Future Directions of the Conferencing and Collaboration Field

Future Directions of the Conferencing and Collaboration Field

Alfie Keary, Sam Redfern
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 24
DOI: 10.4018/jec.2012040104
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In this paper, the authors discuss fifteen semi-structured interviews carried out in 2010 with international industry experts and thought leaders within the conferencing and collaboration (C&C) field. The interviews focused on 5, 10, and 15-year time frames, and sought to elicit predictions on the components and services of future C&C platforms, as well as organisational issues such as the likely impacts on business value chains. The authors performed Affinity Diagramming / KJ Analysis in order to assess common themes and impose structure on the information gathered in the interviews. Themes included ease of use, improved presence/social context, formalised social networking capabilities, virtual worlds, remote interactive tools, meta-knowledge / context capture, identity and trust, and key barriers to C&C uptake across organisations. Pre-conditions for maturation of the field include the emergence of interoperability and standards, and the development of corporate education policies.
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This paper emanates from a series of fifteen intensive one to one interviews with conferencing and collaboration industry experts and influential thought leaders across business, education and scientific sectors. A range of issues related to the future directions of the conferencing and collaboration (C&C) field were raised, including technical, social, organisational and educational.

Our research acts as a forecast into the short and long term directions for the C&C field as predicted by current practitioners and users. It compiles information from open-ended interviews, which had no initial fixed agenda: rather than providing a set of pre-designed questions to interviewees, we merely provided high-level topics to address. We sought to avoid pre-determining or directing themes or potential outcomes. These interviews have led to the compilation of key concepts, ideas and requirements that may not have been identified if there were a more formal interview process used.

C&C is a rapidly evolving field, stemming ultimately from developments in groupware and the academic field of computer-supported co-operative work (CSCW) in the 1980s and 1990s. We begin our paper by briefly summarising the roots of modern C&C, as well as appraising the key platforms, technologies and businesses in this space today.

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