Studio voting app for interactive reality show

Voting app for the experts panel in an interactive reality singing competition show in German television.

Interactive Reality TV

Next round or out — Swipe to vote.

From august to october 2014 german television broadcasted the casting show Rising Star. 27 young talented musicians sang and acted to get a one year scholarship and a record contract.

The special thing of this show format was that it considered the viewers at home the actual judges. The viewers at home used a mobile app, that was provided by the broadcasting station. People within the transmission area who wanted to vote, simply downloaded the app and could vote. The complete audience at home as well as in the studio took part in the show and especially in the outcome.

Celebrity experts panel

But a small group in the studio could not use this mobile app —the experts panel.

The experts had a special role in the show. They watched all performances from their prominent VIP-boxes in the studio and after each act discussed their impression of the performance with the youngsters. The experts were four celebrity musicians. Each of their votes counted 5%. If all expert's votes would be positive the voting barometer would jumped to 20%.

Experts app

No question, a celebrity expert panel votes by means of a mobile app like all others. This expert voting app was our task in this production. We developed an Android app in full HD resolution for use inside the studio and took care of it during the shows. We setup the smartphones (4 for usage, 12 as backup), deployed the app and prepared them for show conditions.

To be able to manage the app and the mobile phones of the experts panel easily and securely during the live show, we set up a redundant voting server. The most important task of this server was monitoring the battery, the strength of the WLAN signal and starting and stopping of each voting cycle.

The apps user interface had three distinct states:

  1. Waiting
  2. Voting
  3. Show vote

In addition the app had settings, not visible from the UI, to select the voting server, the synchronization sequence, the name of the phone and the expert using using to vote.

To reduce unwanted surprises, we put the phone in kiosk mode. With the kiosk mode all menus and apps apart of one are hidden. The selected app is always in the front. When pressing the home button, the app opens. In total there where 16 phones of which 4 were in use. The others served as exchange devices when a battery became weak.

Remote control

The voting server was the remote control to monitor the phone status and to control the app:

  • Wait, between the acts
  • Vote, during the singing performance
  • Wait again, after performance and discussion.

The vote signal was sent by WLAN to the general voting server in the studio that received all votes, calculated the result and produced the visual effects (barometer, selfies,...)

Facts

Name: Experts voting app
Period: Aug. - Sep. 2014
Platforms: Android OS optimized for Full HD. Server: node.js with JavaScript and Jade.
Partner: House of Research GmbH
Client: Norddeich TV GmbH

Voting backend: This page shows the battery and WLAN status and has controls to start and stop voting.