MIMIS develops an ATM-based conference system for interactive multi-party communication. Continuous usability tests of the demonstrator system involving real end-users from various business sectors maintain a technical development close to the future market. User groups crucial for an early market introduction represented among real users contributing to the project on a voluntary basis, give potential early adopters of the system an impact on the development of their conference system.
The research is in the field of multimedia conferencing, using integrated broadband communications (IBC) connections. A major objective was the further development of signalling and protocol infrastructure, based on results already achieved in this area. A further objective was to specify and implement a human interface which meets user requirements in a multiparty, multimedia environment and supports the merits of broadband communication. To this end, user requirements and conditions and limitations governing user interaction in multipoint multimedia communication environments have been studied. Usability tests and the exploitation of the economic benefits of human acceptance oriented developed are included.
Key issues in the research are:
the protocol infrastructure definition for multimedia conferencing starting from current draft standards;
the demonstration of multipoint multimedia communication using asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) conections;
the demonstration of a secure conference service;
to facilitate future market introduction by addressing user requirements, usability tests, viability studies and the socioeconomic impact at an early stage of the project.
Major achievements of the research centre on specification activities. Basic and generic user requirements for multipoint communication systems have been investigated. These provide a solid basis for the system's functional specification. Further specification activities have addressed the multipoint functionality, the multimedia terminal, the ATM user network interface and the protocol outline. Security threats from user service provider and network operator points of view have also been analysed.
Technical work in MIMIS includes the development of terminals and a conference server providing easy access to a broad spectrum of conference facilities. Another major topic is the implementation of security algorithms and procedures meeting user requirements identified in empirical investigations with the target group of potential users. The communication protocol infrastructure is based on the (draft) recommendations on conferencing by ITU-T SG8. MIMIS provides input to ITU-T SG8 and various ETSI groups dealing with conference protocols.
An innovative, dynamic, adaptive, self-learning Human Computer Interface is developed to maximise potential benefits for business communicators as the prime target group. This HCI meets requirements from novice to experienced users as well as communication requirements from managers to designers. Ideas and concepts result from organisational analyses and empirical observations of user groups' communication processes in business environments.
- Protocol infrastructure definition for multimedia conferencing, using current (draft) standards.
- Demonstration of multi-point multimedia conferencing using ATM connections.
- Demonstration of a secure conference service.
- The design and implementation of an advanced adaptive, self-learning Human Computer Interface
- To facilitate future market introduction by addressing user requirements, usability tests, viability studies, cost/benefit case studies and socio-economic risks.
The project's results are already being published and communicated to, among others, decision makers in user companies and politicians. This results into visible discussions and investment consideration of interested potential clients of this type of communication technology. Network and service providers gain important experience in offering and managing multi-party multimedia communication via IBC. MIMIS is increasing the interest of potential investors in IBC technology; clear indications confirming this expectation have already been received. The project stimulates the demand-pull market introduction of IBCN by its demonstrations to future clients and users of a running application, accompanied by quantified cost/benefit examples.