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A Mechanism for In-Room Electronic Collaboration Disclosure Number: IPCOM000018616D
Original Publication Date: 2003-Jul-28
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jul-28
Document File: 2 page(s) / 7K

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This article discloses a proposal for an invention that allows electronic collaboration within a meeting room. The invention combines projection technology with wireless LANs and collaboration software to facilitate meetings using a projection screen as a shared resource.

This text was extracted from a PDF file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 51% of the total text.

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A Mechanism for In-Room Electronic Collaboration

  The basic problem here is that most collaboration software is designed to work across the internet for remote collaboration, but in fact, at least within most technology companies, collaboration still takes place within a single room most effectively. The problem here is that the display technology has not caught up with the other collaboration technology. So, it is common to see an entire room filled with people with Palms and laptops, each dividing their attention between the display screen at the front of the room and their own screens.

It is also possible to run into the problem referred to as "let me drive". Since existing presentation technologies are hardware-based, participants must physically swap VGA cables to allow one person to show the group what is on their laptop screen. This is not only disruptive, but error-prone as different device drivers make picking the right screen resolution a crap shoot.

So, what is needed is a more interactive way of collaborating that is software based, and that understands the need for people to occasionally "take the floor" and present on a projection system. What would be very useful is if this could be combined with a sort of windowed or "Picture in Picture" mode where several people could share different parts of the display. Perhaps an ongoing presentation could be in the background, while someone forces a foreground window to pop up with a list of agenda items for the remainder of the meeting when a presentation goes long and the agenda has to be reorganized.

So, what is envisioned is a simple combination of hardware and software based on existing standards, but one that takes collaboration in a slightly different direction.

Imagine that instead of (or in addition to) a standard VGA cable that a small, dedicated computer were attached to a presentation device (be it either a standard projector, or even one of the large 29'' or 42'' LCD screens that are becoming more common as TV's and monitors). This computer would have both wired ethernet and wireless (WiFi or one of it's higher-speed 802.11x successors) communication capabilities.

Most importantly, it has the following:

(1) A "Control panel" application that users can obtain by connecting to a web site with a standard browser that can be used to drive the screen (this could be done by having the attached computer host an embedded web site). The control panel allows a user to (over the network) pick an individual window within their desktop and show it either as a full screen, or as a window within the full presentation space. Each user gets a "v...