by Ron Riesenbach and Barbara Whitmer

June 21, 1993

This is number 9 in a series of electronic newsletters for the participants of the Ontario Telepresence Project

1. At the Multi-Media Conference in Banff, Alberta April 13-16, Telepresence conducted a demonstration in participation with the Toronto site. Bill Buxton gave Banff viewers a remote demo of the Active Desk and large screen videoconferencing from the Demo Room. In return, Garry Beirne treated Toronto viewers to a window on Banff's spectacular mountainscape during demo off-times.

2. The European Community's Delta Project conducted a Mission to Canada April 12-19, and was split into two groups visiting western and eastern Canada. Group I was able to see the Telepresence demo in Banff, while Group II visited the Toronto site on April 15th. The Delta Project is focused upon creating a distance-learning network across Europe.

3. The International Telepresence Scientific Meeting was held in Milan, Italy April 22-23. Ron Riesenbach and Morris Goldberg represented the Ontario Telepresence Project, and were joined by representatives from the Four Motors regions.

4. INTERCHI'93 was held in Amsterdam, The Netherlands April 25-29 and was attended by several Telepresence staff and students. Marilyn Mantei gave a tutorial with Lisa Neal on "Computer Supported Meeting Environments." A paper entitled "The User-centred Iterative Design of Collaborative Writing Software," was given by Ron Baecker detailing the use of SASSE, a shared editing tool used by Telepresence.

5) In collaboration with Bell Canada, Telepresence participated in a week long exhibit at Destiny 2000 in Ottawa May 3-7. The exhibit was one of nearly 50 exhibits staged by industry and learning institutions to promote science and technology to over 8,000 grade 9 students during the course of the week. Bell Canada demonstrated the VISIT system and allowed students to have a remote tour of Toronto with the Sky cameras placed throughout Toronto and used daily by CityTV. Students were also able to "tele-operate" the cameras. Students were able to videoconference with Ron Riesenbach and Andrea Leganchuk at the Toronto site, and Dominic Richens at the Ottawa Engineering Group in Ottawa. As well, Telepresence demonstrated a Hydra unit, much to the fascination of its young viewers. Much appreciation is extended to Ken Schuyler and Dave Knight of Bell Canada, Barbara Whitmer of Telepresence - Toronto, and Chris Passier, Maciek Kozlowski, Gerald Karam, Dominic Richens and Tony Vaquer of the Ottawa Engineering Group for their time, effort and supernatural endurance abilities during the exhibition.

6. Telepresence has hosted two visitors from Xerox PARC. Annette Adler gave a presentation May 25th on corporate architecture and video at PARC, and Ken Pier gave a talk on June 8th on the installation of IIIF nodes at PARC.

7. Telepresence welcomes Hiroshi Ishii, a Senior Research Engineer and Supervisor of the Human and Multimedia Lab at NTT Corporation in Japan, who will be with us for one year. The ClearBoard prototype developed by Hiroshi's lab permits co-workers in two locations to draw with color markers or with electronic pens and software tools while maintaining direct eye contact and the ability to employ natural gestures. Hiroshi is currently working on the evolution from ClearBoard-1 (which enables shared video drawing) to ClearBoard-2 (which incorporates TeamPaint, a multi-user paint editor). Hiroshi's e-mail is

8. In May, Jingping Xie joined the Ottawa Engineering Group. Welcome Jingping!

9. There are five students joining us at Telepresence for the summer as follows:

Tom Bellman is working for Marilyn Mantei on an awareness project for the Indigo field study as well as on Marilyn's collaborative writing project.

Christine Sue-Chan is working for Ron Riesenbach on exploring ways to measure productivity of Telepresence-like systems using the Indigo study as a case study.

Michael Ianni-Palarchio is working for Bill Buxton on the Desk Area Network (DAN), which allows easy electronic configuration of audio/visual devices in the workspace, and also works on developing video mail with the Ottawa Engineering Group.

Andrea Leganchuk is working for Bill Buxton on the DAN and has started work on door sensing devices to register door states electronically to indicate user accessibility.

Susan Sim is working for Gale Moore to compile an electronic database with "current awareness," a service which updates the database with the most recent data available.

10. The Ontario Telepresence Project Annual General Meeting was held June 7, 1993 at the University of Toronto. Attendees numbered nearly fifty, including representatives from industry, government and academia. The venue was launched with a welcome by John Chattoe, President of the Information Technology Research Centre, and Peter Leach, President of the Telecommunications Research Institute of Ontario. These greetings were followed by presentations by Ron Riesenbach and Bill Buxton, giving an overview of the progress of the Project in the past year in implementing its first field study and promoting collaboration between the Project's industry partners. Gale Moore and Gerald Karam, followed with summaries of technology adaptation in the workplace and technical development and deployment. After lunch, attendees participated in a tutorial, "Telepresence: It's Role in Corporate Communications" by Marilyn Mantei. The talk provided a well-rounded view of the impact of telepresence technology in the corporate environment and its implications.

Following the tutorial, demonstrations were given on the video answering machine developed by the Project's Ottawa Engineering Group, in tandem with a live video connection to Ken Schuyler at his Bell Canada office. Ken illustrated the "portrait" technique of turning the video monitor on its side, giving the viewer a fuller representation of the remote participant by enabling the viewer to see his/her hands while speaking. Also presented was the Stereoscopic Workspace by Prof. Paul Milgram, allowing the participant to obtain a three-dimensional sense of participating in a remote location by enabling object manipulation at the remote site. A third demonstration was given by Bill Buxton, showing the Active Desk and Hydra units. Finally, John Chattoe demonstrated the collaboration at-a-distance between ITRC's Toronto and Waterloo sites, and the gradual implementation of telepresence technology, shown by the computer-controlled video interface and videoconferencing, the initial OTP shared person/task space technology.

11. Telepresence underwent its first Scientific Review June 8th in Toronto. A committee of reviewers designated by Technology Ontario gave audience to presentations by Bill Buxton, Ron Riesenbach, Gale Moore, Gerald Karam and Morris Goldberg and viewed demonstrations of the Active Desk and other Telepresence technology.

12. The Annual Report has been completed, and the following OTP Technical Reports are now available:

OTP-93-01: "Social Sciences Models and Strategies for Telepresence User Studies," Gale Moore

OTP-93-02: "Telepresence User Interface Design Issues and Solutions," Marilyn Mantei and Maciek Kozlowski

OTP-93-03: "Architectural Framework for the Telepresence Voice Server," Ross Jacobs

OTP-93-04: "The Telepresence Integrated Interactive Intermedia Facility (IIIF)," Tom Milligan

13. Prof. Barry Wellman has recently published the following article, "How Telephone Networks Connect Social Networks," with David Tindall. It appears in Progress in Communication Sciences, (Norwood, NJ: Ablex, 1993), pp. 63-94, eds. William Richards, Jr. and George Bennett.

14. Marilyn Mantei, Bill Buxton and Ron Riesenbach will be giving talks at COMDEX CANADA July 13-15 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto. For more information on COMDEX, fax (416) 283-3003 in Canada, or (617) 449-2674 in the U.S.

15. Upcoming conferences include SIGGRAPH'93/MULTIMEDIA'93 August 1-7 in Anaheim, California and Groupware'93 August 9-13 in San Jose, California.

16. The following are CODEC numbers of groups associated with the project:

Adcom codec 416-503-3835 416-503-3836 Bell codec 416-353-6602 416-353-6603 Bill Xerox codec 415-812-5903 415-812-5903 (same # twice) Eurecom codec ITRC Toronto 416-971-2230 416-971-2231 (call ahead) ITRC Waterloo 519-885-6348 519-885-6552 (call ahead) TP Toronto codec 416-971-2095 416-971-2096 TP Ottawa codec 613-820-3505 613-820-2882 TRIO 613-599-7702 613-599-7703 WorldLinx codec 416-507-6100 416-507-6500

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