You’ve heard a lot lately about the concept of gamification and its application in various fields – such as gamification for energy management – but does it refer exactly to the use of games?
Not exactly, although it’s related to game theory. To better understand what gamification is and what it’s all about, we’ll tell you about it below.
What Gamification means
Gamification is the application of game theory concepts and techniques to non-game activities. And you may wonder what The Game Theory says?
Game theory looks for mathematical patterns, to explain why when an individual makes a particular decision they affect others. Game theory is the study of mathematical models of negotiation, conflict and cooperation between individuals, organisations and governments.
Game theory can be applied in a variety of areas of study, including consumer behaviour regarding energy use.
The application of game theory concepts and techniques to non-game activities is known as gamification. So, what is gamifying energy?
It is to apply game theory in the study of energy consumer behaviour, studying the interactions of people or groups of people with energy consumption.
The so-called games can range from simple encounters or personal or small group problems to major confrontations between corporations or superpowers. One of the main objectives of game theory is to determine the optimal strategy for dealing with a given situation or confrontation – in the case of energy management it would be to design strategies that optimize energy consumption.
With objectives such as minimising energy costs, zero carbon, obtaining sustainable buildings, or complying with energy efficiency decarbonised regulations.
Can Gamification Help Us Save Energy?
As I was telling you before, energy gamification aims to insert game elements into non-game related applications to help attract consumers to more efficient energy management.
Currently there are many apps and projects that try to apply it in different industries, the energy industry is one of them. As an example, you will have already spoken today about the FEEdBACk Project in which DEXMA is involved. This project – as we told you in a previous article – will build an app that will be used to engage the energy consumer, enabling them to understand and change their behaviour related to energy consumption.
But will gamification really help us save energy?
According to an IDC study, by 2019, 85% of utilities in the G2000 will have established a new business unit with its own financing and governance, or a separate company, to speed up innovation and business transformation. And not only that, by 2019, companies around the world are expected to have spent a total of US$2.1 trillion on digital transformation.
The consequence of this digital transformation can be seen by looking through any app store in your smartphone: there are a number of power applications offered by power companies and third-party developers.
Energy savings can be achievable through different ways. Gamification for energy consumption tries to reach it by involving the user in a game-oriented way. Through cooperation and competition, the applications motivate the users in order to achieve the energy efficiency goals. Moreover, gamification techniques are a fundamental element of smart energy meters, so we can only predict their future together, but if developers can create attractive applications, the rest will come later. The future looks bright for gamification and energy.
How utilities use gamification to engage customers
When summer temperatures rise and air conditioners operate at full capacity, the demand for electricity strains the power grid. The same happens when temperatures drop and heating systems increase both electricity and gas consumption.
When this happens, utilities try to manage these peak hours of energy demand with an approach demand response. The first step that utilities take is to start with novel technology applications that optimise energy consumption in Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems. A strategy is then created to encourage industrial users and residential customers to reduce their energy consumption to facilitate charging on the network.
But how are customers encouraged?
Just what you were thinking, through gamification techniques applied to energy efficiency. Energy consumption is a significant and critical social issue, so gamification and serious games offer a means of influencing people regarding energy consumption.
With the development of social media, smartphones and interactive web technologies, games have moved quickly into the mainstream. Consequence? Gaming is big business and utilities know it. For this reason, utilities are developing apps, because gamification offers a powerful avenue to create an excellent consumer experience and encourage conservation behaviour.
Customer engagement is increasingly important, as it is key to helping the utility improve energy efficiency. While technology is helping the utility digital transformation from a traditional to a future-proof utility, it is up to the utility to help the customer change his or her mind.
If you are interested in all this methodology we invite you to participate in our next webinar on May 16th at 11:00h CET