cranking up the boom box for one last dance.
A more sober — and useful — range of options will be on the table next week, when a small group of businesses and agencies embark on the Northwest’s first public test of a prototype earthquake early warning system.
“Up until now, we’ve been running it and watching the results in-house only,” said John Vidale, director of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network at the University of Washington.
(TNS) — When Paul Allen picks a cause, he usually takes his time.
The Microsoft co-founder likes to convene brainstorming sessions, consult experts and recruit advisers before making major philanthropic gifts.
But when Ebola flared in West Africa last summer, Allen was among the first private donors to step up. As the toll from the disease soared, he quickly raised his commitment to $100 million — the largest from any individual and double the amount contributed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Now that the epidemic seems to be slowing, Allen is still moving fast.