THE AUDIO VIDEO SERVER ATTENDANT: INCREASING ACCESS AND CONTROL OF MEDIA SPACES

by

Anuj Uday Gujar

A thesis submitted in conformity with the requirements
for the degree of Master of Science
Graduate Department of Computer Science
University of Toronto

Copyright by Anuj Uday Gujar, 1996

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Abstract

A media space is an environment which integrates audio, video and computer technologies in novel ways to provide its members with new ways of interacting and working together. Person-to-person communication to a media space from outside the media space is limited. This thesis presents the user-centered, iterative evolution of the audio video server attendant (AVSA)- a system that enables people to access and control the resources of a media space from a conventional videoconferencing room.

A key issue is that the only equipment available at the videoconferencing room is the traditional videoconferencing equipment- a camera, monitor, speaker and microphone. Consequently, we are forced to enable control to be exercised through speech input in response to visual prompts.

In a larger context, we are seeing a rapid move towards networked interactive information appliances. Conventional efforts "converge" the telephone, television and/or computer technologies to produce these appliances. However, because of the approach, the shape that the associated services are assuming is rooted in the appliances of the past. As an example of a networked interactive information appliance not centered on any one technology, the AVSA presents an option to the limited perspective.

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Acknowledgments

I began work on this thesis in March of 1995. Over the past year and a half many people have contributed to its completion. Above all I thank my supervisor and friend, Professor William Buxton who introduced me to the world of HCI and provided me with the opportunity to investigate my curiosities. I also thank my second advisor, Dr. Ronald Baecker, for taking the time from a busy schedule to provide input and comments on this work. I also thank Dr. Marilyn Mantei for her valuable advice at various times during the course of this work.

I thank Koichiro Tanikoshi, a visiting scientist from the Hitachi Research Laboratory in Japan, who started the HyperDoorway project providing a base from which the AVSA could be developed.

A special thanks to Tracy Narine for his efforts in helping me integrate this work into the University of Toronto environment. I thank Victor Ng-Thow-Hing, Kevin Schlueter, Alex Mitchell, Blair Andrew McLeod and Petros Faloutsos for their superb system administration without which this work would have been impossible. I also acknowledge Jeremy Cooperstock for permitting me to integrate this work with the reactive room project.

I thank my family for their unquestioned and unrelenting support over the past two years.

I thank DAWGmasters Jin Lee and Ian Maione and my buddy Andrea Leganchuck for providing hours entertainment without which I could not have completed my masters.

I also thank the DGP lab, IRG group, University of Toronto and the members of each organization for their input, advise and the use of resources.

I thank the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council for supporting me financially during the course of this work. Finally, I thank Alias | Wavefront Inc. and the supporting members of the Ontario Telepresence Project for providing the resources necessary for this research.

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