A company has offices in New York and London. They
are considering using some form of video to supplement
their existing email, fax and telephone communications.
(a) Discuss the options available and potential advantages
and problems they may encounter.
(b) How would your advice be changed if the two offices
were in London and Sydney Australia?
(c) Email and video are 'just' electronic
substitutes for face-to-face conversation. What radically
different forms of groupware might the company consider
- justify your answer using examples and appropriate
answer available for tutors only
(a) options include:
- full video conferencing - pros: well-established
technology, suitable for medium-sized groups; cons:
expensive, requires high-bandwidth, dedicated communication
lines, requires extensive equipment and dedicated
room, may need camera-person, facilitator
- desktop video - pros: cheap hardware,
lower bandwidth requirement, use of standard networking
including Internet for international collaboration
- cons: low quality video, bandwidth may still be
a problem, especially for audio channel, difficulties
in having more than one person at each end.
- desktop video can use a window on
a PC screen or have a dedicated TV screen - former
has less equipment, but competes for screen space.
(b) The working days in London and Sydney
hardly intersect, there being an 11 hour time difference!
This means that synchronous video conferencing involves,
at best, unsociable hours at one end.
Asynchronous use of audio/video annotations
to shared documents may be more appropriate for many
- They could
consider the use of shared electronic artefacts.
These already exist in the form of shared databases,
but these usually do not support feedthrough and
so new groupware solutions would be needed to add
- They could
also consider virtual reality meetings. If they
were, for example, an firm of architects, they could
meet for virtual site tours of planned and existing
buildings. The theoretical foundations of VR are
not so well understood at present, but much standard
collaborative theory can be applied (e.g. common
ground); also there is a developing special theory
of collaborative VR.
Other exercises in this chapter
ex.19.1 (ans), ex.19.2 (ans), ex.19.3 (tut), ex.19.4 (tut), ex.19.5 (tut), ex.19.6 (tut), ex.19.7 (tut), ex.19.8 (tut), ex.19.9 (tut), ex.19.10 (tut), ex.19.11 (tut), ex.19.12 (tut), ex.19.13 (tut), ex.19.14 (tut), ex.19.15 (tut), ex.19.16 (tut), ex.19.17 (tut), ex.19.18 (tut), ex.19.19 (tut), ex.19.20 (tut)
all exercises for this chapter