This topic aims to increase the European competitiveness and innovation capacity and foster the adoption of European eXtended collaborative telepresence technologies in both professional and private spheres, taking benefit of combining real and virtual environments to improve distant human-human interactions through wearables and computer mediated technologies.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused major disruptions to the way we work and live. Physical distancing and global lockdown, as well as pressing climate and environmental concerns, have accelerated the need for development and adoption of telepresence technologies to sustain the productivity of remote and online contactless activities, as well as maintaining social bonds. With a worldwide CO2 emission reduction of more than 20%, the crisis has also revealed that teleworking and reduction of travel is an efficient mitigating solution. Tools supporting enhanced teleworking have become of primal importance.
However, existing collaborative telepresence tools and solutions raise concerns in terms of functionalities, interoperability, efficiency, versatility, openness, accessibility, security and privacy of personal data.
Proposals should leverage existing open standards and technologies in the domain of eXtended Reality, combining human-machine interactions and all real, mix, augmented and virtual environments, accessibility, networks, security and privacy to provide low-cost and widely available eXtended collaborative telepresence solutions.
To ensure wide take-up, proposals should demonstrate their capacity to scale up by involving high numbers of end-users in tests in real environments.
The proposals are expected to address several of the following points:
- Support a wide range of networking bandwidth with adequate compression transmission of information so as to optimise end-to-end quality of service;
- Overcome the limitations of the current technologies handling large number of simultaneous users;
- Support different input and output modalities as the bandwidth capacities extend (text, speech, audio, video, AR/VR, 3D, holography);
- Through open standards, support the integration of additional services such as recording and sharing meeting recording speech transcription, translation, anonymisation, summarisation, context-aware instant search;
- Optimise the results of eXtended collaborative meetings through easy access, analysis and syntheses of recordings;
- Ensure security and protect user privacy, through a mix of necessary technologies (encryption, blockchains, edge-processing, standardisation, …);
- Develop, document and promote open standards based interfaces (such as APIs) which can be used by third parties to further enhance the project solutions and adapt them to other environments and user needs, avoiding vendor lock-in.
- Provide systems to facilitate human-to-human and human-to-machine interaction, that allows real-time as well as offline communication;
- Apply eXtended Reality technologies to support the communication and collaboration experience;
- Apply eXtended Reality models to enhance the collaborative aspects of telepresence;
- Apply haptics devices to further improve the intuitiveness and accessibility of the solutions;
- Follow existing and propose new standards ensuring the privacy and security of the users to guarantee compliance with the European legal framework on personal data protection taking into account the complexity and particularities of eXtended Reality technologies;
- Demonstrate clear and efficient integration paths for take-up by European industries;
To further extend the application domains, guarantee reproducibility and demonstrate the integration paths, proposals are expected to organise a number of competitive calls with financial support to third parties (FSTP). At least 50% of the funding should be dedicated to FSTP. To that end, the consortium will provide guidelines and technical support with expertise in engineering integration, testing and validation to support the development of such use-cases. The maximum amount of FSTP, distributed through a grant, is EUR 200 000 per third party for the entire duration of the action, but smaller amounts may also be justified.
In this topic the integration of the gender dimension (sex and gender analysis) in research and innovation content is not a mandatory requirement.