Bringing Media Spaces into the Real World
Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands
This paper descirbes a filed studiy to evaluate the use of audio and video connections in a "real world" setting, that is a distibuted product development organization within a large multinational corporation. We installed two types of media space connections: a focused dial-up video-phone for engineering problem solving between designers in England and the shop floor of a factory in the Netherlands and an unfocused "office share" to support administrative tasks. We observed that users quickly intergrated the new video links into their existing media space of telephone, beepers, answering machines, video conference, fax, e-mail, etc. Users easily learnt how to shift from one medium to another. This suggests that "real world" media spaces should be designed to allow a user-driven smooth transition from one medium to another according to the tasks at hand and the bandwith available: from live video to stored video, from moving video to still frames, from multimedia spaces to shared computing spaces for synchonous sketching and asynchonous message posting, and from two user conversation to multi-user conference calls.