Waterwise held its Annual Water Efficiency Conference at Lady Margret Hall at the University of Oxford this September. The theme for this years conference was Gamifying Water which looked at the potential of applying gaming elements to the water sector. The first day consisted of a late afternoon drinks reception followed by a dinner, this provided an opportunity to engage with the other delegates and spark off discussions! The second day of the conference consisted of a series of stimulating presentations. There was an interesting range of speakers who all have experience in gamification, not necessarily directly in the water sector but have applied gamification in real world environments. This made for interesting linkages to demonstrate how gamification could be applied to the water sector. DAIAD had representation from Anna Kupfer from the University of Bamberg, she delivered a presentation and was involved in an FP7 Water and ICT panel discussion later in the morning. Anna’s presentation provided the delegates with an overview of the academic background to gamification and outlined the research that has been conducted. She then took a look to the future of how researching gamification in academia would need catch up with the real world practices of gamification as they are currently far greater than the research that has been conducted. Most importantly Anna highlighted that there could be a need to avoid a Gameocalypse! What happens when we have points for everything?
Later in the morning a panel discussion was held which examined the application of gamification in four of the FP7 Water and ICT projects. The panel consisted of Andrea Rizzoli (Smart H20), Lydia Vamvakeridou – Lyroudia (iWIDGET), Lili Yang (ISSEWATUS) and Anna Kupfer (DAIAD). The chair of the panel asked about their collective experiences of gamification and discussed if they had been successful in terms of engaging consumers with water efficiency. The conversation then turned to smart metering and whether the development of it will help accelerate gamification in the water industry. The last question looked at whether gamification would be sustainable and have longevity for the future instead of being a short lived fad. All the panellists drew on their experiences in the smart water sector and this led to some thought provoking questions from delegates, such as whether there could be gamification without smart metering and ICT?
The overall conference was incredibly successful for disseminating to delegates about DAIAD and the project aims through networking and further discussions. The content of the conference will be really valuable in forthcoming months as it provided an insight about the current level of gamification in the water sector, this knowledge can be applied to DAIAD. The overarching conclusion from the conference was: using gamification to engage water customers is an innovative alternative to grey suits funding concrete!