Mobile electronic conferencing system
Harkin, Kathleen Ann
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The confluence of rapid technology developments in microelectronics, telecommunication, computers, networking and displays is making it possible to conceive of systems that offer new ways for people to interact and collaborate. Multi-user networking allows team collaboration for both application development and simulation while hardware and software modularity bring economy of scale. Advances in low power technologies and high energy density storage devices is making it possible to move these technologies off the desk and into the hands of mobile individuals. The human interface to these technologies is still largely unexplored but offers significant potential in applications that have a need for flexibility, improved information flow, and group participation at reduced costs. This objective of this project is to develop a system that will increase performance and reduce costs associated with the interaction and collaboration of people who are remotely located from each other and who are engaged in team-oriented work. The Mobile Electronic Conferencing System (MECS) is designed to solve a problem facing a large (fictitious) manufacturing firm, Macropolis, that has a large percentage of mobile and distributedly located employees who need to confer and share data in real time. Macropolis is not unlike other large corporations that need to find new ways to promote more efficient collaborative work. The concept of MECS is based upon rapidly accelerating trends in microelectronics, displays, telecommunications, computers, information management, etc. that will make it possible to construct an affordable, high value-added system for remote collaboration within the next decade. The approach taken in this project is to design a workable system using technology that is available now. While current technology is limited in bandwidth, resolution, human-computer interfaces, computational speed and energy efficiency for portable equipment, this project shows that a cost effective system can be designed and beneficially used today. The MECS is designed to be modular so that new technologies can be incorporated as they become available. The MECS can also serve as a testbed for evaluating alternatives and to gain a better understanding of human factors issues associated with the efficient use and social acceptability of remote, electronic-based, conferencing in the future.