Rapidly Prototyping Multimedia Groupware

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Multimedia groupware systems provide rich support for distributed team work. Yet effective design of these systems is difficult because they must cater to complex human and social factors. Rapid prototyping partially mitigates this, for it allows designers to build, deploy, test and quickly evolve design ideas. The problem is that multimedia groupware is hard to prototype because distributed multimedia systems are complex to implement. To solve this problem, we offer the Collabrary, a toolkit specifically designed for easy prototyping of multimedia groupware. The Collabrary blends real-time streaming multimedia, asynchronous shared application state, and novel multimedia analysis and manipulation algorithms to provide rich functionality for distributed teamwork. Implementing core functionality - multimedia capture, analysis, manipulation, transmission and rendering - is trivial. The Collabrary also affords lessons that inform the design of universally accepted toolkits for building distributed multimedia systems: we illustrate why toolkits should be accessible for learnability, lightweight so easy ideas are easy to build, and flexible so that novel unanticipated ideas are possible to implement.
Computer Science