A Framework for Analyzing Social Interaction Using Broadband Visual Communication Technologies

A Framework for Analyzing Social Interaction Using Broadband Visual Communication Technologies

Susan O’Donnell (National Research Council, Canada), Heather Molyneaux (National Research Council, Canada) and Kerri Gibson (National Research Council, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-368-5.ch047
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Broadband visual communication (BVC) technologies—such as videoconferencing and video sharing—allow for the exchange of rich simultaneous or pre-recorded visual and audio data over broadband networks. This chapter introduces an analytical framework that can be utilized by multi-disciplinary teams working with BVC technologies to analyze the variables that hinder people’s adoption and use of BVC. The framework identifies four main categories, each with a number of sub-categories, covering variables that are social and technical in nature; namely, the production and reception of audio-visual content, technical infrastructure, interaction of users and groups with the technical infrastructure, and social and organizational relations. The authors apply the proposed framework to a study of BVC technology usability and effectiveness as well as technology needs assessment in remote and rural First Nation (Indigenous) communities of Canada.
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BVC involves both simple and complex social and technical interactions. The complexities arise as the interaction grows from communication between two individuals in the same location to communication between multiple individuals in multiple locations, working for multiple organisations rooted in different communities. The main technologies are a camera, a microphone, and some recording and viewing software and hardware. There are multiple hardware and software versions and platforms with compatibility problems, using broadband networks that have access, bandwidth, and management challenges.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Online Video Sharing: Posting and viewing asynchronous (pre-recorded) videos over broadband networks.

Social Informatics: A theory that argues that the relationship between the social and technical is complex and mediated by context, structure and agency, history, culture and meaning systems, political and social processes and symbolic and material interests and resources.

Videoconferencing: Synchronous audio-visual communication using broadband networks.

Broadband Visual Communication (BVC): BVC technologies allow the simultaneous or pre-recorded exchange of rich visual and audio data over broadband networks.

Broadband: In this chapter, broadband refers to both broadband networks and broadband Internet. In general, the term refers to telecommunication in which a wide band of frequencies is available to transmit information.

First Nations (Indigenous) communities: First Nations are recognized by the Canadian Constitution as one of the founding nations of Canada.

Technology Acceptance Model (TAM): In the TAM model, people who perceive technology as useful and easy to use will accept it more readily than those who do not, with usefulness more important than ease of use.

Asynchronous Visual Communication: Communication using pre-recorded videos, such as video sharing on the Internet.

Actor Network Theory: Related to the social actor concept, actor network theory states that people, together with their technologies, comprise social networks. Technical and social elements cannot be separated in this theory.

Videoconferencing Bridge: The multipoint control unit (MCU), commonly known as the videoconferencing bridge, is a device that allows multiple sites to videoconference simultaneously.

Synchronous Visual Communication: Simultaneous video communication, accomplished by videoconferencing.

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