Saturday, 21 August 2010

Crazy ideas

Two things came up at work today.  Fairly way-out but may just be the next big thing . . .

1. Farmville goes public
I'm not a fan myself but the popularity of Farmville is very interesting.  People rushing to get back to the land in time to water and feed the crops shows real commitment but with no 'real-world' benefits.  They are even willing to share their spare crops with their friends for free out of the goodness of their hearts! My idea is to capture the virtual interest of Farmville and mash it up with a real-world local scenario.  Whht if the 'Farm' was a community modeled on a real community.  People could join their local 'communityville' and get as involved as they like.  It could start by just observing, move up to chatting, on to making comments and eventually getting involved in 'real world' activities. People could contribute to their local community by rebuilding using virtual lego blocks, naming the buildings and places, linking these to Wikis and Blogs.

The eventual idea is to motivate people to move gradually from their computer screens in a virtual world to real actions that make a difference in the community.

Police meetings could be held online and at the real location at the same time.  People can take part by listening in, interacting with video, photos, text and conversation from home or by actually attending in person.

Community clean-ups can be organised, litter picks, fund raising events - all either virtually or in real life.

This is just a vague idea at the moment but I'll add more details as I goe along.

2. Police website - front counter model
We had a great conversation at work today.  Imagine a police website which is a door into a virtual police front office. You enter the site by going through the front door into the foyer.  We see a 3D environment to interact with and a counter with several windows to interact with staff. doors lead off on either side leading to other rooms.  A leaflet stand offers leaflets traditionally offered in a publications section.  A noticeboard offers news items and latest information on offer.  A video monitor offers video clips from YouTube, speaker system offers audio clips.  At the counter, you can interact directly with real members of staff via videoconference, audio-only or live IM.  This allows people to report both emergency and non-emergency info direct to FIR via the web or mobile phone. Another window can offer victims an opportunity to ask for updates on their crime.  This can be via a live operator or an interactive system.  Another window can offer general advice via real person, search engine or traditional navigation engine.  This virtual station would always be staffed, never close and there would never be a queue.

Big things the service needs to sort out

 - Proper way to track people in the system no matter if they are victims, employees, criminals, suspects or partnership workers.

 - Ensure police systems record information suitable to be shared with the public.

 - Call centre which can handle ALL incoming methods of communications:

Telephone calls
Video conference calls
Text messages
Twitter posts
Blog Posts
Facebook posts
Whatever else comes along in the future.

All these need to be condensed into a single input screen and be dealt with in strict order no matter what method is used.  All staff can divert any message they receive personally to the system at any time and a central monitor checks all incoming messages for potential emergency calls.  These get scanned and either actioned or thrown back.

(originally posted July 14, 2010)

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