Client: Catherine White, BT <email@example.com>
Rather than flying all over the world to attend meetings and conferences, it seems as though governments and businesses could save money and time by collaborating remotely. Existing collaboration tools such as Webex and Google Hangouts work quite well to connect small groups of people together for a single presentation or discussion. However, the networking aspect of real world conferences is missing in these tools. During face to face networking sessions small clusters of people form and many different conversation threads are generated. Delegates can walk between groups of people, joining in with conversations that interest them and introducing themselves or saying hello to people they would like to speak with. There might easily be several specialised sub-topics being discussed at the same time. Your task is to create a multi-touch, multi-user browser extension that lets groups of people convene and spontaneously form discussions in a simulated networking session. The screen might be used to connect local special interest meetings to other similar meetings around the globe. Sub groups should be able to see who they are talking to in other places, and a single large screen should support multiple users at the same location contributing to more than one topic at the same time. You may like to use the theme to enhance the conversations that emerge, by for example extracting the keywords and themes and forming an indicator above each conversation cluster indicating the topic. The interface should be as simple and usable as possible, without requiring significant training. It may be more important to order the conversation clusters and avatars in terms of relevance and relatedness than to place people into a simulated geographical setting. Each user may have an additional device such as a smart phone or wireless keyboard which can be used for typing messages.