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Design, Implementation and operation of a Distributed Annotation Environment


Distributed Multimedia Services envisaged today in most cases distinguish sharply between service and content provider on one side and consuming users on the other side. Only a few applications have been realised strengthening the role of end-users both as content provider and consumer. Existing multimedia authoring systems are either application specific or allow solely combinations of media generated entirely by a user, as is the case for multimedia mail. The goal of DIANE is to develop a multimedia service removing these deficits.
In the first 18 project months, the major specification, design and implementation work for a first prototype of the annotation system have been completed. Based on Java technology and its APIs, in conformity to the architecture specification deliverable, the DIANE client/server system reuses MHEG concepts for multimedia presentation and implements continuous A/V streams on top of a ATM-based transport system. A special multimedia document model is designed to accommodate the annotation usage scenarios. The main expected benefits from using DIANE will be on one side a better utilisation of expert manpower resources. On the other side, it can be expected that current communication barriers will be reduced, if easy creation of multimedia annotations for arbitrary applications is made possible for distributed users in general or relating to the DIANE trials - in telemedicine, teletraining and industrial engineering in particular.
Expected Impact
Multimedia annotation services are of interest in different sectors including, among others, education, banking and finance, tourism, healthcare and industrial engineering. Offering a tool that runs both on Unix and PC workstations will allow the reaching of all the potential users, within either large or small organisations, in these various sectors.
Addressing the key issues above, the project will contribute to one of the programme goals, that of designing open, flexible and user-friendly access systems for new multimedia services.

Main contributions to the programme objectives:
Main deliverables
An annotation system, providing a unique combination of authoring and collaboration, with a novel usage model. It is a "platform independent" system.
Contribution to the programme
The annotation engine allows remote users to create and present multimedia documents with usage symmetry. Multimedia annotation services are of interest in different sectors.

Technical Approach
DIANE is conceived as a service allowing users to create, exchange and consume multimedia data easily. DIANE is to realise this system for a distributed environment consisting of user terminals and annotation servers which are used for storing and accessing annotated documents. DIANE will incorporate a number of basic technologies. Prior to design work, DIANE will define a service architecture separating and relating various system components. Based on current standardisation activities, an assessment of multimedia document scripting and presentation approaches will be conducted for inclusion in DIANE. In particular, the architecture will define the relationship between application level functions (recording, scripting, presentation) and generic system support for continuous streams and synchronisation, the necessity of which is widely recognised for distributed multimedia systems. DIANE will further include a security management subsystem to provide various mechanisms required to protect the annotation service from being misused.
DIANE will include a data transport system allowing access to annotation servers both in real-time mode and in store-and-forward manner and which is to support in particular both ATM and more conventional narrow band network technologies at trial sites.
The DIANE client-server system will be developed on Unix and PC platforms.
Summary of Trial
In order to prove the generic approach, the DIANE annotation service will be installed and evaluated in at least three different application areas.
The medical setting at HGM deals with annotating high-resolution pathology images and is representative for a whole range of medical imaging applications.
VCPC, a computing centre specialised in parallel programming techniques and tools, will contribute to the field trial by offering training and support to its customers in form of teaching units based on DIANE annotations.
In the sector of industrial engineering (aeronautical area) SILOGIC and its partners will install and evaluate DIANE in a collaborative work environment of CAD/CAP applications.
The selection of such diverse application areas will support the ultimate goal of DIANE industrial partners, to exploit commercially DIANE as a widely applicable multimedia service.
Since the annotation environment will require real-time storage and retrieval services, the demonstration over the ATM pilot network will need the support of National Hosts.
Key Issues
interactive multimedia
presentation and scripting
output recording techniques
advanced transport systems
streams and synchronisation
document models and
multimedia storage and retrieval
security architecture
multiplatform portability and

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts


Kapsch AG
Wagenseilgasse 1
1121 Vienna

Participants (5)

European Centre of Excellence for Parallel Computing
Hospital General de Manresa
IPVR University of Stuttgart
Systemas y Tratamiento de Informacion SA