Monday, May 07, 2001
Collaboration and Multimedia
Changes in computer performance, network bandwidth and storage capacity are rapidly increasing the availability of multimedia, including audio and video, both in real time and on demand. Whether used for distance learning, for tele-meetings and tele-presentations, or even in support of more informal interaction, these new technologies provide many new opportunities. They also present challenges -- for information seekers facing vast quantities of material, for presenters facing unseen audiences (both remote live viewers and future on-demand viewers), and for the designers of the technologies. The Collaboration and Multimedia group at Microsoft Research is focusing on experiments and studies to address the challenges. Areas of experimentation include low-cost capture of audio and video, multimedia browsing and skimming, tele-presentation and tele-meeting technologies and interfaces, and collaborative annotation of multimedia content. In order to understand the technical, behavioral and social factors that are critical to the success of such technologies, we have conducted numerous experiments with prototype systems. These include detailed analysis of ongoing use of multimedia within our company, and experimental use of our technologies in internal training courses, laboratory studies, and distance education trials conducted jointly with university partners. I will review this work, aspects of which have been published in over a dozen recent papers in conferences on multimedia, human-computer interaction, computer supported cooperative work, and the world wide web.