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ESPRIT Project 20102 - ARTIST
Animation package for real-time simulation

Keywords:
Technical - 3-D real-time animation, behaviour definition, 3-D games, simulation, virtual reality, scientific visualisation, 3-D objects, animation and modelling tools, optimised graphics database structures.
User - Developers of 3-D real-time applications (games, simulation, virtual reality, scientific visualisation), entertainment, industry, medicine, military and scientific.
Sector - 3-D real-time applications, games, simulation, virtual reality, scientific visualisation.

Objectives

The aim of the project is to develop an animation package for the development of real-time graphic applications including games, simulation and virtual reality. It will be a fully integrated package that can be used to generate graphics, which are optimally designed for speed, and to define the context-sensitive behaviour of objects used in applications.

The package will solve several problems that are encountered with current systems:

Costs: Current systems run on expensive and dedicated platforms (workstations with high-cost/high-performance graphics cards). In contrast, the ARTIST package will run on a low-cost standard platform (a PC equipped with a relatively inexpensive rendering board). An interface will be provided to run on different graphics boards.

Development time: Animation tools do not incorporate mechanisms for defining context-sensitive behaviour of objects. Virtual reality applications do, but they lack the modelling and animation features. Neither incorporates mechanisms for efficiently linking behaviour and animation. ARTIST will provide a means for defining both the graphics and the context-sensitive behaviour of objects used in a game, simulation or virtual reality application. It will also enable these two aspects of the application to be easily linked, saving development time and improving the product's functionality and consistency.

Speed: Animation and modelling tools do not incorporate automatic optimisation algorithms for defining graphics databases. The ARTIST package will generate graphics database structures that are optimised for speed and which take maximum advantage of the graphics hardware.

Risks: The current risk of being obsolete before reaching the market aimed for (e.g. games, virtual reality or simulation) is high because such markets (especially the games and virtual reality markets) are very dynamic. With current tools, development time is high and therefore time-to-market is as well. The bigger the gap, the bigger the possibility for the competition to introduce new products, gaining market share. ARTIST will reduce the risk involved in the development of new real-time graphics applications, enabling a shorter time-to-market and thus providing an advantage over competition using traditional tools.

The tools being developed in the project will be tested in the development of a 3-D real-time application incorporating a high degree of animation.

Contact Point

Luis Pedro MARZAN

APD (Grupo Sitre)

Poligono Industrial Marconi +34 -91 7985626

Av. Andalucia Km. 10 fax: +34 -91 7977897

E-28021 MADRID E-mail: email removed

Participants Country Role

APD, S.A. E C

ART&MAGIC B P

LISITT E P

NORSK REGNESENTRAL N P

Start Date Duration

01 November 1995 24 months

ESPRIT Project 20304 - ETHOS
Funding programme energy and communications user interactive services (multimedia) field trials (pilot studies) of developed home systems to European HS (EHS) protocols and specifications

Keywords:
Technical - Multimedia gateways, PSTN gateways, external to home power line carrier (external PLC), broadcast radio and TV interface, system interoperability, system safety, EHS power line modem.
User - Tele-action management, electricity load management, multimedia value-added services (VAS).
Sector - Utility pilot studies.

Objectives

ETHOS aims to test customer acceptance of a wide range of multimedia value added services including domestic energy management, home security and appliance and heating control. Over 1000 pilot studies will be carried out in the UK, France, Italy and Denmark.

The services will be developed using the EHS (European Home Systems) standard for in-home communications and will aim to demonstrate the value to the utility of developing two way communications links with customers for value added services and energy management.

The Objectives of the ETHOS project

· Implement DSM (Demand Side Management) functions, using algorithms capable of managing sophisticated tariffs

· Research and develop value-added services which satisfy the needs of the customer.

· Develop systems for integrated load management including energy controllers, TV/PC interfaces and temperature sensors using EHS.

· Develop two way communications gateways to the home.

Value Added Services

The markets for European electricity utilities are currently undergoing a period of change.

In the UK, the advent of the de-regulated market in 1998 together with the potential for new commercial opportunities will mean a great deal more competition amongst utilities. This will allow each utility the opportunity to offer their customers a variety of value-added services which in turn could play a large part in customer loyalty programmes.

In France and Italy, utility interest in offering new services has been driven by technological developments which are seen as opportunities to generate new business and increase profitability.

In Denmark, home energy control is being promoted to improve energy efficiency to address environmental concerns.

Customer value added services such as security, home help for the elderly and energy management systems are just a few of the new services which are being considered within the ETHOS project.

The Benefits of ETHOS are

For the utility to provide:

· Load management capability to facilitate provision of competitive tariffs.

· Value added services such as electricity consumption information, security, home help services etc.

· Energy efficiency services

· An easy to expand and future proof home automation system

· A state of the art electric heating and hot water system

· Remote meter reading

For the user to receive:

· Energy efficiency through flexible and accurate temperature control of their heating system

· Competitive capital and installation costs

· Lower running costs

· A heating and home automation system which is easy to install and programme

· Low maintenance costs

· Ease of expansion with further appliance controls

· Energy efficiency by using energy saving tips and information on consumption and costs

Contact Point

Richard FORMBY

EA Technology Ltd.

Capenhurst E-mail: email removed

UK - CH1 6ES Chester www.fen.bris.ac.uk/elec/ETHOS/EthosBrochure.html

Participants Country Role

EA Technology UK C

SGS Thomson F P

Schneider Electric F P

EDF F P

DEFU DK P

ENEL I P

University of Bristol UK P

Midlands Electricity UK P

SWALEC UK P

Eastern Group UK P

Start Date Duration

20 October 1995 36 months

ESPRIT Project 20339 - MIAOW
Marble advertising over the world

Keywords:
Technical - Distributed multimedia, distributed multimedia applications, multimedia databases.
User - Marble producers, stone building trade companies, architects, building companies.
Sector - Authoring, information retrieval, CSCW, added-value network services.

Objectives

The project aims to develop and assess a distributed multimedia information system for the marble industry and all related professionals. The project was born in response to a general and widespread lack of information among stone building producers and trading companies as well as professionals working in the building industry (such as builders, architects and interior designers).

The world market for marble, granite and stone is one of the largest and most complex markets. Countries in the European Union quarry, process and export marble, granite and stone on a large scale, meeting two thirds of the world's demand. Nowadays, there is considerable use of marble, granite, and stone in buildings; all over the world, airport buildings, banks, hotels, shopping centres and many other structures are coated with these building materials.

The system developed in this project has resulted in a set of information servers which convey, enrich, correlate and ensure the reliability of information concerning stone building materials, making it available to potential clients all over the world in a timely and cost-effective way. Moreover, the system provides a basis for business and for co-operation on technical matters.

Today, the business process that characterises the marble market can be summarised in terms of the main players as follows:

· The marble producers, whose primary interest is to quarry and process the materials, and who sell their products through trading companies;

· Architects, building companies, interior designers, and other professionals, who need to find the most suitable materials for realising their concepts and designs in practice.

· Trading companies, who act as an interface between customers (building projects and architects) and stone building suppliers, and who also act as consultants who can guide customers toward the best choice of materials in terms of physical characteristics, costs, availability, and other factors.

The drawback with the above is that all the exchanges of information involved are currently based on personal acquaintances, periodic international trade-fairs, and brochures and catalogues of materials. No one of these vehicles supports sufficiently widespread, up-to-date and reliable dissemination of information.

The innovative value of MIAOW lies in its ability to overcome these limitations. Using existing state-of-the-art network technologies, the system features:

· Distributed multimedia databases in order to store the different raw media and their relationships according to well-defined conceptual schemes.

· A system-wide interrogation environment which provides end-users with a means of obtaining the information they need by enabling them to fully exploit an integrated set of traditional database querying and information retrieval functions.

· A resource manager who takes care of on-the-fly creation of the hypermedia publications and their interconnecting links in response to end-users' requests (covering both direct queries and those arising from hyperlink navigation).

· A co-operative working environment which enables end-users to get into direct contact with companies providing/trading in the materials concerned; it also includes a set of communication services varying from off-line E-mail services to on-line video and audio conferencing.

Contact Point

Mr. Vincenzo Diodato

Intecs Sistemi S.p.A

Via L. Gereschi 32

I-56127 PISA E-mail: email removed

http://www.pisa.intecs.it/projects/miaow/intro.html

Participants Country Role

Intecs Sistemi SpA I C
INTRACOM S.A. GR P
CNR-IEI I A
International Marble

Enterprise S.n.c. I P
GOVERNOR S.a.r.l F A

Start Date Duration

01 November 1995 24 months

ESPRIT Project 20340 - CATS
Computer aided theatrical score

Keywords:
Technical - Real-time 3-D graphics, character animation, animation, speech synthesis and analysis.
User - Theatrical, television, film and advertising production, actors, stage, score, performance production.
Industrial application - Creation and evaluation of staging models for theatrical, television and other performances.

The project aims to develop a system for creating and evaluating staging models of all sorts of performances in the theatrical, television, film and advertising industries. The models will be of use before the production process starts as well as during production.

CATS is an open, cost-effective, interactive, 3-D multimedia system which provides the world of entertainment with a high level user- and task-oriented interface. The interface can be used to create, maintain and evaluate staging models of a performance, plan and evaluate production costs, and provide a virtual presentation of the performance to potential sponsors and producers (using real-time audio-visual simulation).

The project will provide professionals who are not computer experts with a set of tightly integrated tools to support performance preparation, significantly reducing pre-production costs and production risks.

Although inspired by the theatre, itself the father of multimedia, one of the main aims of the project is to provide support for design, evaluation and presentation of a wide range of "shows" (drama, operetta, musical comedy, dance, cinema and television, theatre and television variety shows, commercial promotion, and public ceremonies, among others).

The system will enable all the elements of a show to be defined along with their dynamics (i.e. the actors' gestures, movements and voices, along with environmental sounds, music, lights, furnishings and other aspects of the performance). An audio-visual real-time simulation of the show will enable the user to evaluate the performance from an artistic point of view. A specific environment will enable the user to evaluate costs and resource allocations. The user will then be able to modify some aspects of the show or cut parts that are too expensive, with an immediate check on what the result will look like. It will be possible to repeat the process several times until the desired result is obtained. Finally, it will be possible to export the show models to more sophisticated animation or rendering tools for promotion and presentation.

The aim is to develop a PC-based, cost-effective, interactive system that integrates potentially heterogeneous software modules and data from the audio-visual and speech domains. The use of special hardware will be limited in order to contain the cost of the reference workstation. However, some special-purpose boards will be considered, especially for real-time 3-D simulation and support for text-to-speech synthesis. If such boards are used, preference will be given to boards that are fully compatible with standard PC architecture in order to transparently exploit the constantly increasing computational power of PCs.

The user-interface will be a critical aspect of the system because of the intrinsic complexity of the functionality’s provided and because the system has to be accepted and used by people who are not computer experts. The consortium includes final users from three different communities who will contribute to the definition of the user-interface. Moreover, other potential customers outside the consortium will be involved in the evaluation of the specification of the system functionality and of the prototype system.

The project is planned to last 30 months and will produce a consolidated version of the CATS system and three pilot applications (three performances) developed using the system; these will be in the areas of cinema and television, theatre, and drama school.

Contact Point

Vincenzo DIODATO

INTECS SISTEMI SpA

Via Livia Gereschi 32

I-56127 Pisa E-mail: email removed

http://www.pisa.intecs.it/projects/cats/description.html

Participants Country Role

INTECS SISTEMI I C

APD E P

Geod Clips Lab F P

Union des Theatres de l'Europe F P

CNR CNUCE I A

artec E A

Institut del Theatre E A

Lliure E A

Le Jour/La Nuit F A

Start Date Duration

01 December 1995 30 months

ESPRIT Project 20372 - METODOC
Methodology and tools for multimedia documentation and electronic catalogues

Keywords:
Technical - Multimedia retrieval, multimedia database management system, electronic publishing, technical documentation, HTML
User - Technical authors and publishers (acquisition and authoring), service and after sales (information retrieval).
Industrial application - Manufacturing and automotive, prepress and publishing companies.

METODOC is providing an integrated methodology and toolkit for the development of multimedia-based technical documentation and electronic publishing.

The toolkit of components for technical documentation and electronic publishing integrates available tools in a user-friendly and homogenous environment. It allows, among others, the integration of multimedia elements into electronic publishing (e.g. videos of complex repair processes in electronic service manuals).

A methodology for the whole process of production has been developed that leads to the automation of the development of technical documentation: the content is made digital as early as possible and kept digital as long as possible.

Innovative, high-quality user access and retrieval mechanisms are available.

The METODOC project took a user-driven approach. The iterative development of the components has been strongly influenced by detailed user specifications. Moreover, three pilot applications have demonstrated the applicability of the components. Feedback from the experiences in the pilot development has influenced the final components. Standards and existing tools have been taken into account. The final result is an integrated system of METODOC components and multimedia database management systems solving the problems of the technical documentation.

Contact Point

Michael Kicherer tel +49-7031-626 7174

Hewlett-Packard Consulting fax +49-7031-626 7207

Hewlett-Packard GmbH E-mail: email removed

Posener Straße 1

D-71065 Sindelfingen

http://www.hp.com:80/tis

http://www.metodoc.com/dev/computing/metodoc/overview/overview.html

Participants Country Role

Hewlett-Packard GmbH D C

EXODUS S.A. GR P

Mozart S.p.A. I P

Fraunhofer Gesellschaft / IAO e.V. D P

DALMINE S.R.l. I P

FESTO KG D P

COMPUPRESS GR P

tekom e.V. D A

Start Date Duration

01 November 1995 24 months

ESPRIT Project 20460 - COPEARMS
Co-ordinating project for electronic authors' rights management systems

Keywords:
Technical - Standards, ERMS (Electronic Right Management System).
User - IPR (Intellectual Property Rights), copyright, information society.
Industrial application - Technology transfer, service provision

The primary objective is to assist the RTD projects concerned with IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) management and co-financed by the European Commission. The aim is to do this by taking advantage of the experience gained in an earlier ESPRIT Project, CITED (EP 5469, Copyright In Transmitted Electronic Documents ) as well as in other related projects such as COPYSMART (EP 20517). This supports the development and implementation of interoperable IPR ERMS (Electronic Right Management Systems). A related objective is to co-operate with the RTD projects in a standardisation process that is necessary to permit interoperability among different ERMS.

These objectives have been met through the following processes:

· an identification and feasibility study of co-operation with the RTD projects concerned, including an analysis of their business cases

· transfer of the CITED and COPYSMART technical expertise and technology for rapid implementation of ERMS

maintenance and upgrade of the CITED ERMS reference model

· examination of legal IPR issues and legal framework for ERMS

· preparation of pre-standards in the area of IPR identifiers and EDI/ERMS messages

· organisation of ERMS proficiency centres and of ERMS technology and standards SIGs (Special Interest Groups) and workshops in Europe.

COPEARMS actively co-operates with IMPRIMATUR (EP 20676), another "horizontal" project in the IPR domain aiming at a world wide consensus-building process within the information industry. COPEARMS participates in the business and legal SIGs and workshops held by IMPRIMATUR and in feeding into the electronic communication network that is managed by IMPRIMATUR.

The assistance services offered by COPEARMS continue after the project termination on a commercial basis.

Contact Point

Mr Dominique Spaey
Bureau van Dijk
Avenue Louise, 250 - Box 14 fax
B- 1050 Brussels E-mail: email removed
Belgium http://www.ifla.org/ifla/copearms

Participants Country Role

BUREAU VAN DIJK B C

ONERA F P

CISAC F P

C.R.I.D. B P

EURITIS F P

IFLA UK P

LEVEL-7 UK P

Start Date Duration

01 November 1995 36 months

ESPRIT Project 20517 - COPYSMART
CITED based multi-media IPR management on cost effective smart device

Keywords:
Technical - CITED model, Public Key Infrastructure, cryptography, Smart Card, TTP.
User - Internet, multimedia, copyright, author rights, information society.
Industrial application - Digital broadcasting, IPR management, media usage monitoring, tele-training, electronic payment, Education, Electronic commerce, TTP.

The CopySmart project has led to the implementation of a software and hardware suite geared to manage Trust, Security and IPR within a Public Key Infrastructure.

This generic solution is aimed at building specific operational solutions for Electronic commerce of contents, Internet kiosks, Media usage monitoring, Cooperative engineering, IPR management, ...

The fast expansion of wide information networks like Internet and the introduction of digital broadcasting technology has brought forward the problem of on line management of copyrights, access control, usage monitoring, trust building, proof building, content transmission, Trusted third parties, and payment protocols for digital multimedia material.

Once published it is difficult to monitor the use, manipulation and distribution of digital information and to guarantee the enforcement of related rights. This issue needed to be addressed for the development of the information society, for the creation of business and services on open networks and for the protection of the European cultural heritage.

The PC environment has currently the most urgent needs: millions of PC users are connected to network servers and use removable storage media, such as CD-ROMs for leisure and business. Most of the security architectures already in use are proprietary or related to specific domains. Copysmart has built an architecture which is application independent, content independent and network independent suitable for any business sector.

Based on previous work, undertaken in the CITED project and using the security technology made available by cards and Public Key Infrastructures, the final CopySmart offers a complete package in a trusted infrastructure for customizing and deploying specific solutions for Copyright management and digital works protection in heterogeneous computing environments (Web, Local Area Network or stand-alone PCs). The complete solution, targeting the PC environment, includes the following elements in accordance with the CopySmart commercial offer and terminology:

• CMS/TS: CopySmart Trusted Server , a packaged suite of services for deploying a customized public key infrastructure on networks. CSM/TS allows for registration and authentication of agents and digital contents, information flow regulation, dynamic negotiation of rights, system auditing, metering, on-line payment, notarization of operations, service relaying.

• CSM/SD: CopySmart Secure Device , a PC software which builds a trusted secure workspace on the user’s workstation. User authentication relies on a smart card enabled PKI which creates a trusted link between the user workstation and the Trusted Server. The CSM/SD locally monitors usage of contents and applications, content transmission, as well as OS tasks monitoring, keyboard piloting, secure boot, ..

In addition to these results, PHOENIX developed a " secured BIOS " through which peripherals which are physically present on a system can be selectively disabled and hidden from the operating system, depending on a global user profile defining the access rights of a user to a particular machine and additional restrictions that can be defined by an application.

Three pilot implementations have demonstrated benefits and robustness of Copysmart. A teletraining application for a University, an online right renewal application for a professional business directory cd-rom ,and a library reading room control system.

Contact Point

Jean-François Boisson / Jennifer Gadenne
Euritis
Technopole de Château-Gombert Fax
Europarc Bât. C E-mail: email removed

F - 13013 Marseille

Participants Country Role

GEMPLUS F C

EURITIS F P

BUREAU VAN DIJK B P

BRITISH LIBRARY UK P

OPEN UNIVERSITY OF THE NETHERLANDS NL P
PHOENIX UK A

Start Date Duration

01 December 1995 27 months

ESPRIT Project 20521 - MORIS
Motorcycle rider simulator

Keywords:
Technical - Virtual reality, inertial feedback, computer graphics, real-time systems, parallel architecture, binaural interfaces, two-wheeler.
User - Two-wheeler design, two-wheeler testing, two-wheeler rider training, human factors and psychophysics research.
Industrial application - Arcade games, two-wheeler industry, high rendering computer graphics, real-time applications, simulator industry.

Objectives

The purpose of the project was to develop a two-wheeled vehicle simulator system. In the operational system, the human operator is seated on a mock-up of a two-wheeled vehicle. A screen in front of the operator and a special helmet provides respectively graphical and acoustical representation of various simulated scenarios. The mock-up is moved by an actuation system that will provide consistent inertial feedback. The operator has the ability to exercise several control actions, i.e. steering, braking, throttling, and weight shifting, as on a real motorcycle. A model computational unit performs the integration in the time domain of a complete set of non-linear dynamic equations of motion, providing the input values to a real-time system governing the control of the various subsystems of the simulator.

The mathematical model of the system dynamics is completely parametric, so that it is possible to use the simulator as a design tool. It is also possible to acquire data on motorcycle manoeuvrability at the design stage, before making any running prototype. This approach takes into account, not only the vehicle characteristics, but also the rider’s interaction and control, which very often play a crucial role.

Other forms of exploitation can be envisaged, including marketing and publicity, ride training, and human factors research, while some subsets could also be marketed as arcade games. The dissemination of the results should have various spin-offs, since the hardware and software tools that will be created could be used in various other industrial and research activities.

Contact Point

Mr Paolo Ancilotti

Scuola Superiore S. Anna tel +39 –050 88 33 13

Via Carducci 40 fax +39 –050 88 32 15

I- 56100 Pisa http://www.sssup.it

Participants Country Role

Scuola Superiore S.Anna I C

PIAGGIO V.E.s.p.a. I P

Halmstad University S P

HEAD Acoustics GmbH D P

Humanware s.r.l. I P

Ruhr-Universitaet Bochum D P

Start Date Duration

01 December 1995 39 months

ESPRIT Project 20574 - MIMICS
Multiparty interactive multimedia conferencing services

Keywords:
Technical - Multipoint control unit (MCU), ISDN, ITU-T.120.
User - Multipoint desktop multimedia conferencing, multipoint conferencing services, Web conferencing services.
Industrial application - Environmental emergency management, tele-assistance, remote repair.

There is a great possibility that multimedia, multiparty communication will become a key factor in the success of many parties, including information technology providers, telecom operators, service providers and end users. It will be able to improve the quality of work at reduced costs. In the long term, multiparty communication is expected to have an impact in homes for applications such as education, leisure, and interactive group games, among others.

Current use of multimedia is largely limited to standalone implementation or to a limited use of communication capabilities. The main commercial applications are found in the areas of CBT, kiosks, video telephony and desktop conferencing. In all these areas, users find insufficient network inter-working capabilities, insufficient availability of multiparty services and insufficient effective tools for multimedia communication.

The main objective of the MIMICS Project is to provide an innovative hardware and software platform for multiparty communication. In particular, the system will provide the hardware and software for the management of Multipoint communication. The hardware will include user terminals and Multipoint Control Units (MCUs) which will fully conform to the T.120 series of standards. The software modules will include APIs and Application Services.

In addition, the Project aims to experiment with the creation of service centres that offer multimedia conferencing services both to generic users who simply need communication facilities and to specialised users.

It also aims to experiment with the use of the hardware and software platform in two trial applications: An Emergency Management System will be experimented with and validated in regard to the provision of civic services in two field trials, one in Italy and one in Scotland. A second trial will be organised by Agusta for the remote assistance of helicopters.

The project will also promote European-led standards for the new technology in Cupertino with other projects. Partners will have an active role in the ITU and IMTC (International Multimedia Teleconferencing Consortium) standardisation bodies.

The objectives of the project will be pursued by an approach based on a heavy investment in the key technologies and on the integration of existing modules whenever possible, from the hardware level up to the Application Programming Interface (API). The partners will extend the available modules wherever their functionality is not sufficient. They will provide the modules that are necessary for the integration of the different components.

The project will take an approach that is user- and market-driven. To this end, (1) user requirements will be collected in order to define system functionality, (2) the developments will be based on existing European and international standards, where they apply, (3) developments will be based on products that partners are already commercialising, and (4) a continuous monitoring of evolution in the market will be performed.

The partners developing applications will achieve exploitation of the results, software tool kits and networks services, which are in accordance with international standards but also offer the possibility of differentiation and tailoring to specific market sectors. Industrial partners in the project are already commercialising products for multimedia communication and they intend to use the project results in order to develop their offerings further. Users are participating in the project because the existing products have demonstrated their limits in addressing their specific needs, and they are fully committed to exploiting the project results. The consortium members intend to start exploiting results even during the project by commercialising intermediate results, as they become available.

Contact Point

Mr. Paolo SPINELLI

Olivetti MULTImedia tel +39-050 944 299

Via Malagoli, 12 fax +39-050 944 243

I-56124 Pisa E-mail: email removed

Participants Country Role

Olivetti I C

British Telecom UK P

Agusta I P

Albanet I A

PIN A

TKE A

Start Date Duration

01 December 1995 38 months

ESPRIT Project 20597 - CHAMELEON
An authoring environment for adaptive multimedia documents

Keywords:
Technical - multimedia meta-documents, hypermedia authoring, network based multimedia.
User - multimedia, hypermedia.
Industrial application - Multimedia publishing, multimedia kiosks, computer-based training, cultural heritage/tourism.

The purpose of the project is to define and implement a support tool for multimedia authoring and presentation in the context of professional publishing, cultural heritage, tourism and computer-based training. The prime objectives are to define and implement an industrial prototype of a multimedia authoring tool which provides support for the production of durable multimedia documents and which supports the notions of detail-based, content-based, quality-based, resource-based and format-based projections of a single meta-document.

The tool will be a development of an existing research prototype which will be ported to a mass market operating system environment and which will be expanded to meet the needs of the target industries. Some of the additional functions to be developed were identified before the start of the project and others will be defined during the course of the project. This will be done in two ways: through a series of trials by users who will be selected to be representative of the target markets, and through market watch activities. The existing research prototype will form the basis for developing the additional functionality, which is aimed for, and then the functions will be ported to the industrial prototype.

The major result of the project is intended to be the industrial prototype. This will be a prototype of an authoring and presentation tool, which allows hypermedia, documents to be created by content owners and presented on low-cost end-user platforms. This end product will allow scaleable, network-based access to multimedia data on a variety of end-user platforms. This end product will be exploited directly and in conjunction with consultancy services based on the know-how gained during the project.

Secondary results of the project are planned to be the information systems applications and products developed during the user trials. These will be exploited directly by the users involved. Further exploitation, particularly in the publishing and kiosk areas, is anticipated to arise from post-project use of the enhanced tool to create further information systems applications and products.

A further result of the project is expected to be an enhanced version of the original research prototype, which will be of value in the research activities at CWI and RAL, which will continue after the end of the project.

Contact Point

Jack Donald

Cartermill International

Technology Centre

St Andrews

Fife, Scotland

UK-KY16 9EA E-mail: email removed

Participants Country Role

Cartermill International Limited UK P

Epsilon Software SA GR P

Cycnos Software Ouverts, SA FR P

Comunicacion Interactiva, SL ES P

Stichting Mathematisch Centrum NL P

Egnatia Epirus Foundation GR A

Council for the Central Laboratory

of the Research Councils UK A

Start Date Duration

01 November 1995 36 months

ESPRIT Project 20636 - EUROMEDIA
Distributed multimedia archives for cooperative TV production

Keywords:
Technical - Multimedia database, video indexing, image processing, networks
User - Broadcasters, publishers, multimedia producers, service providers
Industrial application - Media production, media exchange, service provision, (semi)automatic indexing, archives, catalogues

The EUROMEDIA project applies digital multimedia technologies to large-scale media archives and to media exchange between content providers' sites. The tools and standards developed in EUROMEDIA make access to digital multimedia archives more effective and more efficient. EUROMEDIA results are relevant to broadcasters, publishers, multimedia producers and service providers.

For purposes of documentation and retrieval, large-scale media archives today usually employ textual descriptions of the original media objects' contents. While these textual descriptions are accessible via networked EDP systems, the media objects themselves usually are stored separately on film or tape. In order to view or use the media objects, the storage media need to be transported or telecopied.

To overcome the limitations of this approach, EUROMEDIA designs large-scale, digital multimedia archives accessible via local and wide area networks. For these digital multimedia archives, EUROMEDIA provides advanced tools for video indexing, video abstracting and video sequence navigation based on image processing. These tools are very well suited for professional applications in media production.

The EUROMEDIA System includes

an integrated essence and metadata management system providing open interfaces and the possibility to distribute essence and metadata even over remote sites,

a set of services, such as automatic video analysis, key frame selection and storyboard creation ,

applications to support digitisation, cataloguing, retrieval, browsing and rough cut of video objects, and

the integration of existing systems, such as existing documentation systems.

EUROMEDIA not only aims at making digital media archiving and exchange technically feasible, but also at making it easier in operational and administrative terms. Therefore, EUROMEDIA contributes to ongoing standardisation efforts, such as the SMPTE Metadata Directory, in order to facilitate open access and information exchange between various systems. EUROMEDIA itself is the overall integration platform to link these various systems together.

EUROMEDIA strictly employs available technology; the overall objective is not so much the development of new technologies, but the adaptation of available technologies to professional applications and to the needs of the user group in focus. To cope with the limitations of today's digital mass storage media and data compression technologies, EUROMEDIA supports the overall workflow, from digitisation to cataloguing, retrieval, browsing, rough cut and EDL exchange with professional editing systems, in preview quality, while guaranteeing that the preview quality material is frame–accurately linked to the production quality material.

To ensure that new methods, formats and algorithms are developed with clear focus on user requirements, EUROMEDIA prototypes are constantly tested at the application partners' sites and integrated into the media production workflow.

Contact Point

Dr. Peter THOMAS

TECMATH GmbH

Digital Media

Sauerwiesen 2 E-mail: email removed

D-67661 Kaiserslautern http://www.foyer.de/euromedia/

Participants Country Role

TECMATH D C

DEC - CEC KARLSRUHE D P

Südwestfunk D P

Helix 5 NL P

Süddeutscher Rundfunk D A

British Broadcasting Corporation UK A

Österreichischer Rundfunk A A

Sveriges Television S A

EMPTIC P A

Instituto Trentino di Cultura I A

Start Date Duration

01 November 1995 36 months

ESPRIT Project 20638 - VENIVA
Venetian virtual archives

Keywords:
Technical - Multimedia object server, distributed database, hypertextual interface, document archiving, document retrieval, Internet services.
User - Librarian, archivists, managers, researchers, students.
Industrial application - Public sector, banking, insurance, finance, publishing, manufacturing.

Objectives

Document archives are typically stored on paper. In the next 20 years, both in the public and the private sectors (such as public administration, banking, insurance and finance), it will become impossible to handle them this way because of their increasing size. One possible solution will be to put all future information into electronic archives. The aim of the VENIVA project was to set up a pilot application of a virtual archive with a hypertextual interface that should become, through the implementation of the complete set of activities, an extensive example of such an information system, one that could be an answer to the growing needs of the sectors mentioned above.

The major technical objective of the project was to integrate different technologies into a single system. These include such technologies as geographically distributed databases, MINERS hypermedia interfaces, and full-text retrieval systems. In this respect, the project used results obtained in the previous MINERS Project (EP 6530). That project successfully investigated the integration of hypertext and database technologies. The MINERS results have been applied and extended, with new features added. The project also tested a network connection between the different sites of the Virtual Archive. The network service is implemented through a background system of launch, search and forget. In addition, it is expected that the services will be extended to Internet WWW users by providing them with powerful features for exporting x-Mosaic sub-products. The pilot service includes indexing of the objects, scanning of images, development of the electronic platform, creation of the network, planning and/or use of all the software required, and selection of the hardware.

The core idea of the VENIVA pilot application is remote access of documents (paper documents, hand-written and printed books, drawings, maps) preserved in Venice, Corfu, Crete and Vienna. More precisely, it provides virtual access to:

· documents and images belonging to Notaries of Candia and Duke of Candia archives (1240-1706); these are held in the Record Office of Venice (the world's biggest and most prestigious archive, containing 90 kilometres of shelves of records which are the ancient archives of the Serenissima, the documents belonging to the central and peripheral offices and the notary records)

· historical documents of the National Archives of Greece

· iconographic collections of sketches, drawings and maps of Crete preserved by Marciana Library of Venice, such as the journal of the War of Candia (1637-1669)

· documents from the Record Office of Vienna.

From an application point of view, the historical archives, once integrated and accessible as a unit, constitute a single virtual archive available from any point connected to the system from anywhere. The pilot is being used as a test-bed for a new management system for innovative services to be offered by libraries and archives, which will facilitate dissemination of cultural heritage by enabling remote access.

Contact Point

Alvise DE MICHELIS
MARSILIO EDITORI S.p.A.
Marittima Fabbricato fax
I - 30100 Venezia E-mail: email removed

http://www.tin.it/marsilio/veniva.home.htm

Participants Country Role

MARSILIO EDITORI I C

INTRACOM GR P

MULTIMEDIA CENTRE GR P

SYSTEMS & MANAGEMENT I P

TECHNISCHE UNIVERSITÄT A P

LAMBRAKIS FOUNDATION GR A

MUSIC/TUC GR A

BIBLIOTECA NAZIONALE MARCIANA I A

UFFICIO CENTRALE BENI ARCHIVISTICI I A

GENERAL ARCHIVES OF GREECE GR A

ÖSTERREICHISCHES STAATSARCHIVE A A

Start Date Duration

01 November 1995 24 months

ESPRIT Project 20642 - VIP
Virtual plane

Keywords:
Technical - Horizontal planes, rear-projection, liquid crystal spectacles, stereo headsets, virtual reality, augmented reality, 3-D interactive images.
User - Architects, medical professionals, games players.
Industrial application - Architectural projections, design and testing of medical implants, arcade games.

The VIP is a horizontal stereoscopic interactive device. It combines in a compact solution a horizontal rear projection display and a 3D interactive environment

Wearing lightweight active matrix LCD shutter glasses, users can see computer generated 3D images rising from a horizontal solid surface. This enhanced stereoscopic effect, together with real time object interaction and stereo audio effects, turn the VIP into a semi-immersive cost-effective virtual environment.

The horizontal rear projection display integrates a BARCO BG 808s rear projector with all necessary optical elements and electronics within a nicely designed cabinet carrying a 67" screen at 94 cm height from the floor. It can be powered by any external graphics engine, including PC based workstations, and can be customised according to specific user requirements.

The 3D interactive environment is made of three separate software modules: 3DALF, I/O Server and Sound Server, a pair of LCD shutter glasses and an optical tracking system. The three software modules are C/C++ software development libraries. 3DALF provides the capability of generating three-dimensional objects on a horizontal surface and runs on OpenGL. A specific version is also available for WorldToolKit.

The I/O Server is a two-module system providing the capability of using several input devices mounted on a remote PC from a platform-independent workstation.

The Sound Server is a software client/server package that provides the capability of playing multiple audio waveforms at the same time with real time FX filters applied and sound localisation. Virtual prototyping, surgery planning, project presentation, training and education are only a few of the activities that can benefit of the VIP technology.

Contact Point

Prof. Francesco GARDIN

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE SOFTWARE Spa

Amministrazione tel +39-02 280141

Via Esterle 9, fax +39-02 2610853

I-21032 Milano E-mail: email removed

Participants Country Role

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE SOFTWARE I C

ART & MAGIC B P

A. SAVIOLI I P

UDAC S P

COMPUTER GRAPHICS CENTER (ZGDV e.V.) D P

BARCO B P

UPPSALA PROSTHODONTIC CLINIC S A

Start Date Duration

01 December 1995 24 months

ESPRIT Project 20676 - IMPRIMATUR
Intellectual Multimedia Property Rights Model and Terminology for Universal Reference

Keywords: IPR (Intellectual Property Rights), Copyright, ECMS (Electronic Copyright Management System), Standards, Information Society

IMPRIMATUR was established to study the challenge of Multimedia Rights Clearance in networks. Representing the interests of content providers, users, IT and telecom companies, the IMPRIMATUR consortium brings together European and American participants in a major programme of information gathering, systems proving and consensus building.

Project Goal

To agree, within a forum representing the widest range of information industry organisations, a swift and practical response based on a mutual understanding of the problems arising at the interface between lT, telecommunications and IPRs; and to identify and develop a set of tools to address those problems in the business, technological, standards and legal areas.

Project Process

Clearing rights in the Multimedia environment is an issue causing difficulties for both content providers and users. Content providers wish to preserve their traditional rights structure and business models while users wish to have a system of rights clearance that is both simple and cost effective for the production of new multimedia products. Also involved in the debate are the IT and Telecom providers whose products and services are both enabling and profiting from the multimedia revolution.

The IMPRIMATUR project has designed a methodology for a series of Special Interest Groups in the Business, Legal, Technical and Standards areas to solicit opinion from a very wide range of players in the Information Society. The consensus building process is further enhanced by a series of major international conferences.

The first of these, held in London November 1996, looked at various legal issues through the value chain. The second in Stockholm, May 1997, concentrated on business issues for the future and the third ‘Rights, Limitations and Exceptions: Striking a Proper Balance’ was held in Amsterdam, October 1997. Two further conferences are planned to address the economics of electronic trading and contractual issues. A full Report is published following each conference.

In addition to the consensus building work of the project, IMPRIMATUR is also developing ECMS software to demonstrate the evolving consensus. This open, internet accessible system is implemented on a multimedia server located at the University of Florence and embodies a business model based on current practice in the light of the consensus-building process. The IMRIMATUR prototype was first demonstrated at EITC 96 in Brussels in November 1996. The system is further implemented to conduct a series of external trials for ECMS.

The project has produced a CD-ROM, which has an animated demonstration of the business model. It also has an interactive WWW site, which is up-dated regularly, on which is posted information about the progress of the project, along with announcements of SIG meetings and conferences. There is also an active link-mail for anyone interested in the copyright issues to participate in.

IMPRIMATUR co-operates, where appropriate, with related ESPRIT projects .

Contact Point

Mrs Janet Hurrell

ALCS

Marlborough Court

14-18 Holborn

UK - London EC1 E-mail: email removed

Web site: http://www.imprimatur.alcs.co.uk

Participants Country Role

ALCS UK C

CISAC F P

EUSIDIC L P

IFPI UK P

TELES D P

TELIA S P

BERTELSMANN D A

BRITISH LIBRARY UK A

CROFT COMMUNICATION CONSULTANTS UK A

DIGICASH NL A

DIGITAL COPYRIGHT FORUM USA A

UNIVERSITY OF AMSTERDAM

(Institute for Information Law) NL A

TAGISH Ltd UK A

UNIVERSITA FIRENZE I A

MCOS UK A

Start Date Duration

01 December 1995 36 months

ESPRIT Project 20718 - TISSUS
A market place for textile images and patterns

Keywords:
Technical - Image bank of textile design, Public Key infrastructure and Trusted Third party, Smart card, End to end security, IPR management, Electronic Commerce of contents
User – Multimedia, Textile designers, textile manufacturers, MM publishers
Industrial application - Textile industry, fashion, clothing., Design, Electronic Commerce of contents

The global objective of the project was to set up an Electronic Commerce server for textile designs with strong IPR management. Textiles designs are build in 4 image banks with high and low resolutions. The system is intended to assist textile design owners to place their design collections on the Net ,and to support creative process of textile designers by offering them : a wide collections of historical textile information and images, and an online reservation system to be granted for exclusive rights to use the design for a period of time. A TTP will be set up to secure the business among the content providers and with the purchasers.

From the point of view of customers (textile enterprises, mainly SMEs and micro-enterprises), the Tissus bank is intended to provide cost-effective and attractive services, providing them access to:

· a virtually infinite textile collection by interconnecting a set of existing collections

· information and products through Internet.

From the point of view of the providers of collections (museums, schools, associations), the Tissus bank ensures a wider audience, and financial return in the form of royalties received whenever the information is commercialised.

The project relies on:

· the technical and market background of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Lyon, which has operated a textile image bank commercially since 1994.

· previous results from CITED (EP 5469) and COPYSMART (EP ), to deal efficiently with copyright and security management for Electronic Commerce platform for intangible materials.

Three specific objectives were defined to measure the outcomes of the project:

· To conceive and prototype the Tissus bank, the reservation server and the textile catalogue

· To meet end-user satisfaction in such a new business model

· To assess the commercial viability of the bank and to define future exploitation plan.

In order to reach them, the consortium brought together IT service providers and textile content owners, having very important and of a greatest interest collections, with the aims to jointly implement such textile bank and reservation server , and to provide online services with the system.

The TISSUS project results has set-up an Internet platform providing, after user registration, two level of services (public and added value services with restricted access), a strong access control and usage monitoring, a full text database querying using a textile multilingual thesaurus, and images display in different formats (thumbnails, medium size and full screen).

The commercial offering is based on a textile catalogues with thumbnail images on both Web and cd-rom, an internet secure reservation server with IPR management, and various high definition image banks with watermarking and encryption for security. Commercial access is performed through the use of smart card entering a public key Infrastructure and a trusted environment.

The commercial exploitation of TISSUS is under the leadership of EURITIS (F) with the active contribution of the Tissus Museum of the Chamber of Commerce of Lyon (F) and R&S Informatica (I).

Tissus was awarded by EUROCHAMBRE 1998 as an innovative Electronic Commerce Application and receives the President award.

Contact Point

Mr Jean-François BOISSON
EURITIS
12, avenue des Prés
F-78180 Montigny le Bretonneux E-mail: email removed

Participants Country Role

SELISA F C

Chambre de Commerce & d'Industrie

de LYON F P

R&S INFORMATICA I P

EPSILON GR P

CYCNOS F P

EURITIS F A

ENSCI/ANAT F A

LYON TEXTILE MUSEUM F A

CENTRO VOLTA I A
CONSORZIO PISA RICERCHE I A

BENAKI MUSEUM GR A

Start Date Duration

01 October 1995 27 months

ESPRIT Project 20772 - MILLION
Multimedia interactive leading life-giving initiative on net

Keywords:
Technical - Worldwide Web database integration, voice tools, Personal Digital, electronic wallet.
User - Local authorities, tourism promotion.
Industrial application - Telematic tourist services, electronic payment, Internet voice customer service.

This project has resulted in the delivery of a consumer-oriented system for developing the tourist potential of European cities by providing communications-based services to a significant sample of people in selected geographic areas and by making what the involved areas have to offer the tourist known to the largest possible community of networked users: the Internet. MILLION is based on the "phenomenon" of "civic networking", in progress in several cities in the EU (as in Bologna and in Venice), and aims to build systems which will make it possible to move on from giving civic information to citizens at no charge to providing services to the consumer for payment, first of all in the field of tourism.

The communication services offered can be classified into two main categories:

a) information services given by agencies promoting tourism and by local authorities at no charge; b) information and transaction-based services, offered by private providers for payment.

The whole application was developed as an enhanced and integrated World-wide Web (WWW) server architecture on standard platforms using both existing and new hardware and software technologies. Access through advanced presentation systems with integrated tools are available on all major industry-standard platforms and mobile devices such as Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs). From the technical standpoint, the consortium has addressed the following state-of-the-art issues with regard to the WWW environment:

dynamic links to relational databases

electronic payment

wireless use of WWW browsing on PDAs

issues concerning voice services.

They are considered to be key factors for success for the following reasons:

- Large multimedia databases and unstructured information are to be provided by tour operators, agencies promoting tourism and public authorities. Dynamic linking to external database systems and other IT tools will be developed to enable better real-time access, query and update functionality compared with existing information systems.

- Transactions for services need to find their way through the net in order to enable real home shopping with a single homogeneous interface between customers and providers, avoiding duplicate procedures. Software for electronic payment will be integrated into the system to provide new transaction services.

- True mobility and remote connectivity is a key issue in the domain of emerging and future services. Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) will be used to provide mobile access and flexible tools for use off-line or by wireless connection.

- Services to be provided need a greater degree of contact between provider and consumer than is available today on the net and direct live contact is often needed. New voice and text conferencing technologies embedded in the WWW architecture and external hardware-based technologies such as VocalFax, will be used for specialised customer services, conferencing and guided tours.

The final project achievement was the delivery of a coherent and consistent system integrating the four technologies.

Contact Point

Mirko Labbri

Omega Generation

Via Murri 39 E-mail: email removed

I-40137 Bologna http://www.omega.it/million

Participants Country Role

Omega Generation IT C

Intracom GR P

Touring Club Italiano IT P

Digicash NL P

Venis IT P

MUSIC: Technical University of Crete GR A

Telecooperation Office University

of Karlsruhe D A

Municipality of Bologna IT A

Municipality of Venice IT A

Municipality of Chania GR A

Start Date Duration

01 October 1995 27 months

ESPRIT Project 20799 - HYPERTOUR
A hypermedia platform combining an organisational framework and a methodology for the exploitation and promotion of tourism in the Europe of 2000

Keywords:
Technical - HyTime, MHEG, user-interface, template, asset-handling.
User - Multimedia, application development.
Industrial application - Multimedia publishing, multimedia kiosks, promotion of tourism, cultural heritage, tourism.

The principal aim of Hypertour is to provide a business-centred approach for the production of multimedia applications promoting tourism. The central concept is that the organisational structure is organised in such a way as to enable the applications to be self-financing.

The overall characteristics of the project are:

· Six pilot sites have been developed to address the business and technical aspects of producing and distributing multimedia applications for the promotion of tourism.

· An organisational and business methodology has been tested by which organisations in the tourism industry and other related organisations can establish a business association and provide the funds for the development of multimedia applications for tourism.

· The organisational and business methodology has been validated in each pilot site.

To a great extent the project is based on existing commercial tools as well as existing R&D results. These assets have been used to develop the services required for the creation of multimedia databases for tourism and the development of applications.

The specific objectives within this general framework were:

· To define a general-purpose model for multimedia applications concerned with the promotion of tourism for a given region.

· To develop a User Interface Template Library (UITL) for tourism-related multimedia applications.

· To develop an Asset Handling Facility (AHF) for managing assets involved in the production of tourism-related applications.

· To experiment with tools translating multimedia applications created with commercial authoring tools into one or more of the HyTime, MHEG standards for multimedia interchange.

Work on the project has included the definition of the user and system requirements, involving a detailed marketing analysis for the role of multimedia in tourism and the definition of the final services. The technical development work included the establishment of the UITL (User Interface Template Library ) for tourism applications and the AHF (Asset Handling Facility). The HYPERTOUR business methodology has been developed and used in the project itself, and may also be immediately exploited in other areas. In the final phase of the project, the applications have been distributed geographically and this efficacity has been evaluated by a team of specialists.

Contact Point

Dimitrios FOTIADIS

UNIVERSITY OF IOANNINA tel +30 -651-48123,42914,48131

Dept. of Computer Science fax +30 -651-42914

GR-45100 Ioannina E-mail: email removed

http://www.glen.co.uk/albanet/hyper.html

Participants Country Role

EGNATIA EPIRUS Foundation GR C

EPSILON SOFTWARE S.A. GR P

R & S INFORMATICA SRL I P

Sistemas Multiposto e Distribundos P P

HYPERTOUR USER ASSOCIATION A

Foundation for R&D - HELLAS GR A

ARCHIMIDES LTD. GR A

ALBANET LTD. UK A

HORWATH CONSULTING GR A

Univesidad Politecnica de Madrid E A

ATM Group Europe AB SE A

EURITIS S.A. F A

Gesellscaft für

Wirtschaftsfortschung und

Informationsmanagement mbH D A

D. & G. KALOFOLIAS S.A. GR A

SELISA FR A

Start Date Duration

01 November 1995 24 months

ESPRIT Project 20840 - INTFO
Intelligent multimedia assistant for database synchronisation and integration

Keywords: Business Best Practice Pilot
Technical - Multimedia, decision-support systems, distributed knowledge and database synchronisation and integration, geographic information systems
User - Field operators, operations managers, field data acquisition and maintenance subcontractors
Sector - Utilities, administrations, civil engineering, emergencies management, field maintenance, diagnostics and scheduling

INTFO consists in a flexible multimedia system that organises and improves the synchronisation of data between corporate information systems and portable personal computers used in the field.

INTFO helps:

· the operations managers to organise and allocate tasks to field operatives.

· the systems managers to keep central databases up to date from information provided by staff in the field.

· the field operatives to gather and validate multimedia geographic, alphanumeric and maintenance data (including voice-registered data and photographs) about existing equipment and facilities, and to assist in the inspection, maintenance, operation and modification of equipment.

INTFO is divided in two subsystems. A central host system is running in the local operational control centres and is connected to the corporate information system. A remote client subsystem running on portable computers supports individual users in the field, communicating online with the central host as necessary.

The application is conceived as follows:

1. All existing corporate data (photographs, voice messages, geographic, alphanumeric, operational, maintenance and other data) and related knowledge (rules, norms, constraints and other knowledge) about the company's facilities in a selected zone are downloaded from the central host to the portable PC.

2. When the user visits the zone concerned, the application helps in performing the activities required by providing intelligent multimedia support. New information is generated from such activities. A real-time connection to the central site can be established if necessary, and some procedures can be carried out in a classical client-server mode. Important information (e.g. safety-critical information) can be transferred to the central system using mobile communication links.

3. Once the field operative has returned to the central site, the new field data is used to update the corporate databases, using secure data-integrity assurance methods.

Special attention has been paid to the development of intelligent multimedia assistant modules to facilitate the task of gathering and validating new data, including comparing new information with existing. These modules guide field staff through different operational and maintenance tasks. In order for the system to be user-friendly and easy to learn, multimedia technologies have been applied in the interface design.

The integration of spoken, written and graphical information results in a better and faster understanding of the actions required, augmenting the user’s efficiency and reducing the need for in-depth training. Explanations are provided to the users at their request in order to increase their acceptance of the system. A declarative approach has been used in the design of the system, in order to facilitate customisation of the modules to suit particular applications.

The market potential for INTFO is considerable: utility companies, city councils, civil engineering firms and all companies with widely dispersed installations where field operatives must perform complex operations.

Contact Point

José A. FRIAS

Software AG España, S.A.

Ronda de la Luna, 4
Tres Cantos

E-28760 Madrid E-mail: email removed

http://dpa.sag.es/~ppaa/en/intfo.html

Participants Country Role

SOFTWARE AG ESPANA, S.A. E C

IBERDROLA S.A. E P

EA TECHNOLOGY LTD UK P

TEMARS SpA I P

KAT UNIV. LEUVEN B P

Start Date Duration

1 December 1995 27 months

ESPRIT Project 20855 - INK
Interactive networked kiosks

Keywords:
Technical - Video server, multimedia, real-time video compression, real-time video decompression, ATM network, MPEG encoder/decoder boards, Windows 95 multimedia terminal, Point of Sale, Point of Information, video on demand.
User - Developers of point of sale systems, developers of point of information systems, hotels, department stores, stores, theme parks, museums, passenger transportation companies.
Industrial application - Networked multimedia point of sale or point of information systems.

Objectives

The objective of the INK Project is to develop a system for POS/POI (Point of Sale / Point of Information) networked applications where access to multimedia data is provided from a number of interactive terminals connected to one or more video servers.

Low cost, Windows-based terminals will be employed, either by the user company staff, or directly by the customer. Real-time MPEG compression / decompression will be used to reduce both storage requirements and transmission bandwidth. Limited authoring facilities will be available for the quick modification of both the video database contents and the application structure.

An ATM based network will be provided for accessing multimedia information. However, lower bandwidth multiplexed access will be used for connecting the POS/POI terminals to the ATM switching equipment, both to optimise bandwidth utilisation and to reduce the cost/terminal ratio of the system.

A pilot application will be built for the high quality hospitality sector. This system will demonstrate the technical achievements of the project and will provide complementary feedback regarding the acceptance of such systems in the respective market segment.

Contact Point

George KORDELIS

ARCHETYPON S.A. tel +30 -1 7482684

26 Fokidos Str. fax +30 -1 7482696

GR - 11526 Athens E-mail: email removed

Greece http://www.acu.rl.ac.uk/projects/ink.html

Participants Country Role

ARCHETYPON S.A. GR C

APD, S.A. e P

ComunicaciOn Interactiva e P

Jurys Hotel irl P

Rutherford Appleton Lab. UK P

VITEC Multimedia F P

Trinity College Dublin Irl A

Start Date Duration

01 December 1995 24 months

ESPRIT Project 20877 - MAGIC
Multiscalable advanced graphic platform for image capture synthesis and integration

Keywords:
Technical - scaleable, virtual.
User - virtual scenario generation.
Industrial application - television, video production.

Project Summary

Building real scenarios for TV programmes is currently one of the most important parts of the total production costs for TV companies. Changing a scenario is an extremely expensive and time-consuming activity. For this reason, TV scenarios are static by nature and usually do not change during the life of the programme. Important space resources must also be allocated during the life of the programme and afterwards in order to store items (wood, furniture, etc.) for subsequent reuse where possible.

Virtual scenarios are the most promising technology to address the problem. Nevertheless, current approaches are very expensive, are complex to implement and are currently tailored for large TV companies. There is no existing solution for local TV companies or video production companies, which usually have fewer resources than the larger companies.

The market for virtual scenarios is clearly defined and has a strong potential taking into account the needs of TV companies and video production companies, especially needs which are foreseen in regard to interactive TV, interactive games, etc. The development of authoring tools to produce content for the future high-speed networks will be instrumental in determining the future competitiveness of European Industry in this field.

The objective of MAGIC is to provide local television companies and small production companies with a real industrial virtual scenario-generation tool that will enable them to produce virtual sets in-house at an affordable cost. The system will also be usable in larger companies.

The project will create an industrial software platform for real-time integration of live video and computer-generated imagery. The system is designed to fit into the digital high-speed network-based video production/post-production environment foreseen for the future.

MAGIC is designed as a scaleable range of software tools for implementing virtual scenarios using a common user-interface. The final product (hardware and software) will meet the following requirements. It will be:

· scaleable, both in terms of price and performance

· almost "Plug´n´Play" (final users will not need to add new staff in order to use the system)

· upgradeable (an easy growth path will be provided when higher quality systems are required)

· reusable (the creation and use of repositories for virtual scenarios are a key part of the

concept).

Contact Point

Maximino ALVAREZ

METACORE SA

Huelva 8

E-28002 MADRID E-mail: email removed

Participants Country Role

MetaCore E P

HITEC GR P

DUVIDEO P P

Tele5 E P

Silicon Graphics USA P

Start Date Duration

01 November 1995 22 months

ESPRIT Project 20922 - AMAS
Advanced multimedia authoring system

Keywords:
Technical - Digital audio and video, MPEG, PCI bus, magnetic recording, disk drive.
User - Video editing, multimedia authoring, presentations, removable storage.
Industrial application - Multimedia authoring, post-production, video servers.

The objective was to develop an advanced system for authoring video and multimedia. The target was to offer a low-cost, modular platform that uses existing and emerging industry standards to create analogue or digital video objects at a price affordable by multimedia authors. Analogue video formats include Betacam SP, Hi 8, S-VHS and VHS. Digital computer formats include QuickTime, AVI, DV formats and MPEG.

FAST and Nomaï/Myrica decided to collaborate to offer inexpensive digital video, for both conventional post-production and multimedia authoring applications. The key design objectives in regard to the architecture were to:

· use standardised, affordable PC technology, ensure low costs for training and operating.

· offer a modular structure, permitting the user to start small and upgrade the same system

· support a choice of different editing modes for every project, thus permitting mixed operation of tape and hard disk editing

· provide the benefits of non-linear editing (with its typical advantages, such as random access, copying without losses, etc.) with the required variable levels of quality

· provide frame-accurate control of a wide range of consumer and professional tape machines, permitting use of tape as an affordable storage and distribution medium

· support the performance required for real-time editing and DVE’s for maximum productivity and fast trial and error cycle times

· include high speed, AV-optimised removable storage.

A direct result of the project was the "blue · " nonlinear video editing system shown as a prototype by FAST Multimedia in 1997 at NAB (Las Vegas) and IBC (Amsterdam). Through these presentations, "blue · " won the following awards:

April 97 – "Editor's Pick of Show" – Television Broadcast/TVBEurope Magazine (USA)

May 97 – "Editor's Choice Award" – Videography Magazine (USA)

September 97 – "Editor's Pick of Show" – TVB Europe (UK)

December 97 – "Editor's Choice Award" – PC Graphics & Video (USA)

December 97 – "Editors Choice Awards" – Video Age Magazine (UK)

The "blue · " product is the first "native video editor". It distinguishes itself from other video editing systems in that it permits video to be processed in original formats, converted to a digital form if necessary – hence the term "native digital". The "blue · " system provides support for all professional audio and video devices – it has a unique "every in and any out" capability and boasts the following key attributes:

Future-Proof by Design – built from the ground for the digital future; uses only standards (MPEG-2, DV, NT, ...); open and flexible architecture in hardware and software

Native Digital™ Quality – Native DV, Native MPEG-2 422P (I) and Native uncompressed preserve the best possible quality; true 10 bit AD/DA and image processing; open for future standards, DVCPRO25/50 in development

Every In - Any Out™ – connects every device, analog and digital; analog: composite, Y/C, component, 4-ch balanced audio; digital: SDI and IEEE1394 (as well as QSDI and CSDI/SDT, which will now be included in SDTI and implemented in blue · presently) plus AES/EBU; control: RS-422A, IEEE1394; reference: in, loop, BB out

Unrivalled Productivity – customisable editing environment, organic, intuitive user interface; 2 video layers plus title and 8 audio tracks in real-time, real-time 2D and 3D (optional) effects; multithreaded background operation; QSDI 4x transfer (optional)

At NAB 1998, FAST Multimedia introduced a new slim-line MPEG-2 nonlinear video editor name "601". At the same time, Sony presented its ES-3 video editing system, which is a 'lite' version of blue · adapted to Sony's specifications and processing only DV and DVCAM formats natively. ES-3 was developed by FAST Multimedia through an OEM partnership and it supports other formats, but it is only DV + DVCAM that are native (i.e. no recompression is involved). Both 601 and ES-3 also use variants of "FAST Studio" – the hardware independent software developed for blue · which will be used with future products also.

To allow real-time digital audio and video recording with high quality, a disk drive must be able to sustain a very high data rate, since any drop in data rate could result in improper delivery of the audio-video stream and cause jumps, gaps and stutters in the motion and sound. The only devices able to offer this type of performance at the time were specialised fixed hard drives, but it was felt essential for success in a wide market to offer storage based on inexpensive cartridges.

The project thus built on the MagDrive project (EP 9257, ESPRIT III), which developed a high-capacity removable magnetic cartridge drive for all forms of computer. MagDrive was being marketed as the MCD (Multimedia Cartridge Drive) and was specifically designed to service the multimedia field, where file sizes are typically very large.

Nomaï and Myrica took advantage of FAST Multimedia's experience in the manipulation and storage of audio and video information to develop an AV-optimised version of their product. By co-operating with FAST Multimedia in this way, they were able to develop a product which they are now exploiting as a standalone product in the multimedia field – their "750c" removable disk drive, a high-capacity removable storage platform optimised for use in the digital video and audio market.

Contact Point

Dr. Nigel Mackintosh tel +44/ 1244-819797

Mackintosh Consultants fax +44/ 1244-819796

The Chase, Pinfold Lane, Northop Hall E-mail: email removed

Flintshire CH7 6HE, UK Web page: http://www.ndmack.demon.co.uk/amas.htm

Participants Country Role

Fast Multimedia AG D C

Nomaï SA F P

Myrica (UK) Ltd. UK A

Start Date Duration

15 November 1995 22 months

ESPRIT Project 21671 - EVA CLUSTER
The EVA Cluster of cultural systems projects

Keywords : Business Best Practice Pilot
Technical - Inter-project information exchange, electronic information
User - Museums, libraries, universities, special interest communities
Sector - Culture, visual arts

Objectives

The project is an Accompanying Measure which aims to create a special-interest community providing assistance to EU co-funded IT projects in the field of cultural systems, helping them to collaborate more effectively. European industry is currently in a strong position in emerging worldwide markets for cultural information systems. This project will capitalise on that strength to help improve the industry's position further. The specific activities planned include:

Organising inter-project workshops on a regular basis across Europe to facilitate exchange of project plans and results to mutual advantage.

Facilitating short scientific visits between participating organisations on an inter-project basis.

Supporting the regular exchange of ideas and information by the establishment and support of an electronic forum on the Internet.

Assisting the projects in dissemination of results by disseminating information via:

- printed newsletter.

- electronic pages on the World Wide Web.

Particular advantage will be taken of the very successful EVA (Electronic and Visual Arts) Conferences at the National Gallery in London and the associated national EVA events in Berlin. Similar events are planned for 1996, including EVA conferences in Florence and Paris. With over 200 people from around the world attending the London EVA conference, it is now well established as the leading event in Europe in this specialised field. Since EVA itself was a direct result of the original Esprit VASARI Project (EP 2649), this is especially appropriate.

A key aspect of the project is to support exploitation of EU Cultural Systems projects internationally, in particular in North and Latin America, and in the Asia Pacific region.

The project, although small in cost terms, will have considerable impact by building on the existing groundwork in many previous and current cultural systems projects, as well as through taking advantage of communities of interest in key sectors such as libraries, museums and academia.

It is intended to build a 'cluster' of at least 6 projects with over 30 partner organisations, and effective relationships with other projects or initiatives inside and outside the EU, including ACTS (e.g. RAMA/IMIN), TAP (e.g. VAN EYCK, ELISE) DG X (Rafael), DG XII (Fame 2010+) and, importantly, the G7 museum and library pilot projects as well as other international projects. The EVA cluster is mainly composed of SMEs with substantial involvement in EU cultural projects, led by the Vasari enterprises which were formed following the Esprit project. However, project partners within the cluster also include museums, universities and very large companies.

Contact Point

Mr Phil PREEDY
Vasari Limited
44A Florence Road

Fleet, Hants E-mail: email removed
UK GU13 9LQ

Participants Country Role

VASARI Ltd UK C

Start Date Duration

01 January 1996 12 months

ESPRIT Project 22012 - NEMESIS
Advanced image manipulation tools for the video post-production environment

Keywords : Business Best Practice Pilot
Technical - Multimedia, 3D, interactive TV, digital video effects (DVE), VR
User - Film, television and video production studios, image designers, artists
Sector - Television, video post production, image art

Objectives

The market of multimedia content creation tools is strongly demanding products capable of facilitating transparent manipulation and combination of images, video and 3D objects at reduced costs. In this regard, video, cinema and digital effects post-production facilities constitute one of the most demanding markets for efficient integrated solutions. On the other hand, last years research in image analysis and synthesis has developed technologies that are becoming mature to be transferred into products enabling to make manipulation of visual information (2D & 3D) more easy and transparent.

Taking into account these remarks, NEMESIS IT 22012 project has analysed market opportunities and defined product requirements providing an answer to anticipated post-production users needs for manipulation and combination of 2D and 3D contents. NEMESIS was an initial phase project whose results have lead to the elaboration of the IT 28265 NEMESIS-2 project. The IT 22012 NEMESIS project has:

performed an analysis of the market situation of post-production and digital video effects,

conducted the functional and architectural design of a product answering to anticipated requirements and needs in this domain, taking into account exiting laboratory technology,

analysed the feasibility of such a product, taking into account possible resources and industrial environment,

implemented demonstrations clarifying new concepts put forward in the defined product.

The market analysis has studied how ‘media facilities’ make a living and has established projections for evolution of these businesses. From these results, needs in terms of future day to day production tools have been anticipated. Market analysis has investigated segmentation and business volumes in current post-production tools market. In this study, existing post-production tools have been carefully analysed in terms of provided functionalities. Market analysis has then investigated user requirements for new functionalities for 2D and 3D data manipulation and combination. From these previous considerations, the kind of product(s) to develop has been defined and business and market opportunities (including business plans) related to it (them) has been forecasted.

In parallel, the technical study has established functionality needed in the product (3D and 2D functionality), and its general use paradigm. Environment of the product in terms of HW/SW, OS, user interface, recourse to other existing products (standalone or plug-in paradigm), compatibility with existing (MPEG2), de-facto (VRML) or ongoing standards (MPEG4, MPEG7, MHEG) have been clarified. This work lead to specify the product to develop in technical terms. In addition, the context of a consortium work for a future product implementation project has been specified in detail.

Finally, a comprehensive set of demonstrations has been implemented. These demonstrations illustrate the capabilities of the product to develop. They have been released in a demo tape that will be the basis of pre-commercial marketing activities.

Contact Point
Dr. Jean FIGUE Tel.: +33 1 30 96 76 21
Thomson-CSF Optronique Fax: +33 1 30 96 72 31
Rue Guynemer, PO Box 55

F – 78283 GUYANCOURT Cedex

E-mail:

(E-mail removed)

(E-mail removed)

WWW: http://tco8.thomson-csf.fr

Participants Country Role

THOMSON-CSF OPTRONIQUE F P

INRIA F P

HEINRICH HERTZ INSTITUTE D P

UNIVERSITAT DE LES ISLES BALEARS E P

DIGITAL MEDIA INSTITUTE SF P

FORTH-ICS GR P

ARTBIT E P

RTL PLUS D P

THOMSON MULTIMEDIA R&D F A


Start Date Duration

01 September 1996 13 months

ESPRIT Project 22078 - RITE
Radical improvement to efficiency through access to low cost multimedia systems

Keywords:
Multimedia co-working, remote multimedia database access, EURO-ISDN.

Objectives

· To pilot a low cost, feature rich multimedia client-server network configured so that the system has clear price advantages for the consortium and clear efficiency advantages for users.

· To pilot the multimedia system on the EURO-ISDN network to provide universal access at low cost.

· To implement search and discovery tools drawn from the ESPRIT project INTUITIVE, that improve the precision and recall aspect of multimedia searching; this enables easier and more reliable use of multimedia facilities and reduces training and support costs.

· To implement new presentation tools so that multimedia information is presented to different classes of users in the form most appropriate to their needs; this creates a novel system facility on which to base sales and adds to efficiency savings.

· To conduct extensive evaluations based on efficiency analysis and earned value analysis to demonstrate the techno-economic benefits of the proposed system.

The objectives will be sought through the implementation and integration of stable technologies based on existing and emerging standards in the relevant fields such as H320, T120 and CAP 2.0.

The use of Internet standards and protocols will be integrated into pilot client server environments both for the virtual WAN communications as well as intranet working and access to multimedia information services.

Contact Point

Andrew Sutton

EG Group Ltd.
Kings Road 63 A
UK -SW3 4 London E-mail: email removed

http://www.sisu.se/projects/rite/


Participants Country Role

EG GROUP UK C

THE LAST MUSEUM CATALOGUE LTD. UK P

PLAY IT AGAIN SAM B P

SITI AB S P

Start Date Duration

01 April 1996 31 months


ESPRIT Project 22119 - VAT
Virtual Assisted Testing

Improved psychological testing methods using VR techniques

Keywords: Business Best Practice Pilot

Technical - Virtual reality (VR), VR hardware/software

User - Large organisations, HR departments, head-hunters

Sector - Employment sector, human resources, employee training, personality assessment

Objectives

The objective of the Virtual Assisted Testing (VAT) project is to develop a new psychological assessment methodology, oriented to personnel selection and evaluation, based on virtual reality. The project should produce a powerful psychological testing tool capable of direct application in a number of different fields.

A psychologist still largely bases present-day psychological testing on simple paper questionnaires and an evaluation of the results. This is not the most effective method of assessment, often producing inaccurate results and proving unsuited for measuring practical abilities and aptitudes. When used to make a choice between candidates for a specific professional profile, it can mean high supplementary costs and significant waste of effort.

Virtual reality offers a means of bypassing the variables introduced by the human factor, and can be effective in creating during testing sessions conditions very similar to those the candidate will experience in the real-life occupation. Complex VR simulations, often impossible to recreate in reality, provide in-depth information of a candidate’s attitudes and psychological traits with the opportunity to measure and interact with them automatically.

The final result of VAT will be an avant-garde method of personality testing that will reduce costs for companies and simplify the initial steps in induction and training. A deep and smart method of analysis will be particularly in demand, especially one capable of dealing with high-risk professions such as policing, firefighting or social work, where a sound evaluation of personal capabilities is essential. The pilot application will take a representative sample of such occupations into account. The methodology should also benefit employees, providing them with the possibility of a thorough and unbiased evaluation of their strengths.

Despite the fact that VR on the PC platform is only in its early development stages VAT will develop a PC-compatible application, to make the final product available at a marketable cost for SMEs. The project includes the consideration of the most suitable input (gloves able to record the user's heartbeat, blood pressure, temperature and strength of response) and output (VR helmet, headphones and gloves) devices for the application.

The work will be divided into three phases:

· The first phase will be devoted to analysing user requirements, defining some virtual stimulus situations and identifying the range of measurable voluntary and non-voluntary feedback. This phase includes also a thorough marketing analysis in order to evaluate the most likely requirements, level of development and costs for the target market.

· The second phase consists of project architectural design, hardware and software selection and implementation. The main object of this activity is to develop the system software and hardware.

· Finally, the prototype system will be tested with a large number of subjects, and the data gathered used to evaluate and validate the project methodologies and architectures.

The exploitation phase will address five main actions:

· Foundation of centres of assessment, to supply advanced technology and methodology at cost-levels supportable by SMEs.

· Provision of special software systems, either targeted on specific occupations or toward general personality and attitude tests.

· Provision of special systems for large private and state companies, to train new personnel and maintain/update existing employees’ skills.

· Exploitation of the results of project activities in the form of royalties from further internal or external development. The research results will also become the basis of a new methodology independent from the underlying platform.

· Development of industry-standard hardware architectures and platforms aimed at achieving higher efficiency and better availability in the VR field.

Contact Point

Mr Leonardo Montecamozzo

GIUNTI MULTIMEDIA

Ripa di Porta Ticinese, 91

I - 20143 Milan E-mail: email removed

Italy

Participants Country Role

GIUNTI MULTIMEDIA I C

O.S. I P

HOGREFE VERLAG D P

TEA EDICIONES E P

Start Date Duration

01 September 1996 24 months

ESPRIT Project 22127 - 3DMSC - 3D Multimedia Support Centre

Keywords: Multimedia Support Centre

Technical - 3D, 3D Modelling; 3D Scanning

User - 3D modelling, training, multimedia, consultancy

Sector - Multimedia

Objectives

The 3D Multimedia Support Centre (3DMSC) will provide information, training, consultancy and 3D datasets to European multimedia users and developers who wish to create and use 3D content in their multimedia applications. The aim of 3DMSC is to meet these objectives and build a profitable service company which will serve the European multimedia industry in this important area.

The creation and use of 3D content for multimedia applications is far more complex than the creation and use of sound, text, still images or video. However, technological developments in the areas of 3D data capture and manipulation mean that widespread use of 3D content is becoming practical. In addition, there is a rapidly rising demand for high quality 3D content in applications such as games, CD ROM titles, virtual museums, architecture, animation and virtual reality.

For these reasons multimedia support centres will prove a real benefit for the European multimedia industry. Such support centres focused on the creation and use of 3D-multimedia content will:

· increase awareness of the availability and benefits of incorporating 3D content into multimedia applications.

· develop, demonstrate and document best practice for the creation and use of 3D content in multimedia publications.

· efficiently disseminate this best practice to multimedia developers throughout Europe.

· influence relevant emerging standards and legal frameworks for 3D multimedia content, to enable and stimulate rapid market growth.

· exploit the results of appropriate European development projects, particularly the ACTS project 119 - Virtual Museum.

3DMSC will combine the complimentary resources and expertise of two companies already focused completely on the creation and use of 3D data. These companies are 3D Scanners in London and Archimation in Berlin.

The two partners will develop the business by providing a high quality service from day one. They do not however expect 3DMSC to become profitable until year three, and do not expect to realise a return on their initial investment until year five. The ultimate project objective is to package the 3DMSC concept in such a way that it can be profitably reproduced throughout Europe and the world.

Contact Point

Mr. Peter CHAMP

3D Scanners Ltd

Media Applications

South Bank Technopark

90 London Road

UK - SE1 6LN London E-mail: email removed

http://www.3dscanners.com

Participants Country Role

3D SCANNERS LTD UK C

ARCHIMATION D P

Start Date Duration

01 June 1996 24 months

ESPRIT Project 22142 - REFEREED
Platform independent and inter-platform multimedia reference applications

Keywords:
Inter-platform applications, platform independent applications, multimedia, authoring tools

Objectives

The project aim is to prove the viability of developing multimedia reference applications on the principles of separate data and viewing components and inter-platform access. This is thought of a first step in the creation of a tool-set for the development of platform independent, inter-platform applications. The project will demonstrate that through the use of the REFEREED approach, very good quality, multimedia reference applications can be created.

To the end-user it will mean better user interaction, more hardware and software choices, up-to-the-minute time-sensitive data, in a media-rich environment using existing infrastructure and technologies.

To the developer it will mean less time and effort to produce state-of-the-art applications.

To the publisher it will mean less costly products, that have a larger potential market, and that are more appealing than their competitors.

Therefore, the major results of the project will be an approach for improved large-scale multimedia reference applications and a major application using this approach. The pilot data will come from the Greek Basketball championship in order to prove real world regularly changing data and have a large audience on which to test the application. It will also provide a basis for an exploitable commercial product that can prove the virtues of the REFEREED approach in the marketplace.

It will be accompanied by an extensive evaluation of both the approach and the resulting application by end-users, by publishers and by domain experts.

By multimedia reference applications we mean such products as electronic encyclopaedias, lexicons, reference books, textbooks, product catalogues etc. We make this distinction to exclude at the present stage multimedia games, presentations and CBT.

By inter-platform applications we mean applications that can take advantage of the concurrent use of more than one platform. An example is an application that resides partly on a CD-ROM (taking advantage of its media richness and speed) and partly on an on-line system (taking advantage of its real-time data) but provides a uniform interface to the end-user.

Contact Point

Nicholas Manousos
COMPUPRESS S.A. tel + 30 -1 922550
44, Sygrou Av. fax + 30 -1 9242219
GR - 11742 Athens E-mail: email removed

Participants Country Role

COMPUPRESS GR C

BYG UK P

EXODUS GR P

FhG-IAO D P

GMM IT P

McGRAW-HILL UK P

NTUA GR P

Start Date Duration

15 May 1996 12 months

ESPRIT Project 22151 - TALENT
Training And Learning Environment with Networked Tutoring

Keywords:
Technical : Multimedia, Conversion Tools, Networks, Training Environment
User : courseware editors, trainers, teachers
Sector : Education and Industrial training, ,.

TALENT is an RTD project concerned with the effective application of distributed multimedia training used in conjunction with networked tutoring.

The objective of the TALENT consortium is to enable the European training industry to exploit the potential synergy of multimedia technology and CMC (Computer Mediated Communication) and hence respond to the current trends in the global market for training. By demonstrating systems, which deliver multimedia-training materials supported by network tutoring, the TALENT project will improve the competitiveness of its training industry partners.
There are predictions of huge growth in the market for Multimedia in Training and Education. However multimedia is not a panacea, its limits lie in the cost of production and in the fact that it is static and pre-defined. No matter how well designed a piece of multimedia courseware may be, there will always be times when the needs of the learner would be better addressed by contact with a human tutor. The combination of CMC technology and multimedia technology promises to support such contact.

Essentially this project aims to move multimedia production in the context of training from a "Hollywood model" to a "news room model" and to achieve technological and methodological readiness for the impact of multimedia and CMC on the technology training industry.

Through the TALENT project the consortium are envisaging a training centre of the future. Such a centre would not exist as a building to which trainees must travel in order to attend class but as a site on a world wide network from which the learner will obtain multimedia materials and through which the learner may rendezvous with a tutor and with other learners, without any of them leaving their desks.

The TALENT project will have results on a number of levels, including the investigation, development and evaluation of:

systems for the delivery of multimedia training materials,

methods and software tools for the conversion of conventional course material to multimedia,

new training methods appropriate to the new technological environment,

a networked software environment to support the learner and the tutor in their production and use of multimedia courseware,

new multimedia courseware, providing opportunities to showcase and evaluate the developments in other areas, a networked software environment which supports a multi-enterprise "Training Supply Chain".


The work plan consists of four phases: Initial Investigation, Conversion to Multimedia, Multimedia with Network Tutoring and Technology to support the Supply Chain.

The project builds towards a major demonstrator system in phase 4. Two intermediate demonstrators are to be created in phases 2 and 3. These are primarily the responsibility of the training industry partners. In each of phases 1 to 3 the software to support the next phase will be developed, this is primarily the responsibility of South Bank University. At the end of each phase there is a work package which brings all partners together for technology transfer, evaluation and exploitation planning.

The software developed in phase 1, will provide a set of tools for the conversion of conventional training materials to multimedia form. The phase 2 demonstrator will illustrate the application of this software. The software developed in phase 2 (and demonstrated in phase 3) will provide support for networked tutoring. The software developed in phase 3 will provide facilities such as tutor brokering. It will support the final demonstrator which will illustrate how a supply chain of independent enterprises may co-operate in order to develop and deliver training materials to the learner in a networked tutoring environment.

Contact Point

Prof. Abdulla Hashim

South Bank University

School of Computing,

Information Systems and Mathematics E-mail: email removed

Southwark Campus, http://talent1.sbu.ac.uk/public/

103 Borough Rd,

London, SE1 0AA

Participants Country Role

SOUTH BANK UNIVERSITY UK C

CATT-SNI IRL P

CLEVELAND OPEN LEARNING UNIT UK P

CEGOS F P

FLEXIBLE LEARNING IRELAND IRL P

HISCOM NL P

KLOSTERDATA S P

Start Date Duration

01 July 1996 35 months

ESPRIT Project 22153 - MEMOIR
Multimedia-based management of diverse corporate information resources

Keywords : Business Best Practice Pilot
Technical - Multimedia, corporate information systems, hypermedia, multi-agent systems
User - corporate operations managers, database managers, information departments

Sector - R&D-based multinationals, research-based companies

Objectives

The Memoir project will demonstrate the applicability and integration of advanced distributed multimedia systems to help manage diverse technical information sources in two pan-European R&D-based corporations. Large companies, which are heavily dependent on the effectiveness of their R&D function, face a particularly acute problem in providing effective means for their research, technical support and sales staff to access and share common technical information. The results of Memoir will help answer such problems.

The demonstration systems developed during the project will show that the same source information can be productively accessed via a single multimedia information infrastructure by users with very different information requirements. The use of such a multimedia information infrastructure can substantially increase the productivity of researchers and other technical information users.

The key information technologies to be integrated into a multimedia system solution for large distributed R&D corporations include:

· document management systems.

· hypermedia link services.

· autonomous software agents.

The Memoir project consortium brings together organisations from four EU member states to tackle the problem. All participants are leaders in their fields, and all have complementary business and technical objectives. Both Unichema International, a leading oleochemicals company, and Glaxo Wellcome R&D have identified the application of advanced IT to managing technical information as a key strategic technical capability, and will provide a strong corporate end-user drive for the project.

Technological development will be provided by Ibex Computing, producers of the Dawn document management system, Multicosm, hypermedia link service technology developers, and the University of Athens, well-known for its work on multi-agent systems. The Parallel Applications Technology Centre in the UK will provide project management and systems integration expertise, together with the skills for effective deployment of leading-edge information technologies.

All the participants are strongly committed to obtaining results from the project that can be exploited both internally for corporate information systems and in developing solutions for external clients. The high level of executive commitment demonstrated will enable project participants to be highly effective in informing and influencing information management strategies in other research-oriented companies.

Contact Point

Dr Richard MILLER

Unichema International

Buurtje 2, PO Box 2

2800 AA Gouda

The Netherlands

Participants Country Role

UNICHEMA INTERNATIONAL NL C

GLAXO WELLCOME R&D UK P

IBEX F P

MULTICOSM UK P

PARALLEL APPLICATION CENTRE UK P

UNIVERSITY OF ATHENS GR P

Start Date Duration

01 July 1996 24 months

ESPRIT Project 22160 - HYNODE
Electronic news-on-demand from standardised document structures

Keywords : Business Best Practice Pilot
Technical - Multimedia, news-on-demand, hypermedia document standards
User - Journalists, publishers, news providers and news consumers

Sector - Publishing industry, professional news sector, Internet service providers

The objective of the HyNoDe project is to design and develop an efficient and market-oriented environment supporting news-on-demand applications. Adapting and integrating the existing IT components needed for news authoring, storage and delivery, the project aims to develop appropriate mechanisms to support news filtering according to the needs of each end-user (the news consumer).

The project addresses the ever-growing news delivery market, which is at present characterised by major restructuring worldwide. The changes taking place reflect the need for increasing specialisation in news content, and the drive towards dynamic access to news to allow fast reaction, flexible delivery, customised presentation structures and interactive access. These changes are both caused and enabled by the transformation in the delivery mode from paper to electronic format, and by the growing trend towards interactive services delivering news according to the needs of each end-user.

The two major goals of the project are to:

· demonstrate and integrate the ability of advanced multimedia technology to improve flexibility, efficiency and quality in the domain of news-on-demand.

· demonstrate and assess the market applicability/acceptability of the news-on-demand service through the involvement of real industry players.

The approach is based on adapting existing software modules to create an appropriate environment for the demonstration of a news-on-demand application. The project is concentrating on defining a news document structure , and on filtering mechanisms to support news delivery according to specific user needs. The application will make use of modules such as authoring tools, multimedia information servers, viewers and browsing tools.

Interaction between the various tools and the consistency of the various multimedia news fileservers will be based on a standardised document structure. The project will adopt emerging hypermedia document standards, primarily the MHEG standard, in order to derive this structure. Delivery over existing telecommunications and computing infrastructures will require support for HTML hypermedia documents. All management mechanisms required for meeting service-provider or end-user requirements will be based on information contained in the common document structure.

End-user interests will be categorised in terms of user profiles determined by user requirements. End-user interfaces will support the definition of these user profiles and the activation of filtering mechanisms at the news fileservers.

. The experience gained from field trials will provide further insight into market needs and expectations, and into appropriate strategies for launching news-on-demand applications.

The HyNoDe consortium represents a wide range of stakeholders in the news-on-demand sector. The information providers participating in the project have a proven involvement in the professional news industry. They expect through their involvement in the project to become able to exploit the benefits of advanced multimedia technology to the full in changing current modes of news delivery to a fully electronic, customised, interactive and on-demand approach.

HyNode’s end result will be a user-driven, operational news-on-demand application, tested and demonstrated both from the end-user’s and the service-provider’s point of view. It will be based on a standard document architecture and capable of delivering news via Internet service provider access channels.

Contact Point

Mr Nikolaos Ionnidis

Intracom SA, Development Programmes Dept

Markopoulou Ave (19.5 Km), PO Box 68 tel +30 -1 686 0349

GR-19002 Peania fax +30 -1 686 0312

Greece E-mail: email removed

http://www.intranet.gr/hynode

http://hynode.intranet.gr/hyn

Participants Country Role

INTRACOM GR C

IBM D P

THD D P

ETNOTEAM I P

ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE GR A

DATABANK GR A

IMERISSIA GR P

COSI I A

MUSIC GR A

MCRLAB CAN A

Start Date Duration

01 June 1996 34 months

ESPRIT Project 22217 - SIMBA

Seamlessly Integrating Multimedia in Building Automation

Keywords:

Technical - MMI, Windows 95/98/NT,COM, OLE, ActiveX

User - Multimedia, Integration, Software for Buildings

Industrial Application - Building Automation Systems, Building Management Systems, Security Systems, Facility Management Systems

Short Description

A multimedia man-machine interface that is well designed and tested in co-operation with end-users, and integration of different Building Automation Systems, where the user can navigate in a seamless way between the different applications.

Summary

SIMBA provides a multimedia building supervisory system that seamlessly integrates separately developed systems at the operator level. From the original project came a Building Management System, a Security System and a Facility Management System, but all other systems that are related to the technical installations in buildings may be integrated as well. The system is based on Windows 95/98/NT and COM / OLE / ActiveX technology. Functional and technical objectives were the following:

the user should be able to navigate in a seamless way between the different applications (HVAC, Fire, Security, etc.) from a single workstation (or multiple workstations), enabling him to concentrate on the task he is performing,

to make available multimedia capabilities yielding a new integrated operator environment which improves the ease of use of the system,

to validate integration and interoperability between separately developed applications,

The result is OPEN technology with clear software interfaces to allow any vendor of Building Automation software to "plug" software components into a common operator environment.

Business perspective

Within the SIMBA architecture the following business opportunities, at least, exist:

Adapting an existing Building Automation application to SIMBA will allow integration with other SIMBA compatible applications in customers’ installations.

Creating specialised software that fits in the SIMBA system architecture and that can be sold to existing and future SIMBA customers. This could be alarm handling, data logging, presentation controls etc.

Technical perspective

Building Automation systems generally use Windows 95/98/NT front ends to present information to the operator and allow the operator to interrogate the system. In many buildings, several PCs are placed side by side, running similar software for the operation of the technical systems of the building. With COM / OLE / ActiveX technology, different vendors can make software components that run in the same Windows environment, embedded in each other using the same principles as when an Excel spread-sheet is included in a Word document.

The necessary interfaces have been defined to allow components from different vendors to interact with each other. Within a Navigation framework that allows physical navigation in the building using a tree-structure or pictures with link-fields, different document servers present pictures, graphs, alarm overviews etc. Within the pictures, graphs etc., simple controls present values of signals, data etc. The use of uniform communication objects to connect to databases and external hardware like sensors and actuators will allow the free exchange of information including alarms, between the systems. Multimedia interfaces ensure user friendliness and add totally new features.

Applications

The current applications are centred around Building Automation, for handling heating/cooling/ventilation, lighting, security, fire alarms, elevators, administrative services etc. The main goal of the SIMBA technology is to provide a "uniform" PC/Windows operating environment for the operating staff without the need to have one single provider develop it for all sub-applications in the Building Automation area. Instead all vendors may provide their contribution, according to a specification describing the rules for making a software component compatible with the SIMBA architecture.

Terms and conditions

The basic technology developed in SIMBA is open - not based on any patents - and royalty free. It is now in the hands of a non-profit organisation, SIMBA Club , which provides the architecture and interface specifications via their web site.

SIMBA Club offers membership to both vendors and end users. Membership for end users is free. Vendors and other parties that are interested in adapting the SIMBA technology in their products pay a low yearly fee. This also includes the SIMBA Tool Kit , a CD-ROM with free software components like the SIMBA Navigator, demonstration software, specifications and instructions, definition files for implementing the SIMBA interfaces in Visual C++, and many other useful things to speed up the adaptation of a vendor’s software.

Ready-made SIMBA software components will be used by vendors when delivering complete systems to customers. They will be charged at normal commercial rates. Many components will have a much wider use than e.g. within only one sector of Building Automation, so it is foreseen that an exchange of components among the current partners and future providers of SIMBA compatible products will be very common. The licensing fees are expected to be at normal commercial rates.

Please consult the SIMBA Club web site for more information: http://simba.tac.se

Contact Point

Jan BRISSMAN

TAC AB

Jägershillgatan 18 E-mail: email removed

S-213 75 MALMÖ, SWEDEN

Participants Country Role

TAC AB S C

Kupari Engineering Oy FIN P

Securitas Tekniikka Oy FIN P

Trialog SA F P

Ministry of Defence,

Real Estate Department FIN A

Sponda Oy FIN A

Celero Support (Volvo) S A

Start Date Duration

1 April 1996 24 months

ESPRIT Project 22221 - MSC
MHEG Support Centre

Keywords: Standards, MHEG, development support, conformance testing

The overall aim of this project is to implement and operate a MHEG development support and conformance-testing centre for developers of multimedia systems and applications.

The result is a MHEG Support Centre in full operation, offering:

training services

development support services

certification services

These services are focused on the MHEG standard and its integration in DAVIC-compliant systems. However, peripheral domains of interest to MHEG implementers, especially related to multimedia system architectures and standards, are also addressed.

The followed approach will be:

- elaboration of a commercial agreement between all MSC parties, based on refined services definition
- market analysis and business plan study, necessary for the right positioning of the service and a successful exploitation
- definition and implementation of a marketing plan
- identification of third parties able to provide missing expertise or tools to the MSC, possibly leading to commercial agreements establishment
- identification and use of adequate distribution channels
- selection and adaptation of existing MHEG development support tools, training materials and conformance’s testing tools
- specification and development of missing MHEG development support tools, training

materials and conformance’s testing tools
- specification and development of the MHEG support centre infrastructure, including an on-line and/or a hot-line service access facilities (depending on the identified requirements)
- provision of a feedback towards standardisation bodies

MHEG is an ISO/IEC and ITU standard for the interchange representation of multimedia/hypermedia information objects. Approved by ISO in 1995, MHEG currently receives very strong interest from most major actor in the interactive TV market, as its base profile has been selected by DAVIC as the standard for set-top-unit high-level API. This is the first, though major step towards the generalisation of MHEG to more complex and emerging multimedia application.

The MSC project is an opportunity to push the development of multimedia systems by the provision of a MHEG development support and testing environment for multimedia and hypermedia systems. The access to this environment will help the developers to implement multimedia applications, using the MHEG standard. This project will thus reinforce the capability of European equipment manufacturers and software vendors to position themselves on a fast growing market by prompt development and commercialisation of standard-conforming products and applications.

The MHEG Support Centre, result of the MSC project is foreseen to be exploited, maintained and enriched, until the full integration of the MHEG standard in multimedia and hypermedia systems.

Contact Point

Dr. Xavier Marie

CRIL Ingénierie
5, Square du Chêne Germain fax: + 33 -2 99 38 40 78
F- 35517 CESSON-SEVIGNE E-mail: email removed

Participants Country Role

CRIL INGENIERIE F C

IKV++ D P

MITONA UK P

DETEBERKOM D A

GMD D A

CETT F A

BERKOM D A

Start Date Duration

02 January 1997 24 months

ESPRIT Project 22223 - GEONET 4D
Multimedia-based access to online cartographic information

Keywords : Business Best Practice Pilot
Technical - Multimedia, 4D, online access, cartographic information, smart maps
User - Shipping, navigation and survey companies, oil and gas companies
Sector - Public utilities, port administrations, mapping and planning authorities

The main objective of GeoNet 4D was to evaluate and develop multimedia-based access to online cartographic information, using easy-to-use interfaces based on geographic data for information presentation, navigation, search and retrieval. The project has been driven by the conviction that interfaces based on interactive ‘smart maps’ would become a standard in distributed communications and networked computing.

Such intuitive multimedia tools support the creation of a wide range of new value-added services, especially where complex information resources are used for group collaboration. GeoNet 4D addressed the technical and design issues required to work across platforms using a scaleable modular architecture and developed an open systems environment that permits diverse users to work together easily over networks via animated smart maps that include 4D multimedia information.

This online cartographic system integrates several key components:

· 3D capacity to enable visualisation of mapping information on buildings, mountains, the seabed, pipelines, statistics, etc.

· 4D time stamping to allow the display of time-related data from hydrodynamics, movement of objects on the sea, simulations, etc.

· networking to support fast collection, integration and online distribution of information between different users. Use of ISDN, TCP/IP and IPng functions and protocols.

· Object Oriented Database Management System (OODMS) client server engineering to permit correlation of users, multimedia and GIS data, temporal and spatial information, threaded and meta-linked data, security and transaction processing, etc.

· World Wide Web client server protocols and browser design/development, including full use of Java, VRML, OGIS and MHEG for easy online access to temporal, spatial and cartographic data.

GeoNet 4D browser/server development supports the time-stamped semantic data threads needed for group authoring and layering of shared geographic and multimedia datasets. A major design consideration is the potential for integration into emerging hardware such as graphics cards, mobile devices, embedded systems, networks, Web PCs, interactive kiosks and games machines. The dataset publishing, software programming and authoring requirements of users in these new markets have also been taken into account.

An early marketing analysis has been conducted to ensure GeoNet 4D was both compatible with and improved upon existing and emerging industry trends and developments. Technical and functional specifications have been based on the input of these studies with the analysis of the user requirements.

The partners involved in the project have tested the feasibility of the system by conducting field trials in the real-world industrial environments of three European ports; Santander (Spain), Naples (Italy) and Toulon (France). The applications have focused on infrastructure management within the ports as well as on the environmental impact of the port zone activities within their respective regions.

The real industrial environments used for the field trials have provided an important focus for the design and development of the human interface. They have also shown the system’s functional and commercial potential both for marine port applications and other sectors of industry and commerce.

Contact Point

Mr Jean Manuel Canet

Expertel Consulting

Impasse Bonne Nouvelle 6, PO Box BP806

F-75470 Paris Cedex 10

France E-mail: jean-manuel.canet@bnouvelle. expertel.fr
http://palmes.expertel.fr/geonet

Participants Country Role

EXPERTEL F C

FAW D P

EOS UK P

IFREMER F P

INEA I P

NOMADICS UK A

ENYCA E A

ACEM F A

Start Date Duration

01 June 1996 28 months

ESPRIT Project 22226 - MUSE
Developing standardised digital media management, signalling and encryption systems for the European music sector

Keywords : Business Best Practice Pilot

Technical - IPR (Intellectual Property Rights), ECMS (Electronic Copyright Management System), Standards, Information Society

User - Broadcasters, retailers, multimedia producers and consumers

Sector - Music and entertainment businesses, recording industry

Objectives

The MUSE project focuses upon the following objectives:

· standardisation of interfaces within digital media management systems to facilitate the electronic delivery of sound recordings, text and artwork.

· survey embedded signalling systems with a view to selecting one system to develop as world-wide standard.

· survey encryption technology applicable to digital media files, with a view to selecting one system to develop as a standard.

An important issue in the growth of the Information Society is the development of the necessary infrastructure and standards to facilitate its evolution. How does the content get onto the network in a way that ensures international interconnectivity? How can the content be indelibly identified protect the rights of the content-providers, to monitor use to enable payments to be channelled to the various right owners, and to identify infringements? How can we ensure that users around the world will be able to receive the data in a form that is compatible with their equipment? If "set-top boxes" are going to be very expensive initially, can we examine how and to what extent existing networks can be used to give access to creative content? These are some of the many questions currently facing the recording industry, in common with all others content creators.

There are some areas, such as the development of common systems for digital archiving, where research and development within the recording industry are already well advanced. There are others where technologies developed in related fields can be readily adapted for use with sound recordings. The recording industry has identified three areas where co-operative research would be of benefit, not only to the recording industry in Europe, but also to all users of sound recordings, including broadcasters, retailers, other multimedia producers and consumers.

The MUSE project works towards a generic scheme, which enables the European music industry to safely offer in free competition recordings to professional and private users. The scheme is to consist of:

· conceptual design of a digital media management system.

· functional and syntactic specifications of the public interfaces which are part of a digital media management system.

· selecting an embedded signalling system suited for use as a world-wide standard.

· selecting encryption methods suitable for use as a world-wide standard.

Furthermore the project will contribute to the ongoing development of the CITED data model on copyrights.

Together with current research projects in Europe, for example the research into common digital archiving formats which is currently already under way, these projects will form the basis for the European recording industry's participation in the Information Society. They will ensure that the European recording industry is at the forefront of developments in this area, and that its products can be delivered throughout the world.

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) will act as co-ordinating partner in the MUSE project. The other partners in the consortium are BMG, EMI, Polygram, Sony Music, Warner Bros., MCA and Telstar. Project administration is directed towards Bakkenist Management Consultants in The Netherlands.

Contact Point

Mr Mike EDWARDS
IFPI
54 Regent Street, London E-mail: ifpi.secretariat@ dial.pipex.com

UK W1R 5PJ

Participants Country Role

IFPI UK C

BMG MUSIC INTERNATIONAL SERVICE D P

EMI MUSIC LTD. UK P

POLYGRAM INTERNATIONAL MUSIC NV NL P

RECORDING INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION USA P

OF AMERICA

SONY MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT EUROPE UK P

WARNER MUSIC INTERNATIONAL UK P

SERVICES

MCA MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT

INTERNATIONAL UK P

TELSTAR HOLDING LTD. UK P


Start Date Duration

01 September 1996 24 months

ESPRIT Project 22251 - VHF
Advanced hypermedia production environment for the electronic publishing industry

Keywords : Business Best Practice Pilot
Technical - Hypermedia, Internet, Electronic publishing, Agents, High-speed networks
User - Electronic publishers, On-line service providers
Sector - Tourism, Cultural heritage

Objectives

The main objective of the Virtual Hypermedia Factory (VHF) project is to demonstrate an advanced information production and dissemination environment for the networked electronic publishing industry. VHF aims to allow publishers to simplify the writing phase and publisher/author interaction, and also to bundle related documents in hypermedia form.

VHF will be a network-based electronic publishing environment used to support publishers’ technological needs and services in the areas of cultural heritage and tourism. VHF users will be able to start from an initial set of structured electronic information, and buy or build their own electronic publication in which the content is customised to suit their own individual needs. The information contents creation process will stress as much as possible the reuse of already existent information.

The VHF demonstration environment addresses the needs of several specific domains, namely:

· networked electronic publishing.

· cultural heritage information dissemination.

· electronic distribution of tourism information.

Using such an electronic publishing environment, information publishers, both from the tourist area and from the cultural sector, can simplify the authoring process to share products (information and services) among different specialised markets, without duplicating their own multimedia input into individual publications. For publishers this means reduced effort in information production an dissemination, with consequent economic savings.

As a first step a basic VHF environment will be experimented with using an ISDN network infrastructure for the delivery environment, and a new IP generation based for the production environment, where also the new transport media, like ATM will be tested. It will be built upon a basic kernel of integrated tools for:

· multimedia document publishing.

· multimedia-based document browsing.

· multimedia-based information retrieval.

· security, accounting and trans-border publishing services.

The various project partners each have specific objectives in the exploitation of the results, as follows:

· Liguori Editore, INALCO, MSH, to exploit a new authoring and distribution approach and business model.

· Olivetti, to improve its position as a solutions and services provider via ATM and Internet delivery channels.

· First, Intrasoft, Olivetti, to develop system integration solutions or commercial software packages for the specific markets of tourism and cultural heritage.

· ADAN, European Profiles, will exploit a new sales approach in the tourism market.

· Austrian Architectural Centres, Albertina, Soprintendenza Archeologica delle Province di Napoli e Caserta, to make use of new methods of distributing publications, advertising special events, etc.

· CNR, University of Technology in Vienna, University of Patras, whose involvement will strengthen the technical and scientific knowledge base of the European research operators.

The following actions will maximise the exploitation of project results:

· specific actions to promote VHF capabilities and competitiveness inside and outside Europe, e.g. relationship with specialised organisations and industries, technology transfer workshops, etc.

· education of new users (publishers, cultural heritage and tourism organisations) in using the new technologies to improve work patterns and habits.

· promotional actions towards potential customers that are clearly identified from the beginning of the project, such as publishers, cultural heritage and tourism organisations.

Contact Point

Dr. Franco Miniotti,

Olivetti Ricerca, tel.: +39 -0125 52 14 94

Servizi Territoriali, fax: +39 -0125 52 8323

Via Jervis 13 E-mail: email removed

I – 10015 Ivrea, Italy http://jupiter.cib.na.cnr.it:8080/

Participants Country Role

OLIVETTI RICERCA I C

AUSTRIAN ARCHITECTURAL CENTRES A P

CNR-IC I P

FIRST INFORMATICS GR P

LIGUORI EDITORE I P

MSH F P

ALBERTINA A A

Associazione Degli Alberghi

Napoletani I A

INALCO F A

INTRASOFT GR A

SANC I A

European Profiles GR A

UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY - VIENNA A A

UNIVERSITY OF PATRAS GR A

Start Date Duration

01 September 1996 36 months

ESPRIT Project 22266 - M.CUBE
Multimedia support centre for European culture and arts

Keywords : Business Best Practice Pilot

Technical - Multimedia development, multimedia title marketing

User - Museums, galleries, collections, public administrations

Sector - European culture and arts sectors, European cultural heritage

Objectives

The aim of the project is to create a multimedia support network, based on four Mediterranean regions, dedicated to fostering the development of European multimedia applications in the area of culture and arts.

The main objectives of M-Cube are to:

· improve the competitiveness of the European multimedia industry, enhancing the quality of its products, improving the business capabilities of the enterprises, attracting funds for the new developments, etc.

· create a critical mass to penetrate the consumer market at international level; M-Cube will put together many small developers to address the market through big distributors.

· exploit the enormous European potential in terms of cultural contents.

Investigations already carried out by the partners have shown that besides the need for technological, marketing and management support in the multimedia industry. The key role of the editorial function is missing in its organisation. This editorial function should link the developers with the distributors and connect all the other actors/suppliers. The first aim of M-Cube is to help establish this editorial function.

After establishing the editorial base, engineering, financing and distributing new products were the first of the multimedia manufacturers’ requirements to be met. Then the focus moved to the other technical services needed to structure the manufacturing side of participating companies, to raise originality and quality of the products, cut costs and build the multimedia business on a genuine industrial basis. This best practice implementation finds in European culture and arts a particularly appealing application.

Supplying multimedia support services to cultural users is a strategic task for M-Cube. Museums, galleries, collections, public administrations, etc. are pilot users and clients of advanced technological solutions, based on the application of multimedia to culture and arts.

The consortium is composed of four organisations located in Catalunya (Spain), Languedoc-Roussillon (France), Tuscany (Italy) and Attica (Greece). The current activities of these organisations are principally devoted to technology transfer and economic development of their respective regions, with particular regard to SMEs. The four organisations will establish an international network of local support centres to provide a large range of services.

The M.Cube contribution is to:

· first, contribute to the development of a whole editorial line, defining technical and artistic contents, market targets and channels, certification process, methodological recommendations, policy and programmes.

· second, create a network of manufacturers, through setting up local associations and the development of international exchanges.

· third, develop business opportunities with the final aim of stimulating new market.

· fourth, provide a large set of services through intermediation and direct delivery, technological and manufacturing services, training, access to multimedia repositories, certification, consulting activities, information desk, etc

Contact Point

Mrs Antonella FRESA
Agenzia per l’Alta Tecnologia CESVIT SpA
Via Pian dei Carpini 28
I - 50127 Firenze

Italy E-mail: email removed
http://www.mcube.org

Participants Country Role

CESVIT I C

GROUPEMENT D'ENTREPRISES F P

MULTIMEDIA L.R.

INSTITUT CATALA DE TELEMATICA E P

APLICADA

LAMBRAKIS RESEARCH FOUNDATION P

AGENCE 3001 F A

ARCHIMEDES GR A

ASEDEM E A

UNIVERSITY OF FLORENCE I A

NTUA GR A

SISTEMA INFORMATICS GR A

TESEO B A

Start Date Duration

01 September 1996 30 months

ESPRIT Project 22270 - MAGPIE - Multimedia Action Groups Planning Information for Europe

Keywords: Business Best Practice Pilot

Technical - Electronic publishing, multimedia content, multimedia products, online transactions

User - Developers, suppliers and users of multimedia products

Sector - Multimedia industry, entertainment industry, electronic publishers

Objectives

The objective of the MAGPIE project, an Accompanying Action, is to provide current and potential developers, suppliers and users of multimedia technologies, systems and applications with the information they need about the structure, trends and future evolution of the European multimedia industry and marketplace, in order to help them plan the evolution of their business.

The aim is to capture existing knowledge about the way the sector has developed to date, and to validate that knowledge across a broad spectrum of interests. The timescale of the proposed action is limited to twelve months, in order to yield results during a critical period in the development of the multimedia sector.

The action will not attempt to duplicate the kind of comprehensive quantitative market survey readily available through commercial analysts. Instead, it will concentrate on providing the information ‘building blocks’ that will allow users of the study results to enhance their own market intelligence. National Special Interest Groups will provide a platform for developing that intelligence through collaboration and dialogue between representatives from all parts of the industry.

The areas selected for studies are:

· electronic publishing - the ability to use multimedia technologies for the commercial exploitation of information resources.

· distribution of multimedia products - the mechanisms by which electronic information products can be distributed in their various markets.

· online transactions - the opportunities that exist for implementing new methods of charging for information products.

· emerging consumer applications - the factors that will create new markets for electronic information products in the consumer/home sector.

· legal frameworks - the existing and emerging legal structures within which commerce in electronic information will be conducted.

MAGPIE will deliver five trans-national studies conducted by the seven European Multimedia Special Interest Groups who are founder members of the MAGNET Working Group, in conjunction with colleagues from Finland, Germany and Luxembourg. The study areas are those which provide the most significant opportunities (and threats) to the emerging multimedia content industry.

In each study area, the goals are to:

· understand the boundaries, limitations and interfaces with other areas.

· develop reference models explaining how the area is configured and operates.

· analyse the implications of the convergence of technologies/markets.

· identify milestones and catalysts for evolution/progress in the area.

· elicit and document regional differences in environment, timescales or attitudes.

· emphasise strategically significant similarities between regions and the business opportunities they create.

The final reports are available and can be downloaded from the Web sites.

Contact Point

Mr. Neil SANFORD

The Old Office Block

Elmtree Road, Teddington (Middx)

United Kingdom. TW11 8ST E-mail: email removed

http://www.magnet.org/magpie.htm

Participants Country Role

UK MMSIG UK C

CLUB MM F P

CRT-HT L P

FTK D P

IIMA IRL P

MMSIG-I I P

MSIG-F SF P

MMSIG-N N P

P-MMSIG P P

SEDISI E P

Start date Duration

01 June 1996 12 months

ESPRIT Project 22287 - COMMERCE & INTERACTIONS

Keywords :

Technical - Electronic Commerce, Multimedia Support Network

User - Retail, Training, Information Society

Industrial application - Retail, Kiosks, Electronic Commerce

Rationale

Multimedia has a strategic place in the current "electronic commerce" revolution of the retail sector. The COMMERCE & INTERACTIONS project aims to facilitate uptake of multimedia in the retail industry by:

· developing a range of innovative support services dedicated to the players involved in multimedia in the retail industry;

· setting up the appropriate mechanisms for enabling a Europe wide service delivery;

· providing European SMEs with easy access to experience with the Global Information Society and the Global Marketplace for SMEs.

COMMERCE & INTERACTIONS will address all aspects of multimedia applied to commerce and address in particular the new commerce - consumer relations enabled by new technologies and the role of multimedia in the extension of commerce to soft products (new services, games, ...).

Industrial objectives

COMMERCE & INTERACTIONS aims to support the European retail industry by a comprehensive set of services, aimed at stimulating awareness of the applications of multimedia technology in retailing, and in so doing underpin conditions for improved competitive differentiation of the European retail industry in the global marketplace. Services will include business application intelligence gathering and information dissemination services (seminars, information letters, best practice workshops, guided visits to permanent exhibition), assistance services (strategic brainstorming work groups, set-up of experimental demonstration models), a user club (including special working parties exclusively composed of retailers and technology suppliers).

Delivery mechanisms, which will be deployed in order to reach the widest possible range of organisations -both European multinationals and SMEs -, include:

· the ECHANGEUR Exhibition Centre (2000 m in Paris, for demonstrations of mobile, home and in-store applications and for workshops and meetings, run by a permanent staff); and

· the Virtual ECHANGEUR, a dedicated distance multimedia system featuring interactive videoconference and working group support as well as a multimedia bulletin board and WorldWideWeb information.

The services resulting from COMMERCE & INTERACTIONS will be supported and delivered by ECHANGEUR, an extensive multimedia think-tank and pilot demonstration centre, constituted as a European Economic Interest Group (EEIG) and founded by leading European retail organisations (Galeries Lafayette, El Corte Ingles, Sears) and consumer credit companies (CELETEM, subsidiary of the Compagnie Bancaire, Groupe PARIBAS; COFINOGA subsidiary of the Groupe Galeries Lafayette). The ECHANGEUR will support the evaluation of the strategic choices for the commerce of the future, and will assist the retail industry to imagine, simulate, demonstrate and test advanced information technology and telematic solutions for electronic commerce for large user communities.

A renowned research institute, INRIA, participates in COMMERCE & INTERACTIONS, providing expert support in service innovation, human factor methods, and the Virtual ECHANGEUR. The School of Management, Imperial College, London, is providing analysis and advice to SMEs on the strategic alignment and impact of such technologies on their businesses. The COMMERCE & INTERACTIONS consortium is composed of the ECHANGEUR EEIG founders, and remains open to membership requests from other European retail industry partners.

The ECHANGEUR will operate as from early 1996, with services developed by COMMERCE & INTERACTIONS available by the second half of 1996. The ECHANGEUR aims to become financially self-sustained three years after project start. COMMERCE & INTERACTIONS partners will exploit results through the ECHANGEUR and furthermore will benefit from the know-how and contacts developed through the project.

Contact Point

Mr. Christian Marchandise

L'ECHANGEUR

66 rue des Archives

75150 PARIS CEDEX 03

France E-mail: email removed

http://www.echangeur.fr

Participants Country Role

ECHANGEUR F C
GALERIES LAFAYETTE F P
CETELEM F P
IECISA E P
INRIA F P
IMPERIAL COLLEGE UK P
SEARS UK P

Start Date Duration

01 June 1996 36 months

ESPRIT Project 22375 - MEDIA PASS
Multimedia environment for distributed interactive applications of promotional and advertising shop systems

Keywords:
Technical: Interactive multimedia, multimedia authoring, Internet, video-on-demand
User:
retail shops, stores; multimedia developers, system integrators
Sector:
Industrial applications, commercial applications, authoring

Media-Pass developed a new generation of high quality interactive multimedia systems, allowing an evolution from kiosks to DMSS (Distributed Multimedia Shop Systems). In general they offer the features necessary for creating effective presentations and functional services in a broad range of application. In the particular marketing and sale domain they support information distribution and marketing follow-up.

From the functional point of view these systems have been designed as:

a new generation of general purpose "electronic kiosks" encompassing top level presentation quality, several networking facilities and a broad range of modules which can support the implementation of many different applications

a distributed marketing/sale information system based on networked shop workstations, which can give new solutions to the management of commercial retail chains

Media Pass systems are based on a new multimedia environment including:

an innovative multimedia authoring program, which supports a fast development of top quality interactive CDROM titles and is by far more effective than the most used commercial packages

a number of plug-in like modules which provide many additional functions required from the specific applications

several additional modules which support the overall system application, like networking, remote control and interaction with other systems

A broad range of multimedia technologies allows to obtain high quality image-sound-video presentations and effective interactions with the targeted users. Advanced compression techniques allow important memory/bandwidth savings, but always maintain a very high quality of the final multimedia presentations corresponding to a professional audio-visual product.

Its unique "virtual CDROM" technology allows to update presentations stored in remote systems. Its open system approach supports the integration of external software and hardware modules. The coded script approach allows fast execution and minimal memory requirements. Facilities are available for developing multi-language applications.

The inter-working between central and remote systems is based on several technologies, like dial-up, ISDN, FTP, WWW, Video-on-Demand. They allow:

continuous update and dissemination of market news and infomercials

entertainment and promotional activities

queries to central mainframes or information systems

collection of marketing information and statistics through interactions with customers

Through the MEDIA PASS network, two fundamental marketing needs have been fulfilled: monitoring market trends in real time and satisfying the customer's preferences with a "just in time" approach.

Broad markets for the software and hardware components ensure moderate costs and wide diffusion of the derived products. The system also conforms to consolidated and emerging standards, is easily portable on different platforms and adaptable to new requirements. Presently it is based on Win’95 and Win NT and is fully compliant to Microsoft recommendations, but a porting of the run-time commands interpreter to the Acorn computers has already been implemented.

Several early applications have validated the intermediate products based on Media Pass technologies: CDROM have been produced for Artime, Invicta and Panasonic, stand-alone kiosks for Città Mercato (Auchan Group), TV spot planning and video subtitling for French and Belgian TV networks.

A major European watch manufacturer has validated the "interactive shop windows" approach and the DMSS facilities with a multinational pilot project.

A Media Pass and early applications presentation is available at the Web site: www.ecs.net/dmi

Contact Point

Franco MASSARO
DMI - DIGITAL MEDIA INTERNATIONAL Srl
Via G. B. Morgagni, 3
I - 20129 Milano E-mail: email removed

Participants Country Role

DMI Srl I C

ACORN COMPUTERS Ltd UK P

DUMP Sprl B P

ARTIME GmbH D P

Start Date Duration

15 April 1996 27 months

ESPRIT Project 22405 - HOMESTEAD II - Multimedia-based marketing and sales into the home

Keywords: Business Best Practice Pilot

Technical - Multimedia, multimedia publishing, electronic commerce, home shopping

User - Retailers, home product/service suppliers, consumers

Sector - Retailing, electronic commerce, multimedia industry, online service providers

Objectives

The prime objective of the project is to set up and demonstrate for both consumers and sales organisations a new and more advanced way of home shopping, using a multimedia-based online solution as the access channel. HOMESTEAD II is also intended to lower the cost of entry for merchants wishing to promote their goods or services directly into the home, by using existing consumer technology enhanced by on-line connectivity for the sales transaction.

The earlier HOMESTEAD I project demonstrated that many in the sales and marketing sectors see direct communication with home consumers as being the way forward in consumer marketing. However, the systems developed within this project were usable only in a limited trial environment and proved to be a long way from full commercial implementation, particularly where multimedia capabilities played a part in the presentation.

HOMESTEAD II aims to provide both sales organisations and consumers with the benefits of multimedia-based home shopping in the near future, by developing existing technologies to meet home shopping requirements through combining existing multimedia presentations with on-line transaction information.

The technologies involved and the benefits for operators and users will be demonstrated via a thorough market trial in order to stimulate take-up in the market. A multi-platform approach should ensure that existing electronic technologies within the home could be used for access. Ease of user access will be demonstrated by making product sales and ordering information available both by direct dial-up and via the Internet.

For the field trials it is planned to include external participants as well as specific project partners, in order to strengthen the validity of the results. These additional participants, usually selling organisations, will be identified during the early stages of the project. The work carried out, as part of the project should eventually, subject to feedback from the market trial, result in a seamless transfer to a full commercial service.

Contact point

Mr Tony Scott

Philips Consumer Electronics

420-430 London Road

Croydon CR9 3QR

United Kingdom E-mail: email removed

Participants Country Role

CD-ONLINE UK C

FREEMANS UK P

PARISA GROUP UK P

CD-ITALY I P

LASER FR P

Start Date Duration

01 June 1996 25 months

ESPRIT Project 22935 - ASSIST
Computer-based assistance to maintenance tasks

Keywords: Business Best Practice Pilot
Technical - Computer-Based Training, Equipment Emulation, Intelligent Training
User - Maintenance Personnel, Production Engineers, Emergency Services
Sector - Manufacturing Industries, Processing Industries

The objective of the Assist project is to integrate the techniques of Intelligent Training Systems (ITSs) and Equipment Emulation into a coherent tool set for building of Computer Based Training (CBT) Systems and utilise them for pilot applications development. These applications are selected from two completely different areas in order to ensure the generic approach and flexibility of the tool set and allow the introduction into a broader market.

The target applications of Assist relate to maintenance jobs, where it is important to present the trainee with realistic interactive simulation of difficult situations and coach him by diagnosing and correcting his mistakes. In this area, traditional CBT technologies are already in use and for that reason the training media is accepted and operational. Even though Assist will emphasize the integration of ITS and Equipment Emulation into CBT all known multimedia applications will be utilised where appropriate.

Nowadays Computer Based Training (CBT) represents a cost effective solution for training of personnel in many sectors of industry and services. In the last decade a novel technology for CBT has been emerging, Intelligent Training Systems (ITSs), which couples domain and tutoring knowledge bases to sophisticated techniques for dialogue management, explanation production and session planning. ITSs have been applied up to now to train operators of complex physical systems such as power plants, aircraft and other specialised technical artefacts which require the presence of human operators to ensure efficient, reliable and safe operation.

Meanwhile advanced multidimensional graphics and navigation techniques that conform to the paradigm of Virtual Reality have been developed and applied to many sectors, including education and training. Equipment Emulation is a recently developed CBT technology in which the functionality and appearance of technical equipment is reproduced on a computer screen. It has the nature of desktop Virtual Reality, so that the user can navigate around and interact with the emulated equipment at will. The user does this by means of a mouse, joystick or other standard computer input device. Three-dimensional computer graphics are used to represent different views of the equipment and it responds to user actions in exactly the same way as the real equipment would. The emulation is based upon a comprehensive functional model of the real equipment and this includes the capability of reproducing the effects of fault conditions.

Therefore both technologies are mature enough for a generic practical implementation:

· They can work together synergically in CBT applications.

· They are available on low-cost computing platforms, such as PCs.

· They can be distributed to a broad community of users without requiring huge hardware investments.

A further objective of Assist is to measure the improvements that this novel CBT technology will introduce compared to the current practices.

The challenge and possibility of fully automating a training practice which is currently taking place in a classroom environment is extremely appealing to our consortium. Benefits should hence pertain to three areas:

· reduction of training costs related to human trainers and relocation of personnel to training sites;

· harmonisation and uniformisation of the training practice;

· better formalisation and documentation of the training practice which should also considerably lessen development costs in a range of similar applications.

The success of Assist will make advanced CBT solutions available for a wide range of commercial application areas: Manufacturing industries (automotive, mechanical parts and pieces, huge machinery, etc.); Processing industries (oil and gas, energy, chemicals); and Services (financial, administrative, education).

Contact Point

Dr. Martin Frühauf

VEGA Informations Technologien GmbH

Pallaswiesenstr. 172

D-64293 Darmstadt e-mail email removed

Germany http://www.vega.de/projects/assist

Participants Country Role

VEGA D C

ENEL I P

IFE N P

ATOS INGENIERIE INTEGRATION F P

SAS S,N,DK P

AEM I P

Start Date Duration

15 November 1996 27 months

ESPRIT Project 22937 - HOMENET
Home networking and communications technologies

Keywords:
Technical - Digital home, EHS, European Homes Systems (EHS) Standard, Cable TV, Set-top boxes, Visual Tools, Internet.
User - Home automation, signal distribution,
Internet .
Industrial application - Signal distribution,
Homes Systems (EHS) Standard, Cable TV .

Over the years there has been a convergence of the IT and Telecom technologies. This has given rise to a new breed of Multifunction Products (MFP’s). Now we are witnessing a new convergence, Telecom and Cable. This has been brought about by the public’s general acceptance of new communications technologies. This acceptance has led to an increased number of homeowners purchasing fax machines, PC’s etc. One of the biggest influences in this development has been the accessibility of the Internet, which has gripped the public’s imagination and is not likely to let go.

On top of this convergence there is an increased interest in interconnection of domestic appliances from VCR’s, Set-top boxes to faxes and heating. New standards are evolving for the interconnection of appliances including the European Homes Systems (EHS) Standard.

The objective of the project is to allow the bridging between telecommunication, cable, personal computer connection, and EHS home automation/signal distribution by providing HomeNet, a 'routing' appliance that will act as the heart of a true network of appliances and signals in the home and connect to the information highways.

Building on the experience and know-how gained in the ESPRIT DAPPS Project for a Multifunction Device, the partners will provide features so that HomeNet will act as a Router for signals and appliance control. The following diagram outlines the architecture of a HomeNet Device :

Image

Because of time-to-market requirements, the project has a duration of 18 months. The consortium comprises hardware and software technology suppliers, Ferrotec for the hardware platform and software for MFP and telecommunications functions, Visual Tools for video, home automation and HCI functions, and Trialog for the home automation network technology, and one of Europe’s largest Cable TV operator, Cablelink Ltd for expertise in Cable TV. The fact that Cablelink itself is owned by a Telecommunications operator (Telecom Eireann) is an additional motivation for integrated technologies to take place. Each partner has existing business links for exploitation of this type of technology:

Ferrotec work with a number of key European (and US) Telecom and Cable companies (OEMs)

Cablelink are well respected in the world of Cable TV market and advise many other cable companies.

Visual Tools will operate on a licensing basis and with its contacts in TV & security companies.

Trialog previous experience with EHS helped it establish links with key companies (such as EDF) in the Home Automation field.

Contact Point

Mr. David FERRIE
Ferrotec Ltd,
T9 Maple Avenue,
Stillorgan Industrial Park, -1.295.2529
Stillorgan, County Dublin, -1.295.3625
Ireland E-mail: email removed

Participants Country Role

FERROTEC Ltd IRL C

CABLElink Ltd IRL P

Trialog sa F P

Visual Tools SA. E P

Start Date Duration

01 January 1997 24 months

ESPRIT Project 22981 - VIPER - Low Cost MPEG-2 Video Production System

Keywords:
Technical - Digital audio and video, MPEG, PCI bus, magnetic recording, disk drive.
User - Video editing, multimedia authoring, presentations, removable storage.
Industrial application - Multimedia authoring, post-production, video servers.

Objectives

This project aims to promote the MPEG-2 digital video standard in the computer world by offering high performance and cost optimised technology and tools to achieve and support the video capture and compression process. The specific objectives are:

Develop a high performance MPEG-2 single chip encoder/decoder for PCI boards in PCs, performing real time capture, compression, decompression and restitution of full screen, full colour and full speed video.

Develop an integrated system for real time MPEG-2 video capture, compression, decompression and restitution including a PCI add-on board together with Windows drivers and application software.

Develop an external 3½" removable cartridge disk drive subsystem providing 4.5 GB capacity on three 1.5 GB cartridges, and optimised for MPEG-2 video applications.

Integrate all the components, together with suitable software and Windows drivers, into a DVD premastering demonstration system.

Approach

Unlike its competitors who sell small quantities of very expensive high end products, VITEC Multimedia has become the market leader in MPEG-1 encoders by selling much bigger quantities at a much lower price. This was achieved by developing proprietary VLSI chips to decrease the cost and increase the performance.

VITEC now intends to develop a second generation VLSI, able to encode (and decode) MPEG-2 with high quality at a very low cost. To achieve this objective, they will develop an ASIC optimised for the application and taking advantage of the power of the PC environment to minimise the silicon required. The VIPER project will develop such a VLSI, as well as a complete PC add-on board and supporting software, which make full use of the chip’s capabilities in MPEG-2 video acquisition applications.

One thing that characterises such digital video applications more than anything else is the huge volume of data that needs to be moved around at high speed - all of which eventually has to be stored somewhere. The constraints that this places upon current storage devices overwhelm them. Tape drives are extremely slow to access, whilst CD-ROM and optical drives cannot maintain the data transfer rates required.

The only technology that comes close to achieving the transfer rates and access times required for digital video is the well-established magnetic hard disk drive. However, in spite of the enormous advances that have been made in the technology, these machines do have a finite capacity - even the biggest drives of 4 GB or more can soon become totally filled. What is clearly needed is an extension of this technology into a device that has unlimited capacity. Such a device is the removable cartridge magnetic disk drive, where it is quite easy to use dozens of cartridges if necessary to cover several different applications or many different projects.

Myrica is Europe’s only company specialising in the development of removable cartridge magnetic disk drives, and will support VITEC in the development of their codecs by producing an external high-capacity storage subsystem optimised for VITEC’s target MPEG-2 video acquisition applications.

As an example of one possible application for the tools being developed within the project, Myrica will also produce a demonstration system for premastering of the new high density Digital Versatile Disks (DVDs), a potentially huge emerging market.

Exploitation

Exploitation of the results of the project is foremost in the minds of the partners - indeed the driving force behind their involvement - and will occur in a number of ways, through each partners’ existing global distribution channels.

VITEC sells its range of multimedia products world-wide through computer distributors, multimedia VARs, system integrators and OEMs. In 1995, over 50% of the turnover was generated outside the EU - mainly in Asia.

At the end of the VIPER project, two main products will be industrialised by VITEC:

a low cost, high performance, MPEG-2 compression system for PCs - the codec board

an MPEG-2 single chip VLSI codec - the VLSI

The codec boards will be sold through their distribution channels, VARs and system integrators, whilst the VLSI will be sold to third party manufacturers and OEMs.

As the project moves into its exploitation phase, Myrica intends to pursue its existing partnership strategy, whereby manufacturing of the cartridges and subsystems is subcontracted to Nomaï in France and Xyratex in the UK. Their marketing focus will be to offer products that can compete in two particular types of video applications:

digital video acquisition

DVD premastering

Myrica will first market the storage subsystem and cartridges through the well-established channels of its parent company, Nomaï, but it will also use the competitive advantage built from its collaboration with VITEC to penetrate other vertical market niches, such as through manufacturers of video and multimedia editing stations, and in the booming new "Video Server" market. Each market will need specific technical and marketing work because each one will require partnership in combining storage know-how with other key components. Extensive work on distribution will be undertaken, as not every market will use similar distribution.

Contact Point

Dr. Nigel Mackintosh

Mackintosh Consultants

The Chase, Pinfold Lane

Northop Hall E-mail: email removed

Clwyd CH7 6HE, UK http://www.ndmack.demon.co.uk/viper.htm

Participants Country Role

VITEC F C

Myrica UK P

Start Date Duration

15 November 1995 30 months

ESPRIT Project 23011 - IMDEX
Integrated system for multimedia indexing, matching & retrieval

Keywords:
Technical - multimedia, images, automatic classification, images retrieval.
User - publishing, multimedia provider, copyright, images
Industrial application - press , advertising, libraries, internet, trademark

One of the main problems associated to the management of multimedia information is the difficulty of storing and classifying the electronic information so that it can be easily retrieved afterwards. There is a significant lack of standard tools which allows the interested parties to find out what multimedia assets are already in the market regarding their subjects of interest, and even less to provide them with help to index and retrieve their existing or continuously generated multimedia information.

With regards to the media copyrights issue, the situation is even worse. Although there already exist many products in the market which permit the modification and manipulation of multimedia information, there almost exist none which may relate one object to others similar to it, or to the ones it may derive from.

For many high volume end-users of multimedia information, these problems are forbidding them the full utilisation of this technology. Companies like Prensa Española, or GIUNTI are facing the fact that, although they have a very important asset on graphic multimedia information (mainly images) gathered through all their lifetime, they can not afford the task of converting all their existing archives to an electronic format and classify and organise them accordingly.

Almost all existing products for multimedia information storage rely completely on the user judgement to classify the different assets, process that is almost always done through the use of specific keywords. This process requires a very important amount of dedication and care from the people in charge of classifying the information. Most important, as the classification is produced mainly on a personal subjective manner, the obtained results are neither standard, nor reliable. Subsequent retrieval attempts to access the stored information are difficult and many times unsuccessful.

For those companies commercialising images, there is a certain need to count with tools which allow them to automatically index and retrieve images from a set included in a database. This indexing and retrieval must be based in their graphic contents and not only in associated keywords as most of the existing market products allow. Most important, these tools must include facilities to relate one image to others because of their graphic similarities and, if possible, even to detect if one image has been manipulated from an original one. This necessity is even more important for images end-users, who need to access the information they are interested in as fast as possible, without having to look through huge images catalogues.

For those companies trying to originally create new Trademarks or Logos, there is an urgent need to access the existing accepted ones and avoid the generation of new ones which resembles them. This is even true for the different National Trademark Offices. There is an urgent need to dispose of a tool to relate them automatically and provide classification, retrieval and association facilities.

The main industrial objective of this project is to develop an application which will try to address and solve the above problems. It will do so by producing an integrated tool which will perform the semiautomatic classification of multimedia information (images) based not only in the accompanying information (footnotes, IPTC, headings, etc.) or manually entered information, but in the graphic image itself (its contents). Existing techniques, like segmentation and schema generation will be used to facilitate the task of classifying, retrieval and, mainly, relating similar images from an existing set.

It is the objective of the consortium to make use of the existing techniques already tested in the field of images classification, to improve them when necessary, and to produce an integrated application which may provide an efficient help for all kind of companies or national institutions which must address the problems of generating, distributing, archiving, accessing or protecting graphic multimedia information. In order to facilitate its subsequent commercialisation, special importance will be assigned during the development to the introduction of the necessary integration procedures and interfaces to connect the developed application to the existing company applications (distribution, billing, etc.).

Contact Point

Fernando Centeno

Software ag españa, s.a. tel +34/ 1 8079411

C/ Ronda de la Luna,4 fax +34/ 1 8079447

28760 Tres Cantos (Madrid) E-mail: email removed

http://dpa.sag.es/~imdex/

Participants Country Role

SOFTWARE AG ESPAÑA, S.A. E C

SEMA GROUP INFODATA AB s P

INTERFOTO AS N A

UNIVERSIDAD POLITECNICA DE MADRID E A

UNIVERSITY OF GENOA I P

UNIVERSIDAD CARLOS III DE MADRID E A

PRENSA ESPAÑOLA, S.A. e a

INTERACTIVE LABS S.R.L. I P

THE WOLFF OLINS BUSINESS LIMITED UK A

Start Date Duration

01 January 97 28 months

ESPRIT Project 23027 - CAMELOT
Character animation using a motion capture low-cost tool

Keywords:
Technical - Motion capture, 3-D real-time animation, video games, virtual reality, 3-D objects, animation and modelling tools.

User - Developers of 3-D real-time applications (games, virtual reality, special effects for films), entertainment.
Industrial application - 3-D real-time applications, television, games, film

The objectives of the CAMELOT project are to develop a high-definition motion capture system for tracking the facial expression and body position of an actor, and correspondingly control a 3-D character in real-time. The system will be an enhancement of current ImperActor system from Eptron. To interface the motion capture system with existing, commercial 3-D animation packages, as well as with commercial real-time rendering platforms. To test and refine the final product in three different application fields:

Video-game production, where the motion capture system will be used to

shorten the development cycle of a game by reducing animation time.

TV production, where the entire system (motion capture & rendering

platform) will be employed for real-time control of a 3D character interacting

with the audience.

Internet-based tele-virtuality applications, where the motion capture system

will allow providing a virtual character interface, for multi-user on-line

environments.

The main results of the present project is to enhance ImperActor in five different ways:

Increasing the number of control points for motion capture of facial expressions

Adding body tracking capabilities

Porting the application used for real-time control of a virtual actor to a PC &

OpenGL low cost platform

Enhancing the user interface to the virtual actor control application

Develop three pilots consisting in a video-game fragment, a broadcast TV pilot and a tele-virtualy application

Contact Point

Juan Ramón LÓPEZ GAY

EPTRON

Caleruega, 79 - 3.ºB +34 -91 3838125

E-28033 MADRID fax: +34 -91 3838864

E-mail: eptron @eptron.com

Participants Country Role

EPTRON E C

E-SPACES B P

PHILIPS RESEARCH LABORATORIES UK P

SPARX* F P

Start Date Duration

01 November 1996 21 months

ESPRIT Project 23066 - MULTISPACE
The MultiSpace project for quality in multimedia products

Keywords: Multimedia, multimedia quality, multimadia publishing, multimedia authors, networks

The MultiSpace project is an initiative to promote improved quality for multimedia applications and systems within Europe. Of particular importance is the assistance to SME (Small and Medium Enterprises) producers to achieve the confidence of new clients.

Objectives

The MultiSpace project will develop an approach for describing the quality of multimedia applications and systems, including the components and objects within them. The Approach will consider technical issues, user-centred issues and contextual/social issues. Priorities for its adoption will be established. The entire Approach will be made public.

The MultiSpace project will also provide methods and materials that support quality improvement. The project will deliver these as a preliminary version of the "Multimedia Quality Box". The methods will be suited for subsequent experimentation, improvement and exploitation. There will be data definitions that support the MultiSpace Approach, including prototype versions of methods of improved requirements specification and quality definition for multimedia applications/systems and their components. The Multimedia Quality Box will also make provision to include methods for the testing and evaluation of applications/systems against these requirements. In addition the consequence of these quality-orientated actions upon project management will be supported by drafted methods for configuration control, risk management and product sizing. There will be training materials targeted at different audiences. The MultiSpace project will also adapt intelligent tutoring technologies to conform with and demonstrate these quality concepts. A demonstration version of the "Quality Tutor" will be produced to show that it is possible to teach the concept of quality in multimedia through a media making favourable use of the MultiSpace Approach.

Approach

The MultiSpace partnership involves a merger of multimedia expertise, quality management expertise, quality management expertise (especially from the software industry) and experience and contacts with SME multimedia developers, suppliers and users across Europe. The games, cultural, educational, film, music and photographic industries will also influence the MultiSpace Approach. The methods included in the Multimedia Quality Box will mostly be existing methods, integrated, adapted and verified so as to provide best possible support for the MultiSpace Approach.

Exploitation

The commercial result of the MultiSpace project will be the materials within the "Multimedia Quality Box". These materials will be further improved by partners in support of consultancy and training, for their third party services for testing and evaluation, and for in-house use in developing multimedia applications and systems.

Technology transfer

The MultiSpace project will perform widespread technology transfer to the European multimedia community of the MultiSpace Approach. The scope and methods involved in the MultiSpace Approach will be published first on the World Wide Web, and later on other commercial media. The project will build a simple network of users and contacts in related areas of work, especially concerning quality within multimedia application and system development. The contacts will include producers, authors, purchasing bodies and researchers.

The project will also establish a group of affiliated organisations and projects to advise and assist in the development of the MultiSpace Approach. Confidential information will be exchanged with the affiliates. The MultiSpace project is already affiliated with ESPRIT project 22292 "SPACE UFO".

Contact Point

Adrian Cowderoy
Brameur QPI Ltd.
Alexander House
50 Station Road E-mail: email removed

UK - Hampshire GU11 1BG http://members.aol.com/aceurope/multispace.html

Participants Country Role

BRAMEUR QUALITY PROCESS & UK C

IMPROVEMENT LTD.

ADRIAN COWDEROY (EUROPE) UK A

ATHENS TECHNOLOGY CENTRE GR P

CITY UNIVERSITY UK P

ETNOTEAM SpA I A

FINSIEL SpA I A

INSTITUUT VOOR MIDDEN- EN NL A

KLEINBEDRIJF

KEMA INTERNATIONAL BV NL P

PHILIPS RESEARCH NL A

PSTI EVALUATION F A

UNIVERSITA DI FIRENZE I A

Start Date Duration

01 December 1996 12 months

ESPRIT Project 23191 - MPEG-4 PC - MPEG-4 system implementation and tools for personal computers

Keywords: MPEG-4, pilot implementation

Technical - Multimedia, news -on-demand, information systems, computer based training, performance support systems, interactivity

User - Authors, publishers, content providers, interface designers

Sector - Computer industy, consumer elelctronics, professional news sector, Internet service providers, entertainment, education, telecommunication, telelearning, teleworking

Objectives

The objective of the MPEG-4 PC project is to develop MPEG-4 multimedia technology for PC based applications. This technology will be applied to the development of telelearning applications on the MPEG-4 topic itself.

Key deliverables of MPEG-4 PC will be:

a PC based hard- and software platform supporting MPEG-4 functionality’s and applications

a set of tools for porting applications to MPEG-4 and tools for developing new applications directly in MPEG-4

a telelearning demonstrator.

Approach

The approach of the Project is designed to guarantee high flexibility towards new hardware components to be released during the next few years. All members of the consortium are also members of the ISO/MPEG-4 committee and will have first access to results and a certain degree of influence on standardisation work.

Impact of the expected Results

All MPEG-4 functionality’s including telecommunication, video and audio, will be integrated into one MPEG-4 kernel using an embedded system based on a virtual processor in order to be flexible in adapting to rapidly changing chip technology. On top of this high level software such as C or C++ will be used. A set of development tools comprising application libraries, performance analysis tools and simulators etc. will be developed as well as a special run-time system for MPEG-4 applications. The development tools will be used to produce a telelearning application to demonstrate the suitability of the tools and the MPEG-4 hard- and software for Pcs.

Exploitation

The Project will contribute to the introduction of MPEG-4 applications by

disseminating the telelearning demonstrator on the MPEG-4 topic

introducing new MPEG-4 based hardware components

exploiting authoring tools for MPEG-4 applications

Contact Point

Mr. Gerald Knabe

Q-Team Dr. Knabe GmbH

Brauereistr. 11

D-41352 Korschenbroich

Germany E-mail: email removed

http://www.q-team.de/mpeg4/mpeg4pc.htm

Participants Country Role

Q-TEAM D C

CSELT I P

ENST F P

ITK D P

TAO UK P

Start Date Duration

01 November 1996 34 months

ESPRIT Project 23276 - ACOHIR
Accurate colour high resolution

Keywords:
Technical - 3D scanning, colour processing, image processing
User - Cultural heritage, education
Industrial application - electronic publishing

Objectives

Creation of the ACOHIR-scanner, an integrated low-cost modular system for recording, processing and delivery of accurate colour high-resolution images from 3D objects, incorporating a number of views covering up to 360 degrees. The ACOHIR scanner will include all necessary tools for creation and encoding of ACOHIR images.

Creation of ACOHIR-VR, a high resolution accurate colour viewer. Using techniques similar to QuickTime VR and Surround Video, ACOHIR-VR will enable viewing of objects acquired by the ACOHIR-scanner on a multitude of platforms, including on-line applications.

The project consists of four industrial partners, one research group and two user groups. The research group (NG and ENST) will carry out all necessary developments for the proposed commercial prototype product. The industrial partners (ATC, BARCO, COBAX, VS) will be involved with the management, user needs analysis and the creation of the commercial products. The first user group (user group 1-UG1) will test the prototype for applications within a museum environment and for educational purposes, while the industrial group (UG2) will apply the system for creation of digital catalogues for commercial products (furniture and ceramics).

ACOHIR will contribute towards the creation of the following products:

The ACOHIR-scanner, a hardware system for recording high-resolution accurate colour views of 3-dimensional objects.

The ACOHIR-VR, a virtual reality system used to visualise objects captured by the ACOHIR-scanner.

An on-line browser of ACOHIR images over networks, taking into account bandwidth restrictions.

The ACOHIR products can be exploited by a number of ways such as:

creation of databases of objects of complex and irregular shapes using standard and thus inexpensive tools, with accurate colour registration at a high spatial resolution;

creation of a low-cost commercial system for scanning of 3D objects;

creation of tools for viewing the recorded objects at stand-alone or on-line applications;

providing to electronic publishers essential tools for creating cost-effective accurate colour high-resolution representations of 3D objects. Potential target groups: on-line network browsers; private and public sector organisations, general public.

Contact Point

Nikolaos DESSIPRIS
ATHENS TECHNOLOGY CENTER tel + 30 -1 6855560
Aigialias, 6 fax + 30 -1 6855564
GR - 15125 Athens E-mail: email removed

Participants Country Role

ATHENS TECHNOLOGY CENTRE (ATC) GR C

BARCO B P

COBAX D P

VASARI UK P

NATIONAL GALLERY UK P

ENST F P

ARISTITLE UNIV. OF THESSALONIKI GR A

UNIV. OF SOUTHAMPTON UK A

CHRISTIAN & BYZANTINE MUSEUM GR A

LRMF F A

MUSEUM OF CYCLADIC ART GR A

AIDIMA E P

LLADRO E P

Start Date Duration

01 April 1997 30 months

ESPRIT Project 23300 - GUIDE
Galleries universal information, dissemination and editing system

Keywords:
Technical - Multimedia
User -
Museum, culture, tourism
Industrial application - Portable digital assistant (PDA)

The GUIDE project aims at establishing Europe as the world leader in the use of Portable Digital Assistants for museum visitors to not only enrich the visit experience but also to enable them to take away a Personal Catalogue in attractive paper form (or an electronic version) containing only the information they require on objects or themes of particular interest to them, with an emphasis on the use of narratives to stimulate and educate and entertain them as well as encouraging repeat visits - either in person or increasingly over the "Infobahn". The latter is seen as complementary to the GUIDE PDAs since it is increasingly clear that electronic visits are no adequate substitute for the actual visit, except for disadvantaged people, and indeed there is emerging evidence that electronic visits lead to higher numbers of "physical" visits.

The GUIDE approach combines two innovative systems already pioneered by the developer SMEs in the Consortium:

A portable device enabling the visitor during the visit to select its objects and themes of interest and then obtain a Personalised Catalogue. An early prototype was already developed in the special East German VAMP project supported by ESPRIT.

Digital Audio Guides pioneered by GUIDE SMEs in Italy and the UK.

GUIDE is driven by the requirements of its museum partners to provide greater value to their visitors, the Consortium including not only two museums already taking a leading role in the application of new technologies in the museum field - the National Museums of Scotland and the Town Museum of Halle, plus a special GUIDE Tuscany Museums User Group, co-ordinated by the University of Florence, building on its similar previous work with the Uffizi in a number of EC supported projects, as well as contributing advanced scientific and technological expertise.

Rapid effective exploitation is a top priority for GUIDE and a key role of VASARI Enterprises in the project is to ensure this, not only by ensuring that the project has a high "showcase" profile during its course using the EVA Conferences across Europe (Brussels, Berlin, Florence, London, Paris and Thessaloniki already planned for 97 and 98 plus others it is hoped) but also then using them as a distribution channel for GUIDE.

A demanding workplan using concurrent engineering approaches calls for:

GUIDE first "demonstrator" prototypes developed and installed in 3 Reference sites in Halle, Edinburgh and Florence in 98/99.

GUIDE second "experimental" prototype in these and additional exhibitions in 1999 for final user trials, including "readiness to pay".

Consideration will be given to the formation of a European Economic Interest Group (?better: special organisation) for commercial sales to begin in 1999.

The technology to be developed and tested in GUIDE is not restricted to Museums & Galleries since it should be applicable, with appropriate modifications and extensions, to other fields such as industrial exhibitions/fairs as well as historic monuments, houses, castles and other cultural heritage sites. In this perspective, the work achieved in GUIDE will find a prolongation in the TOSCA project (EP 26800), which will further develop the GUIDE PDA approach for cultural tourism.

Contact Point

Alex GESCHKE
COMPART GmbH
Schieritzstr., 34
D - 10409 Berlin E-mail: email removed

Participants Country Role

COMPART GmbH D C

I-MEDIA UK P

LOGITRON Srl I P

NATIONAL MUSEUMS OF SCOTLAND UK P

RADIO GUIDE I P

STEREMAT ELEKTRONISCHE D P

GERAETETECHNIK

TOWN MUSEUM HALLE D A

UNIVERSITA DI FIRENZE I P

VASARI ENTERPRISES UK P


Start Date Duration

01 April 1997 24 months

ESPRIT Project 23437 - MAGNET
Multimedia action groups network

Keywords:
Technical - Multimedia, Internet, World-wide Web.
User - European Multimedia Operators (IT companies, Publishers, Research).
Industrial application - Multimedia.

In the constantly evolving field of multimedia in Europe, both private organisations and public institutions are facing several key problems:

· Multimedia operators need up-to-date, reliable information on the opportunities available at the European level (for example, calls for proposals, important events, large international initiatives). At the moment, it is not easy to receive this kind of information in a structured and reliable way.

· There is also a need to be involved in discussions, which take place at the European level with a view to defining future actions, and to be able to contribute to such discussions.

· Public institutions (such as the EC and national governments) need to be aware of trends and developments in the multimedia market in order to shape public policies according to real user needs.

The main objective of MAGNET is to contribute to solving the problems above, by creating an infrastructure which will foster dynamic interaction and the circulation of information horizontally (i.e. at the level of operators) and vertically (i.e. between public institutions and operators).

The ultimate goal is to create a leverage effect throughout Europe, fostering the take-off of the multimedia market across the continent. More specifically, MAGNET will have a multiplier effect on the action of the Multimedia Special Interest Groups (SIGs) taking part in it (namely, Italy, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Norway, Spain, Portugal and France). By and large, and taking into account national peculiarities, the goals of a typical SIG are:

· To represent its members as a critical mass both at national and international levels.

· To facilitate contacts, at national and international levels, between members with the aim of setting up technical, commercial and scientific partnerships.

· To provide members with accurate and up to date information about opportunities and activities taking place internationally.

· To identify and, whenever possible, implement and provide useful services for the members.

It is clear that these individual objectives can best be achieved through close co-operation among all the European SIGs. Therefore, another objective of the first phase of MAGNET, funded through the present contract, is to promote the MAGNET idea and to attract the participation of European countries, which are not yet involved. A very significant role in this respect will be played by the quarterly plenary meetings which will have the goal of bringing together the working parties in order to make the collaboration tighter, and to exchange views and information with as many as possible external, qualified entities (public administrations, other areas of the EC, and other associations working in the same domain).

Contact Point

Ms Antonella Fresa

Agenzia per l’Alta Tecnologia CESVIT SpA tel.: +39 -0554 294 261
Via Pian dei Carpini 28 fax.: +39 -0554 294 220

I-50127 FIRENZE E-mail: email removed

Italy http://www.magnet.org/magnet.html

Participants Country Role

Multimedia Special Interest Group Italy I C
Limburgs Universitair Centrum B A
Forschunginstitut für Telekommunikation D A
Asoc. Espanola de Empresa
de Tecn. de la Information (SEDISI) E A
AFEE-AFEM F A

Hellinic Multimedia Special Interest Group GR A
Irish Interactive Multimedia Association IRL A

Centre de Recherche Public Henri Tudor L A

Multimedia Forum Norway N A

EG-Liaison NL A
Portuguese Multimedia Special Interest Group P A
Multimedia Special Interest Group Finland SF A
The UK Multimedia Special Interest Group Ltd UK A

Techno-Z HF Forschung und Entwicklung A A

Federation of Icelandic industries ISL A

Start Date Duration

01 February 1997 27 months

ESPRIT Project 24029 - AgriMMedia
The establishment of an Agricultural MultiMedia support network

Keywords:
Technical - multimedia, support network, agriculture

User - the primary agricultural producers (entrepreneurs), the secondary industry (supply, process and support), information suppliers (research, extension, industry), administration and interest groups

Industrial application - Multimedia support network

AgriMMedia is a Multimedia Support Network for the agricultural sector. It aims to increase the use, efficiency, quality and cost-effectiveness of production of multimedia applications in the agricultural sector. The network is based in three European countries: the Netherlands (Stoas, WAU), France (ACTA, Cnerta), and Sweden (SLU, LRF). It will later extend its activities to other EU/EFTA countries using existing international networks in which the partners already participate.

Multimedia production should be user and market driven. AgriMMedia will stimulate the development, use, distribution and marketing, of multimedia productions adapted to user/market requirements. It will also stimulate the development of persons working in this field of expertise, by bringing the different actors together and supporting them in their work. As a result AgriMMedia will increase the efficiency and profitability of multimedia production. AgriMMedia directs its activities to the following actors in the Agricultural knowledge and Information System (AKIS): the primary agricultural producers (entrepreneurs), the secondary industry (supply, process and support), information suppliers (research, extension, industry), administration and interest groups. For these actors multimedia will improve access to information, which is user-friendly, usable, available, and cost-effective, and to training, which is available at the right time and place and in an appropriate form.

AgriMMedia will contribute to the improvement of the multimedia production and use by:

1. initiating/stimulating new developments directed at the producers, users, content providers and technology providers.

2. exchanging knowledge about new developments. AgriMMedia will create a (virtual) market place for expertise on the use and production of multimedia for the agricultural sector with special attention on how to:

- produce multimedia applications (usability, adaptability, technology);

- use multimedia in education, training and extension;

- use multimedia in databases;

- increase the access to agricultural knowledge information databases;

- combine expertise in the fields of production of multimedia and efficient use of information databases.

3. promoting and initiating market surveys and supporting the broader use of their outcome to stimulate SME's to use innovative multimedia developments to improve their marketing. Thus sale of new products and the approach to new markets will be improved.

4. transnational developments to stimulating co-productions, exchange of knowledge and experiences and increase of knowledge about cultural and linguistic difference hindering European productions.

5. supporting initiatives like telework and tele-education centres. Brooking for consultancy, legal advice, expertise and products, databases for images/video, agricultural multimedia networking.

In each of the three countries a multimedia demonstration and training centre will be established. AgriMMedia will support 150 companies in the use of multimedia, train persons of 850 companies and 565 top-level farmers in the possibilities and use of MM, support 45 MM-producers and train 295 trainers in the three countries. Furthermore AgriMMedia will deliver 150 days transnational training and exchange of knowledge.

Contact Point

Joop van Zeeland
STOAS
AgriBusiness Park 91A
P.O. Box 78 E-mail: email removed
NL-6700 AB Wageningen http://www.agrimmedia.org
The Netherlands

Participants Country Role

STOAS NL C

ACTA F P

SLU S P

AERDD UK P

WAU NL P

CNERTA F P

LRF S P

Start Date Duration

01 July 1997 36 months

ESPRIT Project 24111 - ERMES - EuRopean Multimedia Educational Software network

Keywords: Multimedia Educational Software (MES), multimedia courseware

Technical - Multimedia, Best Practices, Skills Development, MES Joint Production, IPR

User - MES authors/editors, trainers/teachers, MES product managers, MES designers/developers, MES publishers

Sector - Education and Training

Objectives

The main objective of the project is to establish a Multimedia Support Network to foster the design, development, diffusion and adaptation of European Multimedia Educational Software (MES). The network addresses the needs of publishers, multimedia developers, content providers and MES users.

The ERMES network will establish and provide a set of commercial services as project results to contribute to specific objectives as follows:

· stimulate the demand for and use of MES by setting up permanent exhibitions and demonstration of multimedia courseware, and by adding a European dimension to awareness activities taking place at the regional or national level;

· facilitate the production of high quality European MES in terms of quality pedagogical design, multilingual and multicultural approach and customisation to different educational frameworks, and by fostering the co-operation between European MES producers in joint development;

overcome the fragmentation of the European market by promoting trans-national co-operation, and by providing information and consultancy services to overthrow specific barriers hindering the transition to the information society for the publishing companies;

encourage skills development through training courses for the different actors involved in the target market, to allow multimedia publishers to get access to the necessary skills to become more competitive within the international multimedia business;

develop and exchange best practices, focusing on MES evaluation, quality assurance and successful business processes and models, relevant to the target markets and closely involving main organisations in the European MES industry.

ERMES will improve the effectiveness of education and training activities and will play a key role in the next future to fulfil the increasing demand for education and training at European level. This is one of the sectors, which can benefit most for the new information and communication technology. Today, European suppliers of multimedia educational software mainly operate in their local or national markets and their products does not always have the pedagogic value, the true multimedia content and the high degree of interactivity that are required for use in education and training.

To address this situation ERMES will support the co-operation among European suppliers of multimedia educational software, helping them to address the global market and to produce high quality multilingual and multicultural learning packages. In this perspective, one of the impacts of the expected results is that ERMES services will lead to improve the competitiveness of the European suppliers (i.e., educational software producers and publishers), and innovate their work organisation. The results of the project will also be exploited by fostering the use of multimedia educational software at schools, colleges, universities, training centres and companies. Specific attention will be given to create favourable conditions for the development of educational multimedia demand and use in less favoured and peripheral regions of the European Union.

The major action lines of the ERMES project are identified in terms of four classes of services provided by the Consortium, namely:

User Support Services, to facilitate the introduction and use of multimedia training/education software into real-life learning contexts.

MES Joint Development and Best Practice , to support distributed and co-operative development of multilingual and multicultural MES.

Copyright and Distribution Services, to help publishing companies in facing international competition and opening up their market potential. This category of services includes distribution of MES at European level, information services for publishing companies.

Skills Development Services, to organise various categories of training courses for different skills required by the multimedia education/training market in different European countries, favouring the mobility of students and trainers.

Contact Point

Mr. Mario CAPURSO

TECNOPOLIS CSATA Novus Ortus

P.O. Box 775

I-70010 Valenzano Bari

Italy E-mail: email removed

http://www.ermesnet.org

Participants Country Role

TECNOPOLIS CSATA Novus Ortus I C

GRIFO MULTIMEDIA I A

PLIROFORIKI TECHNOGNOSIA GR P

ERNST KLETT VERLAG GmbH D P

MEDIACONCEPT F P

BRADFORD TECHNOLOGY Ltd UK P

GRUPO ANAYA SA E P

UNIVERSITAT OBERTA DE CATALUNYA E A

Start date Duration

01 April 1997 30 months

ESPRIT Project 24113 - ERASTA
Exploiting Real-time Animation Specification for Traditional Animation

Keywords : Multimedia Support Network
Technical - Multimedia, 2D, 2.5D, Animation, Real-time graphics
User - Television, animation and video production studios, animators
Sector - Publishing, Television, Advertising, Animation

Objectives

Within a growing number of multimedia (MM) applications, recourse is taken to animated sequences in order to improve the look-and-feel of the titles at issue. These sequences can be produced utilising traditional handcrafted techniques, or can be created by means of computer based approaches. In the computer animation domain computers and software are supporting the animation production which is almost entirely directed towards three-dimensional (3D) animation. In traditional animation, which is mostly dealing with two-dimensional (2D) and two-and-a-half-dimensional (2.5D) animation (being layers of 2D animation), various categories can be indicated: ranging from pencil-drawn animation over cut-out shape animation to the conventional cell-based key-frame animation (an exception of 3D traditional animation is, e.g., physical puppet animation).

The emphasis of ERASTA will be put on servicing the MM industry involved in traditional animation.

With the continuing proliferation of television channels internationally, the growing global home video market, and interactive title production in general, the demand for traditional animation production is growing rapidly. As the production of traditional animation sequences can often be a very tedious and time-consuming task, it is worthwhile to take recourse to tools improving the production process. The various partners of the ERASTA consortium have the intention of integrating and utilising high-end real-time animation specification techniques for servicing the various players in this field: At LUC-EDM, specific effort is put into servicing the development of tools for facilitating the production of two specific kinds of traditional animation: (i) cut-out shape animation, in which animators have to position and orient carefully dozens of (paper) cut-out shapes for each frame, and (ii) free form 2D character animation with the look-and-feel of traditional comic strip books. This is done by integrating a growing set of software modules on a graphics supercomputer (SGI ONYX) with a later migration to more standard equipment; ANDROME is looking for opportunities to utilise these tools in the service they currently offer to their animation customers; NOB Interactive envisions to integrate and to utilised innovative real-time 2D animation specification techniques in facilities for the TV broadcast world; Wavecrest wants to look for arising new market opportunities in context of its links to Cambridge Animation Systems (a major world-wide developer and vendor of 2D cartoon animation systems).

In this context, the objectives and expected results of the ERASTA Multimedia Support Network proposal are:

to put a real-time animation specification system as a service at the disposal of the European multimedia industry involved in the production of animation (in two targeted traditional animation domains: cut-out shape animation and comic stripbook cartoon animation);

to utilise the real-time 2D animation specification techniques as a facility service in TV broadcast applications;

to put supercomputer 2D animation services at the disposal of SME’s;

to investigate the exploitation capabilities of a selected set of real-time 2D animation specification techniques as a new capability in existing systems;

to increase awareness of the European multimedia industry utilising 2D animation techniques of the potential in real-time 2D animation specification;

to continuously search for spin-off activities utilising the ERASTA (alike) services: e.g. generation of cartoon movies; generation of interactive comic strip-books; generation of Internet-based applications; ...

to collaborate with an open character in the European MMSN-formula of ESPRIT, both on specific animation services as well as on the advancement of MM in general.

Contact Point

Prof. dr. Frank VAN REETH

Limburgs Universitair Centrum

Expertisecentrum Digitale Media

Wetenschapspark 2

B-3590 Diepenbeek

Belgium E-mail email removed

http://www.edm.luc.ac.be/erasta/

Participants Country Role

LUC B C

ANDROME B P

NOB NL P

WAVECREST UK P

Start Date Duration

01 March 1997 24 months





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