This is an expansion of the themes listed out in the Call for Participation. They are meant to serve as a guideline and/or inspire thinking about your position papers. We do not think that your paper should only cover these challenges. Feel free to shock and awe us!
Engagement and Edutainment:
Although there are some excellent programmes tailored to successfully engage the attention of children, TV is still a relatively passive medium. Toys encourage a sense of more active, playful interaction. How could we design smart interactive connected toys which can be used in conjunction with a programme on a connected TV? How could connected toys help children process and reinforce educational messages from the TV?
Inter-generational Social Values:
The Television (and Radio) was built as devices which brought content into the home of our audiences and encouraged a family social gathering. With the advent of personal mobile devices and on demand viewing, the need to gather around one shared device is not a strong motivator as such. Personalisation through the use of tangible toys connected to a TV programme could encourage collaborative play amongst its audiences. How can we design to encourage equivalent engagement from audiences of different ages in an inter-generational connected environment? How can we ensure parental control and address privacy concerns in this area?
Accessibility & Control:
Tangible toys have the potential to make interacting with TV programmes more accessible without the need to learn new paradigms of interaction. Very young audience members (and other vulnerable groups) with limited motor or cognitive skills. What are the challenges involved in promoting inclusion and diversity in the design of interactive toys for television? What about parental control and oversight?
Integration with Current & Emergent Technologies:
Children today can access content on a variety of existing platforms - the obvious like TV and radio through broadcast or on-demand platforms, specifically tailored to children, of course - but also on emergent voice platforms, online with digital options to go with traditional toys like building blocks and puzzles, re-imagined connected toys, augmented applications on mobile devices and so on. What are the challenges we are likely to encounter to meet expectations for a joint up experience that connects not just the TV and a toy but also a voice-based digital assistant, a shared tablet (mobile device) and an online game app? How can we ensure seamless on-boarding and discovery of compatible content in order to reduce barriers to entry and encourage repeated usage?
Design of the Toy:
In the world of toys, children have favourites within their collection and attribute personas to them over time with much thought put into the benefits offered by the toys to the children. Unlike a specific television programme or channel, toys tend to be around the child 'on demand'. How can we continue the experience of "watching" television with the toy to phases when the television isn't on? What are the transitional designs between a synchronous play-along experience with the TV, for instance, and an asynchronous mnemonic experience without the TV?
Trust & Affinity:
Trust in the brand and affinity built within the relationship with broadcasters, content and our young audiences is very important. In addition, there are high expectations from parents as well. Building experiences that include both a television programme and connected toys will mean maintaining a more complex relationship of trust and affinity with the younger audiences. What are the challenges and how should the relationship we foster with our young audience adapt to include toys?
Traditionally regulatory bodies, like OfCom in the UK, provide a set of rules to ensure live broadcasting takes into account the likelihood of children being amongst our audiences. However, in a world of on demand TV viewing and consumption on personal devices, how do we ensure the well being and rights of our younger, vulnerable audiences are upheld? How do we ensure privacy and data capture concerns are addressed? Is there an added challenge when it comes to designing connected experiences that has to take into account the potential psychological, developmental and ethical consequences? What are these risks and can they be managed?