Supporting Distributed Meetings through 'Lightweight' Virtual World Applications

Distributed meetings are becoming an increasingly common aspect of everyday work. In this position paper we present claims based on 12 interviews of employees of a large distributed organization regarding the different types of distributed meetings they participate in, the issues that arise around participating in such meetings and how ‘lightweight’ implementations of virtual world features may ameliorate some of the concerns raised by interviewees. Interviewees felt a sense of isolation when they participated remotely, experienced a lack of awareness of the audience when they were presenters, and had concerns about multitasking. Additionally, they felt that for certain types of meetings, virtual world embodiments such as avatars might increase team bonding and provide the opportunity to interact with others that share similar interests or acquaintances. We conclude by briefly describing the way these findings have informed the design of Olympus – a browser based add-on that allows meeting participants to visually self-present themselves and interact with others within an online meeting space.

By: N. Sadat Shami

Published in: RC24889 in 2009


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