Reach for the Stars: Intelligent concert environment

Fall 2014, IXD Studio Team Project with Chelsea Kim and Wanfang Diao
Instructor: Professor John Zimmerman
My role: Group work on generating concepts, synthesizing insight from speed dating interviews,
and iterating storyboards and scripts for the video sketch, individual work on animating the final video sketch

01. Design Brief

Design an intelligent sensing system for a stadium or coliseum. Use the possibility of machine intelligence to improve the experience of fans for a specific type of music event. Support the interaction of crowds in a way that strengthens their engagement with the performer.

02. Initial Interviews & Rapid Idea Generation

The team conducted initial interviews with passionate fans of specific bands or artists with varying commitment levels. Through their experiences attending concerts, we learned that fans

We also had quick brainstorming sessions, where we rapidly generated ideas that would improve the concert experience and help artists to interact more with their fans. We then created an affinity diagram to organize our ideas and identify popular areas of interests, which included media capture, artistic vizualization, gaming, and self-tracking.

03. Ten Concepts and Speed Dating

Based on information collected from the previous stage of research, the team generated 10 solid design ideas. Using the speed dating interview method, we introduced the our ideas to our interviews in quick sequence and asked for their immediate reactions and thoughts. As a result, we found that some ideas resonated clearly with fans while others made them question the value or the effectiveness of their implementation.

Concept 01. Embodying the artist's heartbeat through a wearable device
As interesting and shocking as the idea was, people found the wearable portion a bit uncomfortable and worried that the heartbeats may clash wish tht emusic and diffuse attention from the performance.

Concept 02. Tracking "fan-ness" with fan IDs
The notion of tracking one's level of commitment to the artist resonated particularly well with one ardent fan. She also liked the prospect of the system identifying other ardent fans like her for opportunities to meet and share experiences. On the other hand, people were concerned for privacy and preferred their personal information be shown only to the artists.

Concept 03. Capturing and sharing individual voice from the crowd
The ardent fans loved this idea because it gave them a chance to be personally recognized by artists. They also shared it would be entertaining to see what others are saying at the concert and suggested the collection would make a fun background for the stage between songs. People thought the mechanism would serve well to faciliate a clear conversation between the artists and fans.

Concept 04. Virtual viewing parties for those that can't travel
People thought that it would be a good alternative for missing out on concerts abroad but were not too excited about the idea.

Concept 05. Pre-concert fan GPS tracking
An interface that shows fans traveling to the concert venue may boost pre-concert excitement, but interviewees were concerned that the idea was already being implemented on fan pages and that privacy would arise as an issue.

Others ideas
Virtual concert viewing from home, visualizing fan motion on the dome ceiling, floor that is synced to the music, recognizing noticeable groups in the crowd

04. Service Concept

After repeated iterations of concepts and storyboards, the team decided on a model of a smart environment that 1) allows fans to be personally recognized by the artist, 2) tracks “fanness” of individual fans at the venue, and 3) captures memorable moments from the concert.

Bluetooth beacons are located at every five-meter-raidus at the concert venue and tracks fan IDs and their relative locations through the Reach for the Stars mobile app.

The Reach for the Stars mobile app holds individual fan information such as concert history, social media activities related to the artist, and music/album purchases. The database allows PR teams preparing for concerts to pre-identify certain fans to be recognized during events at the concert. Also, bluetooth beacons located at every five-meter-radius at the venue allow instant recognition of individual fans during the concert and provide their locations for the camera operators to find, capture, and project them. Interactions captured can later be shared via social media from the artist's account with the audience tagged.

Q: How is the interaction actually designed?

We wanted to make the interactions between the audience and the performer as fluid and seamless as possible. But in order to make this happen, careful coordination is required in the backend. Prior to and during the concert, the PR team actively monitors and identifies fans to be recognized and feeds the fan information to the camera crew, the projected screens, and the performer's earpiece. This construction allows the audience to believe that the artist is initiating a casual conversation with her/his fans.

Q: When does the interaction happen?

It is common for popular pop artists to engage in conversations with their fans during concert settings. But this conversation is often limited to those that are physcially close to the stage and leaves the majority out of the interaction. Our system asks the artists to keep engaging with the audience, while giving them an opportunity to reach further out to the crowd.

The PR team monitors fan data prior and during the concert. As they confirm and make decisions about fans that need to be recognized, they send the cues to the artist, projectors, and the camera crew for "seemingly seamless" interactions.

05. Personas, Scenarios and Video Sketch

Amy is 21-years-old and is an avid Beyoncé fan living in New Jersey. Her photo submitted to a fan challenge is pre-selected and showcased at the concert in NYC. Sarah (18) travels from Toronto to NY with her sister to attend the concert. Beyoncé calls out for fans from abroad, and Sarah and her sister get the spotlight.

During the concert, Beyoncé asks fans to share special memories related to her song, and Mark (31) shares a story of his proposal through the app and gets recognized.

After the concert, all of their interactions are captured and shared through Beyoncé's social media channel, tagged with their IDs.

(image sources)