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How Many Remote Controls Does It Take To Watch a Movie?

Sitting down to watch a movie at my home is an adventure. What about at yours?

Sometimes I feel like I am in one of the Indiana Jones films. There are treasure hunts, puzzles, etc. Let me explain what happens.

Indiana Jones blended image

Step 1: Equipment Check

There are three remotes that control the TV, DVD player and cable at my home. Each of these devices has about 20 buttons each. For some reason, I need all three of them to turn on household favorites “Baby Einstein” or “Dora the Explorer.”

Without fail, whenever it is time to start watching a movie – one or two remotes have been captured by miniature pirates (disguised as princesses) and hidden with other loot.

Step 2: Remote Control Treasure Hunt

Once, I have identified which remote controls are missing – I begin my treasure hunt (without a map).  Since my little one has loot hiding skills that would make Davy Jones proud, it takes me several minutes to find these remotes.

Step 3: Which Button is It Anyway?

You would think that turning on the TV, DVD player and changing the channels would be simple. Sometimes I feel like I am solving some type of riddle or complex Suduko puzzle. There are numbers and letters going everywhere. I have to correctly identify the order of the remotes then select the correct buttons to push. Since, there are 60 buttons, I regularly get it wrong and have to start over. Luckily, I don’t get dropped into a viper pit after making mistakes.

What Does This Mean For Events?

Smart phone apps, handheld devices, virtual event technology and social media tools are all technologies that require attendees participation. While I am willing to work with the three remotes and play treasure hunt, attendees will not do it. They are going to use technology that supports and enhances their event experience – AND helps them achieve their objectives.

So, the next time an event technology vendor says – “Wow – let me show you the latest blah, blah, blah….It’s Awesome!!”  Consider the question posed at the start of this post: How many remote controls does it take to watch a movie?  Then ask yourself how many treasure hunts and complex riddles will you need to help attendees solve to effectively use this technology?  If the answer is – a lot – you may want to choose another solution.

image credit: tim_norris
2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Hello again Samuel,
    It was really fun presenting with you this morning…even though you were mostly a blurry dark blob on the screen 😉

    Anyways, after reading this, I would add that you should still encourage your readers to listen to the “blah blah blah” from that vendor. Although it might initially seem to add complications, a good vendor will see where it fits a need. It could potentially solve a major challenge for an event organizer and their attendees.

    The responsibility for continuous improvement really lies with both parties. The vendor should comprehend client needs and then artfully design a solution while the client listens with an open mind to the possibilities for progress.

    Take, for example, the iPad I just bought. Although it seems like yet another technology to juggle, I’ve already found some extremely useful applications in just two days. Yesterday I found it made a very handy tool for monitoring a twitter feed while administering a live webcast that made it impossible to leave the Presentation mode.

    Just some thoughts,
    Midori Connolly, Chief AVGirl

    April 21, 2010
  2. Hi Midori,

    Excellent points, Midori. I hope that I didn’t imply that vendors are evil and untrustworthy. If I did – then I sincerely apologize – that was not my intent at all.

    Also, I enjoyed presenting with the amazing and wonderful Chief AVGirl this morning, too! Even though I appeared as a blob – hopefully – I was a handsome blob.

    April 21, 2010

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