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Shareable Dynamic Media in Hybrid Meetings

About the project

Hybrid meetings are meetings where multiple co-located participants communicate with remote participants through video. Hybrid meetings suffer from a number of challenges compared to regular physical meetings. They suffer from reduced non-verbal communication due to a lack of spatial consistency between the physical spaces from where participants connect. During meetings, we use personal devices to take notes and pictures, access information and media, and to present and share media with other participants. We also use them to bring in remote participants through video or voice conferencing, effectively creating hybrid meetings.

However, the functional capabilities of devices are often locked within them and managing documents between one’s personal device ecology is tedious and lacks appropriate tool support. It becomes even more cumbersome to share a document with co-workers or collaborate with them on it in real-time. 

Also, during hybrid meetings, it is difficult to fluidly exploit the capabilities of the devices in a room. For example, video conferencing in such meetings are often practiced through endpoints funneled at each remote location. Participants’ actions are deemed to be performed in sequential order unless all participants join the call. In this case, it often requires mental gymnastics when it comes to extended sharing with the group (e.g., ad hoc sharing an additional video stream of a whiteboard captured through a smartphone’s camera). Physical tools such as paper, post-it notes, and whiteboards ​are still ubiquitously used, which exacerbates challenges in collaboration with remote participants.

 In this project, we empirically document the challenges of hybrid meetings and through prototyping experiment with new tools to support this type of meetings better. For our prototypes, we build on the principles of shareable dynamic media as realized in the Webstrates platform.