Standards in multimedia technology are not available in a world-wide accepted form. Existing standards of methodologies used in traditional software development are either inefficient to cover multimedia technology users' specific needs or not easily applicable to multimedia software development. Standards in multimedia software development tools have not been sufficiently developed to cope with the rapid development in multimedia technology and the continuous increase in users' demands and requirements. The lack of appropriate standards in multimedia software development methodologies and tools concerns the development and use of multimedia software and interests all multimedia technology community, especially multimedia software developers, producers and users. The main objective of the MediaNet Project is to mobilise multimedia technology users in a wide geographical area in and outside Europe to pursue the lack of appropriate standards in multimedia software development methodologies and tools. Specifically, the project will produce a mid-term and a final report which summarise the results obtained from users communication and include proposed solutions to alleviate or overcome the specific problem. At the end, the consortium will investigate possibilities and initiate actions to preserve the users network after the completion of the project.
The members of the Network are multimedia technology users, either organisations, associations or individuals, composed of main-interest and special-interest users. Main-interest users are those who use multimedia software development tools to develop multimedia software, whereas special-interest users are those who are involved in specific phases of multimedia production or directly use the results of multimedia software development.
The target audience for the final report includes international standards bodies (the ISO Commission, SEI, IMA, etc.), multimedia technology providers (Microsoft, Asymetrix, IBM, etc.), and research institutes developing methods and models for multimedia development. The final report will include users' experiences, requirements and needs to the problem addressed and suggested solutions to the problem. This will make the final report a valuable document to the above audience to investigate, find and establish appropriate standards in multimedia software methodologies and tools.
The mechanisms used to implement the Network are: an email bulletin board for the members of the Network; questionnaires distributed to all members of the Network; a WWW server to publish reports and results; reports, publications, and other significant material published on the Web; a kick-off meeting and a workshop between members of the Network and organisations of the target audience for a closer interaction and exchanging of ideas and experiences,
EXPECTED IMPACT AND EXPERIENCE
The most important results expected are a clear formulation of needs and requirements of the users of the network, advantages and disadvantages of the providers' products, and proposed solutions to overcome or alleviate the problem, all included in the final report.
The members of the Network will have the opportunity to discuss the lack of appropriate standards in multimedia development processes and tools; exchange experiences and technical know-how; contact and discuss with prestigious, world-wide known multimedia technology providers and standards bodies; and last but not least, contribute to the final report and participate in the final results of the Project. Through their participation in the above activities, members are expected to enlarge their perspectives and knowledge, and establish new relationships and probably new fruitful partnerships. Improvement in the quality of their products and processes, customise their products, and enlargement of their market and their commercial position are also expected. The commercial impact for the members of the network but also for the target audience and the wider multimedia community expected is: multimedia products will be more reliable and customised, the commercial position of organisations which apply standards will be increased as well as their competition, and, generally, multimedia market will offer products with more approved quality and less cost.
The Project's consortium will investigate possibilities and initiate actions to preserve the users network after the completion of the project.