SideBar: Videoconferencing System Supporting Social Engagement

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10th IEEE International Conference on Collaborative Computing: Networking, Applications and Worksharing
Morten Esbensen1, Paolo Tell1, Jakob Bardram1
1: IT University of Copenhagen

    Companies are increasingly organizing work in globally distributed teams. A core challenge to these distributed teams is, however, to maintain social relationships due to limited opportunities and tools for social engagement. In this paper we present SideBar: a videoconferencing system that enhances virtual meetings by enabling social engagement. Through image analysis of the conference video feed, SideBar tracks meeting participants in real-time. A personal tablet then allows each participant to identify and track other participants, to look up information about them and their local work context, and to engage in peer-to-peer chat conversations. We describe the motivation, design and implementation of SideBar and report results from a preliminary evaluation, which shows that participants found SideBar useful and easy to use. The paper concludes by providing three design guidelines for collaborative technologies supporting social engagement.