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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/369

Title: A tale of two cities : a study of conference room videoconferencing
Authors: Moore, Gale
Keywords: User Study
Commercial Videoconferencing
Workplace Users
Methodology
Issue Date: Dec-1994
Publisher: Ontario Telepresence Project
Series/Report no.: KMDI Historical Papers;KMDI-HP-94-04
Abstract: ln late 1992 ResCorp purchased a CLI videoconferencing unit. The primary objectives were to enhance communication and increase productivity as opposed to cutting travel costs. In September 1993 several members of the Ontario Telepresence Project (OTP) visited ResCorp as guests of the Manager of Research Operations to discuss some of the challenges they were facing as an early adopter of videoconferencing technology. After several discussions it was agreed that OTP would carry out a field study at ResCorp and a Core Group was established to monitor the process and facilitate the research. The primary focus of the study was to gain early insights into the ways in which commercial videoconferencing is used in a real world situation. We wished to consider its impact on the work and work practices of members of the group, the opportunities created by this new class of technology, and the problems and unanticipated consequences of using this new communication medium. There was general consensus that a technical working group which holds biweekly videoconferences with staff at DevCorp would be the group studied. DevCorp and ResCorp have a history of interaction: there is co-publication of patents between the sites, and DevCorp has a videoconferencing facility that is compatible with ResCorp technically. The group has already had some experience with videoconferencing and the scientific leader at ResCorp was both willing to participate and as an early adopter glad to have support to explore ways in which this medium could be used effectively. The social scientist attended the biweekly meetings to observe the working group meetings in progress and following the observation period carried out a series of interviews with selected participants from both ResCorp and DevCorp. The use of videoconferencing was appreciated by all the participants in terms of the time saved and the travel deferred, but there were a number of issues - social, technical and organisationai - that had a major impact on the successful use of videoconferencing. A number of recommendations are presented on pp. 51-58. Overall, the technical problems were easy to see and relatively easy to diagnose. The social and organisational issues and problems, on the other hand, were less visible. While less attention is generally paid to this aspect of videoconferencing, it is the resolution of this class of problem that will,in the long run, determine whether the organisation not only recovers the cost of its investment, but maximises the long term benefit to both the organisation and the employees.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/369
Appears in Collections:Technical reports

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