Our paper on conference room automation got accepted to CHI 2009. We describe the DICE system and report on about a year’s worth of use during its deployment at FXPAL. The system uses a task-based user interface to manage meetings in technologically-enhanced conference rooms. Unlike AMX or Crestron systems, it integrates with the file system and supports multiple speakers. Each speaker can specify how the room should be configured independently, and the system manages the transitions between speakers.
DICE controls a variety of devices, including several video conferencing systems, projectors, video matrix switches, etc., and presents a consistent user interface regardless of which devices are deployed in the room. Prior to a meeting, presenters can configure the displays and other equipment to reduce interaction during a meeting, or they can use the ad hoc meeting mode to configure the room on the fly. In either mode, presenters can focus on communicating with the audience rather than on how to control or configure devices. DICE has been installed in two conference rooms at FXPAL, and has been in use for well over a year.
Our paper reports on the results of the deployment. We discovered that DICE is used most extensively for high-importance meetings, when people are presenting to important visitors or to senior management. For such situations, when it is vital to make a good impression, DICE has been used to reduce significantly the amount of time that extraneous material (such as desktops) are shown to the audience. It also increased the use of multiple displays in our conference rooms by making it easier to place and control content on those displays. Finally, we observed that people tend to be proactive about scheduling meetings only when the benefits are significant and the downside considerable. These findings should inform the design of other systems that mediate inter-personal communication.