Sims-like Interface to Real-Time Management Information Systems?
Ripe Idea Series
Once upon a time (approximately 1995), I played a game called Transport Tycoon Deluxe. Its interface was a revelation: SimCity on an even grander scale, with *everything* clickable for more information, windows that could "follow" any vehicle in your far-flung empire, alarms when common problems developed requiring further attention, and rich embedded/intuitive reporting lurking behind every discrete entity.
I immediately thought: why can't the top managers of giant organizations -- say, GM or Mobil -- have this same sort of interface on their entire operations? It was only a matter of time, I figured...
Seeing the front page of Bom.com brought back these memories. It's just an animated demo, using the overhead, 3/4s, "isomorphic" projection made popular by the Sims games and various "real-time-strategy" games. But it hints at the same power in comprehending complexity I saw back in Transport Tycoon Deluxe. A flurry of activity is occuring, overwhelming at first, but by mousing over the various participants you can gradually build a picture of what's happening.
I don't think Bom's product uses an interface anything like the illustration.... but it's inevitable. Top managers *will* have a overhead, Sims-like, real-time view of their organizations very soon. They'll be able to drill-down and track any single process, location, or group. They'll be able to set alarms, and dispatch automated monitoring/benchmarking agents to any part of their far-flung, but virtually mapped, empire. It's such a natural and powerful approach I suspect someone, somewhere, is working on it already.