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  • 1.    Socialcise  A  mobile  game  focused  on  community,  enhancing  the  quality  of  life,  and  generating  quality,  real-­‐world  datasets.    Developed  by  Zach  Cowell    
  • 2. Application  Description     The  proposed  application,  Socialcise,  will  be  a  game  that  utilizes  real-­‐time  user  data  to  set  and  track  goals  and  unlock  “achievements”  and  “levels”  through  performing  certain  tasks.    This  will  immerse  the  player  in  a  virtualized  environment  where  they  can  track  a  variety  of  real-­‐world  data  and  progress  set  out  by  their  goals.  The  underlying  theme  of  Socialcise  is  a  unique  social  networking  game  that  brings  in  quality  data  from  regions  all  over  the  nation  as  well  as  enhancing  the  community  through  intuitive  features.     The  application  will  rely  heavily  on  user-­‐supplied  data.  Upon  creating  an  account,  the  player  will  be  prompted  with  a  brief  survey  to  determine  what  types  of  data  will  be  tracked  and  determine  the  player’s  goals.  It  will  be  a  wide  array  of  questions  but  brief  enough  that  they  will  not  hinder  the  user  from  using  the  application  in  minutes.  Some  sample  questions  include:   1. Do  you  smoke  and  do  you  want  to  quit?     2. Are  you  looking  to  lose  weight?     3. Do  you  want  to  eat  healthier?   4. Do  you  want  to  run/jog/bike  more?   5. Do  you  want  to  participate  in  more  sports?     Depending  on  the  player’s  responses,  the  game  will  begin  to  set  up  the  relevant  data  to  track.  For  instance,  if  the  player  wishes  to  eat  healthier,  a  series  of  challenges  will  unlock  to  help  obtain  that  goal,  such  as  listing  off  healthy  foods  to  eat  in  any  given  day.  The  player  can  check-­‐off  these  foods  as  they  eat  them  and  earn  in-­‐game  rewards  for  doing  so.  Each  challenge  will  reward  points,  and  after  enough  points  the  player  will  proceed  to  the  next  “level”  which  contains  additional  challenges  and  rewards.   The  rewards  will  include  a  variety  of  different  items.  For  one,  the  user  will  unlock  achievements  for  performing  certain  tasks  on  a  daily  basis.   • Example  challenge:  Do  not  eat  fast  food  for  7  straight  days.   Achievement:  “I’m  Not  Lovin’  It”  Some  achievements  will  also  have  multiple  tiers  by  performing  the  same  task  for  even  longer.  For  performing  the  above  achievement  for  a  month  or  longer,  the  user  will  be  rewarded  with  the  anti-­‐fast-­‐food  badge  (prototype  graphic):    Badges  can  be  displayed  on  the  player’s  profile  so  that  other  individuals  can  view  them.    Players  can  also  team  up  to  complete  certain  tasks  together  and  provide  encouragement  to  one  another.  In  addition,  other  tasks  will  require  teamwork  and  cannot  be  completed  on  their  own;  this  will  encourage  players  to  work  together  to  unlock  exclusive  team  rewards  (e.g.,  go  for  a  group  jog/bike  ride).  
  • 3.   The  purpose  of  the  “levels”  in  the  game  are  to  show  a  sense  of  achievement  and  help  guide  the  player  to  a  healthier  lifestyle.  Through  input  from  the  community,  the  users  can  then  deem  what  levels  may  be  necessary  for  completing  challenging  feats.  For  instance,  players  can  recommend  to  other  players  that  a  certain  level  in  exercise  may  be  required  to  build  enough  stamina  to  compete  in  a  5K  run.  An  exchange  of  health  information  in  the  community  will  continue  to  refine  these  suggestions.     The  early  focus  of  the  application  health  categories  will  be  areas  where  users  will  have  the  most  potential  to  make  a  life  change.  These  categories  will  include  exercising  more,  eating  healthy  (with  some  opportunity  to  learn  to  cook  healthy  dishes),  quitting  smoking/smoking  less,  and  drinking  less  alcohol.  These  categories  will  also  have  direct  influence  over  meta  goals;  for  instance,  exercising  often  and  eating  healthy  can  help  obtain  goals  that  players  set  to  lose  weight.  Once  these  primary  objectives  are  set  and  standardized,  the  application  will  begin  to  branch  out  to  capture  other  objectives  that  some  players  could  benefit  from,  such  as  managing  diabetes  or  mental  illnesses/disorders  such  as  ADHD.       Each  player  will  also  have  a  “stat  page”  which  will  show  relevant  statistics  to  their  goals.  These  statistics  will  be  dependent  on  what  categories  that  the  user  opted  for  (e.g.,  a  player  who  has  a  weight  loss  goal  will  see  their  weight  in  the  stat  page  that  can  update  it  accordingly).  When  a  user  updates  a  stat,  they  can  track  their  progress  in  real-­‐time  through  various  visualization  features,  such  as  a  line  graph  tracking  their  daily  weight  entered.  Only  the  relevant  stats  will  be  exposed  based  on  the  player’s  preferences;  for  example,  a  user  who  has  never  smoked  and  doesn’t  plan  on  smoking  would  not  see  a  daily  account  of  how  many  cigarettes  they  smoked  vs.  a  user  who  does  smoke  and  is  trying  to  quit  (and  would  benefit  from  seeing  their  daily  estimated  smoking  habits).  Social  Networking     The  application  will  have  significant  social  networking  interaction.  In  addition  to  being  able  to  join  other  players  in  achieving  their  real  life  goals,  there  will  be  integration  with  Facebook  and  Twitter.  Players  will  be  able  to  login  with  Facebook  (which  will  be  the  recommended  login  option)  in  order  sync  data,  such  as  profile  picture  and  age  information.  Players  can  post  their  achievements  and  progress  on  their  Facebook  and  Twitter  accounts  to  gain  support  from  their  friends  and  family,  and  perhaps  be  able  to  expose  Socialcise  to  gain  additional  users.       Within  the  game  itself,  players  will  be  encouraged  to  engage  one  another  for  team  based  rewards  and  point-­‐gain.  If  the  users  participate  in  team-­‐based  activities,  they  will  gain  additional  point  incentives  to  encourage  teamwork  and  group  play.       While  it  is  possible  for  players  to  have  a  fulfilling  experience  playing  with  limited  social  interaction,  it  is  recommended  that  the  players  interact  with  one  another  to  get  the  most  out  of  the  application.    
  • 4. Application  Architecture     Socialcise  will  be  a  mobile  application  that  will  be  available  for  iOS  and  Android.  In  addition,  the  application  will  be  available  for  any  mobile  device  with  web  browser  support  with  the  native  applications  being  on  iPhone  and  Android  devices.  The  technology  stack  that  will  make  this  a  possibility  is  as  follows:   • PhoneGap  :  Utilizing  Apache  Cordova,  PhoneGap  provides  the  capability   for  cross  platform  development  with  great  ease.  This  gives  the  front-­‐end   the  ability  to  be  constructed  in  HTML/JavaScript/CSS.   • PHP  with  CodeIgniter:  The  webserver  logic  will  be  built  on  top  of  a  MVC   architecture  within  PHP.  By  building  out  the  server  logic  in  this  fashion,  it   will  be  easy  to  implement  a  future  web  application  interface  for  desktop   machines.   • MySQL:  A  simple  database  architecture  for  tracking  user  supplied  data  as   well  as  performing  data  calculations  on  a  macro  level.   • Third-­‐Party  Libraries:    The  application  will  make  use  of  third-­‐party  open   sourced  libraries  such  as  jQuery  and  other  applicable  plugins.  For  the   data  visualization  portion  of  the  application,  a  mix  of  libraries  including   JQPlot  and  D3.js  will  be  implemented  to  help  display  some  of  the  data.   The  application  user  interface  will  be  built  with  basic  web  development  technologies.  AJAX  calls  will  be  used  to  push  data  to  and  from  the  server.  The  user  experience  will  be  built  with  responsive  components  using  HTML5  and  CSS3.   Once  the  application  user-­‐base  grows  to  a  substantial  level,  the  team  will  implement  a  cloud  based  hosting  solution  through  Amazon  Web  Services  (AWS).    If  the  application  utilizes  bandwidth  beyond  the  “free  tier”  of  AWS,  the  business  model  will  be  revisited  to  help  mitigate  operating  costs.  Data  Generation     The  aspect  that  is  most  exciting  about  Socialcise  is  the  data  generated  by  the  players  and  how  that  data  is  used.  By  storing  the  data  on  a  webserver,  the  data  can  be  analyzed  across  all  regions  and  interpreted.  This  will  create  quality  datasets  that  can  be  exported  and  shared  at  will  while  preserving  the  privacy  of  the  user-­‐base.     By  analyzing  the  data  server-­‐side,  the  application  can  present  users  with  additional  incentives  to  provide  data  in  regions  where  certain  data  is  lacking.  For  example,  if  there  is  a  low  user-­‐base  in  a  state  or  region,  a  player  can  “recruit”  another  player  for  bonus  points  or  badges.  This  feature  will  continue  to  build  onto  a  solid  social  network  for  the  players  to  interact  within.     In  addition  to  pursuing  data  from  all  regions,  Socialcise  will  implement  Robert  Wood  Johnson  Foundation  data  to  encourage  special  rewards  for  those  in  communities  that  fall  in  low-­‐ranking  regions  within  certain  categories.  Some  examples  include:   • Players  pursuing  healthy  foods  in  counties  where  healthy  food  options  are   limited   • Players  avoiding  fast  food  restaurants  in  counties  where  there  are  a  high   number  of  fast  food  restaurants  
  • 5. • Players  performing  some  sort  of  exercise  in  counties  where  there  is  high   physical  inactivity     Once  the  data  is  gathered  and  stored  on  the  server,  the  data  can  be  visualized  and  displayed  using  a  third-­‐party  charting  library.  See  the  Application  Architecture  section  for  more  info  on  how  this  data  will  be  output.   In  addition  to  generating  quality  data  across  many  different  health  categories,  the  team  behind  Socialcise  will  strive  to  make  the  data  available  to  the  general  public,  including  third-­‐parties  who  wish  to  improve  healthcare  in  some  way.  Once  enough  data  is  available  and  a  proper  privacy  statement  is  agreed  upon  by  the  end-­‐user,  the  data  can  be  accessed  through  RESTful  web-­‐services  via  a  simple  to  use  API.  Until  there  is  enough  interest  in  the  application  to  warrant  the  development  of  the  API,  the  team  behind  Socialcise  will  provide  the  data  through  a  written  request  in  the  interim.  The  number  one  priority  for  data  distribution  is  protecting  the  rights  and  privacy  of  the  end  users,  and  once  a  general  agreement  can  be  reached,  the  data  can  be  provided  to  third-­‐parties.  Target  Users     Socialcise  is  an  application  that  will  target  a  wide  array  of  users  that  wish  to  live  a  healthy  lifestyle.  The  user  experience  will  be  simple  enough  to  appeal  to  all  audiences  without  sacrificing  a  robust  feature  set.  Those  who  would  benefit  most  from  the  application  would  be  young  adults  and  adults  who  wish  to  increase  their  healthy  habits.  However,  the  platform  will  be  set  up  such  that  the  younger  players  can  play  the  game  and  compete  to  encourage  healthy  habits  at  a  young  age  in  a  fun  manner.     The  user  experience  will  be  designed  to  get  the  user  up  and  running  in  a  relatively  short  amount  of  time.  After  the  user  has  created  an  account  and  answered  the  introductory  questions,  the  user  will  begin  to  navigate  through  relevant  challenges  to  participate  in  and  get  started  from  day  one.  Marketing  Plan       Socialcise  will  be  a  service  that  will  launch  on  or  before  the  Robert  Wood  Johnson:  Games  to  Generate  Data  Challenge  Phase  2  submission  deadline  on  July  29,  2013.       The  team  behind  Socialcise  plans  on  spending  time  marketing  the  service  on  several  different  fronts.  For  one,  a  portion  of  the  Phase  1  prize  money  will  be  allotted  for  advertisements  through  Facebook  and  Google  AdWords.    In  addition  to  targeting  a  wide  variety  of  demographics,  the  team  plans  to  reach  out  to  various  technology  focused  news  sites  (specifically,  mobile)  with  the  application  in  hopes  of  getting  the  word  out.  The  team  will  also  reach  out  to  health  sites  and  blogs  in  hopes  of  being  featured.  
  • 6.   As  the  team  is  based  in  Washington,  D.C.,  the  team  will  spend  time  reaching  out  to  the  U.S.  Department  of  Health  and  Human  Services  to  spend  a  little  bit  of  time  talking  about  the  application.     In  addition  to  reaching  out  to  these  organizations,  the  team  is  enthusiastic  about  working  with  the  Robert  Wood  Johnson  Foundation  for  recognizing  a  robust  gaming  application  that  generates  rich  sets  of  data  in  an  intuitive  manner  and  creates  a  fun  environment  for  the  user.  Team  Profile       Zach  Cowell  is  a  software  engineer  with  a  B.S.  in  Computer  Science  from  West  Virginia  University.  He  has  been  employed  in  the  health  industry  as  well  as  government  consulting  and  contracting.  He  is  currently  employed  as  a  consultant  who  specializes  in  designing  and  implementing  web  based  enterprise  solutions  for  various  clients,  including  the  Department  of  Defense  and  various  health  markets.       Zach  Cowell  also  has  a  passion  for  game  design  using  mobile  applications.  He  has  experience  using  cross-­‐platform  development  technologies  including  Corona  SDK  and  PhoneGap.  He  especially  enjoys  creating  applications  utilizing  web  technologies  on  mobile  platforms.  Business  Model       Socialcise  will  be  a  free  service  for  all  to  use  with  no  premium  service  offering.  At  the  time  when  Socialcise  has  a  steady  user-­‐base,  we  are  prepared  to  possibly  introduce  unobtrusive  advertisements  into  the  application  to  possibly  help  offset  operating  costs.  However,  even  after  advertisements  are  introduced,  all  of  the  features  will  be  available  to  the  players  without  any  cost  to  them.     Further,  once  the  user-­‐base  has  expanded  and  the  application  at  a  steady,  secure,  and  optimized  codebase,  the  team  pledges  to  release  the  source  code  for  the  entire  project  so  that  other  developers  can  benefit  from  the  technologies  created  in  Socialcise.  A  particular  open-­‐source  license  has  not  be  determined  at  this  time,  but  one  will  be  chosen  that  most  appropriately  protects  the  team  behind  Socialcise  and  the  third-­‐parties  that  obtain  the  technology.