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CIC Adds ‘Automated Response System’ to Meetings

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PALM SPRINGS, Calif., Jan. 24, 2013—New chairman of the Collision Industry Conference (CIC) George Avery made his opinion very clear: He doesn’t “want to lose sight of what matters to this industry.”

Feedback in past CIC meetings hasn’t been up to the level the conference would like, Avery said Thursday at CIC’s annual planning meeting in Palm Springs, Calif.

This is the main reason there was a new piece of technology sitting on every table as industry professionals filed into the banquet hall at the Palm Springs Hilton. A small remote control, roughly the size of a business card, would give all in attendance an opportunity to weigh in on various issues throughout the day.

Set up through a Canadian company called Data On The Spot (DOTS), the automated response system allows people to vote on issues through multiple-choice options, and then reveals results through real time on the large projection display screens throughout the room.

It’s a chance to make sure voices are heard in an efficient and anonymous way, Avery said in his announcement.

The process of using the new technology started with an early tutorial and a simple vote on the audience’s favorite classic car. (The Ford Pinto finished a disappointing fourth out of four with a paltry 13 percent.) And the new tool was used throughout the day in various forms. Votes were taken on a new list of requirements for “A Level” repair facilities, a document that expanded from CIC’s former list that was first established in 2005.

A decision on the issue was tabled, though, as several questions were raised from the audience. And that was something stressed during the meeting: Those in attendance still have the opportunity to voice their thoughts through the microphones set up throughout the room. The system also does not replace the conference’s open-mic forum. It’s simply intended to be a new tool to gather opinions and information throughout the conference, Avery said.

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