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 biggest and most complex. 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 being developed in this project will create a set of information servers which will 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 will provide a basis for business and for cooperation on technical matters.
Today, the business process which 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, it will feature:
- 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 will provide 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 which will take 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 cooperative working environment which will enable end-users to get into direct contact with companies providing/trading in the materials concerned; it will include a set of communication services varying from off-line e-mail services to on-line video and audio conferencing.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
54036 Marina Di Carrara