Call for SME in Mediating Presence systems (2014:2)

Application deadline: 5 September 2014, 17.00 CET

Purpose of this Document

Direct procurement / call for tender - available for one SME in the area of Mediating Presence, connected media, videoconferencing systems EIT ICT Labs’ activity Mediating Presence, Smart Spaces Action Line, seeks an SME with the right capabilities to join the activity for the project year 2014 as a subgrantee.

Context

The technologies in focus improve the feeling of being together in a shared mediated space and support interaction and collaboration between people who are separated in time or space (presence design). Real-time video and audio streams are combined with embedded smart devices and building components that respond to users’ presence by local action or remote interaction.

Mediating presence technologies often rely on trained technicians that monitor equipment in the respective locations involved in a distributed collaborative environment. By increasing the level of remote control, a technician or a skilled user can set up and monitor features both locally and in remote locations. In practice, users could for example control luminance, color temperature and intensity of various light sources, or they could add ambient sound, and move physical artefacts (e.g. backdrops, zooming and panning of cameras, aligning projection surfaces etc.). There are today many short-range systems marketed for the control of a single environment, and systems for proprietary equipment in a point-to-point scenario (e.g. to control a summer house heater, remote security-camera mobile apps, lights to discourage burglars etc.). Yet each brand and model holds its own standard and interoperability is limited. The current call addresses the need for a broader approach to create a more general system, in which the controlled equipment can interconnect and control is distributed for use in both local and remote environments.

Task description

The target area of expertise is to develop HTML5-based (html/javascript) remote control system components to control features in a local and/or remote environment; typically lighting, sound, interior design and related peripheral equipment with IP-based connectivity. The aim is to bring forth a set of software components with such properties that the team’s researchers may design and deploy services for interacting with connected devices via handheld terminals, such as phones, tablets or other handheld computer devices over IPbased and short-range networks.

The benefit of this approach is that cell phones and tables can be used as generic remote controls, allowing the meeting attendee to help participants at other nodes with setting up and maintaining their mediated environment without actually being there in person, or instructing other to act on their behalf. More specifically, system components such as smart lighting, sound systems (e.g. ambient audio set-ups), generic stage-props using DMX technology are of special interest and part of the contracted sub-granting will also be to assist students and researchers who are testing the system in full-scale with users. In the longer perspective, it is of importance to make the system general enough to support controls for other devices than lighting, e.g. other computers, mobile devices et cetera, allowing system designers to off-load cluttered screens, in the ultimate intent to achieve cleaner user interfaces, also with the functionality of being able to control aspects of audio, video and most other technical, usually web-based meeting components rather than approaches specific to a certain OS or vendor ecosystem.

We are seeking an SME that can offer the following:

  • Develop and arrange system server components, for use in hosted services and onsite on a designated hardware platform at a given node, including build scripts where applicable.
  • Arrange native system components for iOS, Android (Windows Phone where applicable), preferably using Apache Cordova or other open licensed technology (Apache, bsd, MIT).
  • Provide software set-up for routing traffic via public networks, e.g. VPN tunneling solutions; and corresponding documentation and example code, suitable for others to being able to further development after termination of the sub-grant’s contractual period.
  • Validate envisioned experience. A central claim with regard to remote control features is that the sensation of presence is improved. Such a claim needs to be validated through an end-user validation test. The SME will be required to contribute to user-studies organised by the research team (40 work hours estimated for validation).
  • Establish at least one validated Business Model Canvas (BMC) that addresses in which way the proof-of-concept prototype addresses a business need (horizon 1 to 4 years).

Contract details and procedure

Maximum grant volume: 30,000 EUR. This includes travel expenses (e.g. 3 planned 2-day visits in the Stockholm area).

Duration: until 31 December 2014.

The SME and the Mediating Presence Activity partners will share knowledge and IPR needed to do this project only to be used for this project and only until December 31, 2014.

Applications to be submitted to: Charlie Gullström: charlieg@kth.se

Application deadline: 5 September 2014, 17.00 CET

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