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The Future of Meetings

Tomorrow, meetings will mix real meetings in smart meeting rooms with virtual meetings, to provide the best of both worlds. When we are preparing for a meeting, we will review the meeting synopsis of related meetings in which we have participated, or maybe some we missed. As participants interact with one another, sensors in the environment will capture and networks will transmit raw media. By blending new displays and intelligent software, our technologies will mediate the interactions, and allow people to share both physical and virtual context (e.g. paper documents, project management systems, 3D projected data sets). Systems will recognize and process meeting structures and events to provide new, more flexible ways for participants to interact and be aware of each other: both face-to-face, and remotely.

Simulation of presence and context


Future meeting technology will simulate varying levels of presence (and absence) of participants. Remote participants will be able to monitor meeting events while also engaged in other activities (e.g. another meeting), and be able to move back and forth between full and partial participation with assistance from the system. It will be possible to monitor, in real time, when certain participants of interest speak, when particular topics of interest are raised, or simply when “hot spots” occur with animated discussion or laughter. A “Remote Meeting Assistant” like this could help ensure that the most important parts of a meeting are not missed, even when it is not possible to attend the entire meeting.

Visualization of meeting features

futureofmeeting02As systems model and recognize information from meeting audio, video, and interaction data, participants will visualize information about their meetings that normally is not revealed. Speaker turn patterns over the course of hours can be viewed at a glance to see who talks the most, and when. It will become possible to view personal behavior patterns and answer questions such as “how much Do I get interrupted?” “how often do I interrupt others?” or “how much supportive back-channel do I provide, and to who.”

Visualization techniques could reveal relationships between individuals, meetings, and documents that would normally be difficult to discover.

As systems gain the ability to track emotion over the course of meetings, participants (both local and remote) will gain new ways to see the impact of their own and other’s behaviors, and they will have new ways to find points of interest when reviewing meeting recordings and large meeting archives.

In all of the above, our goal remains centered on human-to-human communication in all its modalities, and to support it through truly natural and intelligent interfaces.

European Research Area    Information Society Technologies

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