Other Free Encyclopedias » Online Encyclopedia » Encyclopedia - Featured Articles » Contributed Topics from K-O

Multimedia Conferencing

research systems communications support

Definition : Multimedia Conferencing is one of the main building blocks of collaborative multimedia computing today.

It has been repeatedly hailed as on the brink of ubiquity and as a panacea for communications in distributed teams. In this article, we use the term “multimedia conferencing” instead of videoconferencing because the systems discussed in this section integrate multiple media formats into one system, not just video. The multimedia conferencing market is believed to be one of the key markets within the multimedia market segment. Recent developments in multimedia systems and networking technology show that using desktop multimedia conferencing for group decision-making on WANs such as the Internet is feasible. Researchers have often discussed the failure of video to support interpersonal communication.

The merging of workstation technology and real-time computer conferencing has had a significant impact on CSCW and group decision-making and lead to the term “desktop conferencing”. Research on early multimedia conferencing systems such as those developed at AT&T Bell Laboratories, Bellcore, and NEC had as their aim the provision of the facilities found at face-to-face meetings with remote groups. It is generally accepted that computer-supported decision-making and communication results in many changes in communication patterns, greater task orientation and shorter meetings. The main obstacle, we argue in this chapter, is that group problem solving and task accomplishments as well as organizational structure and – process support have never been addressed adequately. Research in communications studies showed that voice is only a little slower than face-to-face communications. This might imply that video is not relevant for effective and efficient communications. Hence, studies provided evidence that the final outcome of any given task is not influenced positively by multimedia conferencing support, although people were happy to use it.

Another promising area in multimedia conferencing research deals with so called “gazeawareness” support. This research deals with the question of how to provide eye contact between conferencing participants. From a social perspective people who use frequent eye contact are perceived as more attentive, friendly, cooperative, confident, mature, and sincere than those who avoid it. The loss of gaze-awareness is one important contributing factor to the failure of multimedia conferencing as a mass tool. Today, systems supporting gaze-awareness are still in their infancy and mostly first research prototypes.

Multimedia Content Adaptation in MPEG-21 [next] [back] Multimedia Authoring - Introduction, Who is the Author?, Authoring Dimensions, Authoring Processes, Movement Oriented Design (MOD), Conclusion

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or