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Device-Driven Presentation of Multimedia Content

devices context document mobile

Definition: Device-driven presentation of multimedia content deals with the issue how can multimedia content be made available to end users considering the devices, display characteristics, processing capabilities, and connectivity.

For some time the only way to access and work with digital content was the personal computer or workstation. Not only is the volume of digital content (including text, pictures, audio, video, or other multimedia content) growing, but in particular the variety of devices that are available for presentation of digital content. Thus there is the need to deliver content that is adapted to the different characteristics and capabilities, i.e., delivery context, of the devices. Delivery context as described in is “a set of attributes that characterizes the capabilities of the access mechanism, the preferences of the user and other aspects of the context into which a web page is to be delivered.” Generalizing this definition for any kind of presentation, the main question to be addressed is: how can multimedia content be made available to end users considering the devices, display characteristics, processing capabilities, and connectivity. There are mainly three solutions to this problem: 1) composition of different documents dedicated for presentation on different devices; 2) provision of single media elements and system-driven dynamic selection and merging of these elements into a coherent document/presentation adapted to the delivery context; or 3) use of a highly flexible document model that supports the presentation of the digital content on different devices.

Considering the wide variety of different capabilities and different characteristics of devices composing a separate document for each class of devices is just unacceptable. Provisioning single media elements and developing algorithms that select and merge them into a single document relevant to the delivery context is the first real opportunity to provide context-driven presentation of multimedia content. Projects of this kind are very often single media centered (e.g., delivering text or photos) but there are some novel research approaches aiming at the development of a generic modular framework, e.g. that supports the composition of personalized (i.e., context sensitive) multimedia presentations for multiple devices. The third approach – using a flexible document model that allows to create content once and use it everywhere – has attracted significant research interest: e.g., W3C specifications of document models aiming at support for different devices are SVG Mobile (a model that brings the 2D vector graphics to the mobile web using two profiles: SVG Tiny, suitable for highly restricted devices, and SVG Basic for higher level mobile devices), SMIL 2.1 Mobile Profile (provides support for SMIL presentation within the context of a mobile device), or (X)HTML, which is very often supported by mobile devices as well. The advantages of using the latter type of models are, among others, the easy content development and maintenance using popular authoring tools and well- established support by different devices. Very often the document models are XML-based, which allows XML-based processing techniques. A major drawback of this approach is the resulting complexity for the author since manual authoring of such documents adaptable to different delivery contexts is not feasible without appropriate (WYSIWYG) authoring tools.

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