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Thought Leadership
10 February 2021 By Ross Macfarlane Fugro’s USV Policy and Public Affairs Advisor
Good hand-eye coordination, quick reflexes, strategising and teamwork: the skills and all-round tech-savviness of video gamers offer today’s employers a valuable addition to the usual requirements…

It’s fair to say that gaming acquired something of an image problem in the late ‘80s, when it was often perceived as an obsessive subculture. But now that gaming is mainstream, the tables have turned and many employers are realising that gamers who have dedicated countless hours to virtual running, jumping, climbing and shooting have essentially perfected their techniques in remote operations. 

Moreover, each new generation of games has created opportunities for players to immerse themselves in mind games, role play, combat and open-world games, enabling them to hone cognitive skills and develop mental resilience, both of which are highly prized in today’s increasingly digitised world. Opportunities are opening up all the time for gamers who would like to capitalise on their unique skillset as the springboard for a career. 

New talent pool

Operatives in our global remote operation centres (ROCs) must have a technical and nautical background but also an openness to new ways of working. So it could be that, in the future, we won’t rely solely on traditional qualifications when recruiting but also look for skills such as those refined by today’s gamers.

ROCs are Fugro’s onshore hubs that control vehicles offshore – from uncrewed surface vessels (USVs) to remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) – and support marine clients with a range of services, including survey data processing and remote positioning support.

Ross Macfarlane, Fugro’s USV Policy and Public Affairs Advisor, says: “There is a strong correlation between the skills gamers have developed over the years and those that are needed in a ROC operative’s role. Gamers’ tech-savviness is advantageous, as is the learning-by-doing that comes from playing video games.

“In fact, it’s possible that some active gamers with the right technical qualifications could turn out to be ‘the total package’ from day one, as many of the skills fine-tuned on their console or PC could transfer quickly and easily to remote vehicle operation and ROCs.”

Agility, coordination and concentration

There are many similarities between gaming and the role of the ROC operator.

For example, the mental agility, manual dexterity and hand-eye coordination developed through gaming are ideally suited to ROC operations, which routinely involve managing several platforms and multitasking across as many as eight screens. 

Video games tend to have a specific logic and set of rules that gamers must adhere to and act upon. Likewise, the challenge in an ROC is to assimilate information from various sources, make informed decisions and implement them according to defined procedures.

Ongoing ROC operator tasks, such as connectivity checks and estimated times of arrival for the next waypoint, need ticking off as part of a continuous process. There are also periods of inactivity when the operator must nonetheless stay alert. All of this requires a level of concentration and awareness that doesn’t come naturally to everyone. For gamers, however, it is second nature. 

Gaming can help players to develop people skills too. Some of the gaming industry’s biggest franchises, such as Call of Duty and FIFA, require communication, leadership and teamwork, all of which are required for the successful completion of ROC missions.

Fugro ROCs provide remote survey, inspection, piloting and positioning services to the maritime industry

When businesses are more open-minded in their recruitment and identify non-traditional skills from previously unacknowledged backgrounds such as gaming, both sides reap the benefits
Ross Macfarlane, Fugro’s USV Policy and Public Affairs Advisor
ROC operators routinely work across multiple screens on tasks that demand mental agility and manual dexterity

Exciting opportunities

Fugro’s ROC operator positions could offer an attractive and exciting opportunity for modern gamers to work at the forefront of cutting-edge technology. 

Ross Macfarlane again: “Being part of the new remote movement and contributing to a safe and liveable world is something we want to sell to the next generation so that their skills can support this ambition. Gamers come from all walks of life so businesses like ours should tap into this diverse talent pool and be open to the varying skills people have to offer. When businesses are more open-minded in their recruitment and identify non-traditional skills from previously unacknowledged backgrounds such as gaming, both sides reap the benefits.”

Did you know?

- Fugro has eight ROCs operating across five continents

- There were an estimated 2.7 billion video gamers around the world in 2020


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