Multimedia desktops in remote collaboration


An experiment on the use of two different Multimedia Desktop Systems (MDSs) in a remote collaboration environment is presented. A 2x2x4 mixed factorial experimental design was used (n=72). There were three independent variables: video quality (broad band vs. narrow band); group size (point-to-point vs. point-to-multipoint); and tasks. Results show that a major benefit of video lies in its ability to share information about the workspace rather than to share images of the participants themselves confirming that the video-as-data hypothesis is at work. In addition a counter-intuitive finding emerged: the narrow band Multimedia Desktop System was judged better than the broad band in terms of user satisfaction group process and task outcome. This is explained in terms of a distraction effect.

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