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WiFi Wars – time to rethink interaction

By Georgie Chan

When I walked into the Royal Institution in London for the comedy game show WiFi Wars, as part of our regular Culture Club series, it seemed just like any other regular game show set-up. The host, Steve McNeil, was busy fixing his hair and shirt, the crowd was pushing and shoving to find their seats, and the one-man video crew and programmer, Rob Sedgebeer, was checking and re-checking his laptop and camera.

Everything looked routine, at least it did until we sat down and joined the sea of people in the audience. Everyone was checking their smartphones or tablets, busy connecting to the WiFi and testing out their browsers. Not being a particularly tech-savvy person, the man next to me (who was clearly an experienced gamer) could tell that I needed a hand. He took my phone, and after just a few clicks, there it was on my screen – I had officially joined the WiFi Wars.

What is WiFi Wars?

WiFi Wars is a live comedy game show where the audience can play along and compete in a series of games, quizzes and challenges. Different to other game shows, an online audience can join WiFi Wars at any time, playing against and communicating with the audience in the studio – all of these interactions are live!

Rethink interaction

The whole session was about 1.5 hours long and I really enjoyed the opportunity to revisit childhood games like Snake and Pac-Man. In fact, I enjoyed it so much, I wasn’t upset at all about being at the bottom of the leaderboard (it’s the taking part that counts!).

However, the key takeaway for me was how easy it can be to connect to hundreds of strangers with just a laptop, a projector, a camera, and the push of a few buttons. During the Q&A session, Steve shared how he found the format of this online show to be revolutionary, compared to the traditional way of producing TV programmes. Having worked in the entertainment industry for decades, he found it can sometimes be frustrating to bring a traditional TV show to life – from pitching an idea, to convincing a production company and TV channel to produce it… it can take months. This super-efficient, low-cost format that targets the online audience is much quicker to set up, but with the potential to reach as many people as a show broadcasting on TV, if not more! It’s especially useful when he’s trying out new ideas for pilot shows – being able to receive instant feedback from his audience means he can quickly find out if an idea isn’t working, and cut his losses early; all he will have lost is just a few days of planning.

This got me thinking – how can we translate WiFi Wars’ smart format and gamification into new ways of engaging with patients and healthcare professionals? It’s something worth exploring…

For more information on WiFi Wars, please visit https://wifiwars.co.uk/

About Culture Club

With the mission to expand the minds of our team, our leadership team on the 5th floor of Baker Street launched the Culture Club. Through activities, seemingly unrelated to healthcare (including gin tasting sessions!), we hope these experiences will get everyone’s creative juices flowing and help us produce extraordinary work that’s bursting with curiosity and imagination.

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