We've been hearing quite a bit about using smartphones as audience response devices lately. Naturally, we're intrigued since we've helped clients produce many whole-audience game shows using audience response systems...and we've also seen smartphone voting systems in use--so we have some thoughts.
We love the idea of an audience response device that the attendee can always have with them, keep with them, and is multi-purpose. That's what we love about the smartphone audience response concept.
However, the smartphone technology still has a few things that need to be worked out:
- Not everyone has a smartphone yet. Hard to believe, but true! Unless the company is providing the smartphone, it can be hard to reconcile the availability of technology AND make sure that the audience response system is compatible across all platforms.
- Reception. It can be difficult to get reception in an event room. Sometimes impossible. Though smartphones can often hook on to internal wifi, etc, this may pose security issues of another kind. Therefore, you have a legitimate concern with steady connectivity. If someone's cell signal gives out at a game-winning moment... We'd hate to be the judge on that one!
- With a smartphone, everything is at hand. Literally. It's easy to get distracted by an incoming text, email, the internet, etc. If you're using this in a large event it encourages people to have their cell phones out (when it can already be difficult to maintain their attention spans).
- Cheater, cheater. . . having a phone in-hand while voting makes sending a game show answer to a friend just a quick-text away. Not that we'd question the integrity of the audience, but stranger things have been known to happen.