Report of the EuroITV 2010 Conference in Tampere, Finland

The 8th EuroITV Conference was held in Tampere, Finland on 9-11 June 2010. EuroITV is the leading conference on interactive television and video. Hosts of the conference were the Tampere University of Technology, the Helsinki University of Technology and the Tampere University of Applied Sciences.

This year’s theme “web.sharing.tv.content” created a space for a very broad range of topics, not only focussing on the television itself, but also on television content on the Internet, the mobile phone and crossovers between television and various other (social) media.

The first day of the conference was dedicated to tutorials, mainly about designing interactive television applications, and workshops about user experiences, the future of television and integrated, ambient television applications. The second and third day were filled with poster presentations, demonstrations and various sessions with a broad range of topics like personalization and recommendation systems, interactive applications and convergence and cross-media. These two days also included two keynotes by Marcos Gonzalez-Flower, Global Head of Media Consulting at Siemens UK and Jyri Huopaniemi, Director of the Nokia Research Center.

The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision has made a substantial contribution to the conference with a short paper presentation about expert search by broadcast professionals, two demonstrations about television and the semantic web, and browsing archival video with advanced video retrieval and last but not least, the Golden Award (first prize) for Waisda? in the Grand Challenge Competition.

Some conference highlights:

Methods for User Studies of Interactive (TV) Technologies

This full day workshop was chaired by Dr. Paul Marrow from BT Innovative & Design, Dr. Lydia Meesters from Eindhoven University of Technology and Prof. Marianna Obrist from the ICT&S Center of the University Salzburg. As the title of the workshop already suggests, this workshop wasn’t just about user studies methodologies for television technologies, but also for interactive technologies in general. Measuring user experiences for any interactive application is a very complex form of research, which requires a very pragmatic and ‘open’ research attitude. This workshop focussed on the many approaches that are used for measuring different levels of user experience. Approximately 20 people joined this workshop, which are all researchers working for various companies and universities, and doing research on interactive applications.

The morning programme contained presentations from the workshop participants about the various approaches and practices in researching user experience. In the afternoon session, participants were asked to pose a number of research questions and problems. After clustering these into main themes, the participants split up in three groups, where one theme was discussed in more detail. The results of the discussions were documented in a poster and presented to the other groups. The main insight of this day was that user experience has to be measured by combining various research methods, both quantitative and qualitative, and that the various stages within the product development require different forms of testing with different user groups.

Session ITV Applications for Communities

This session was scheduled to contain four presentations: two on mobile video sharing and two on digital archiving. Unfortunately, the speaker of the presentation about user inspired digital archiving of cultural heritage wasn’t able to attend, so the focus was mainly drawn towards video on mobile devices.

Mobile Video Sharing: Documentation Tools for Working Communities – Antti Koivisto

Antti Koivisto from Tampere University of Technology presented the development and the infrastructure of MoViE, a mobile application that allows users to create short clips of their environment and upload these to a website where they can share, edit and remix the content Together with his colleagues from Tampere university, he did a first test with the prototype during a festival and although users liked the application a lot, there were some technical issues like a failing Internet connection that made the use of the prototype difficult at times. The test results were used to improve the MoViE application and they are currently working on a new version.

Troubleshooting and Creating Joined Experience: Festival Personnel Engaging in Mobile Video – Anna Haverinen

This talk by Anna Haverinen from the University of Turku reported the results of the first MoViE tests from a user perspective. As a virtual anthropologist, she analysed the kind of content the test subjects created during the test. Eight festival employees acted as test subjects and were asked to shoot and upload videos during the festival. She discovered a great difference between the remarks that people made about the application and the actual use of it. For instance, some people for instance indicated that a commenting tool was very helpful and easy, without actually using it in practice.

Expert Search for Radio and Television: a Case Study amongst Dutch Broadcast Professionals – Wietske van den Heuvel

This talk was given by Wietske van den Heuvel from Sound and Vision. The presentation highlighted the results from a study in which eight broadcast professionals from various broadcasting companies were observed while performing searches with the online search system of Sound and Vision. The research focussed on the question if the task affects the professionals’ search strategy. Three kinds of factors were researched: difference in searching for radio or television content, difference in length (shots versus entire programs) and the influence of time restraints. Results from the study show there is no difference between the search strategies that are used during the performance of the tasks. People always use the same strategy, despite their information need.

The EuroITV 2010 Grand Challenge Competition

The Grand Challenge Competition honours the creation of interactive video content, applications, and services that enhance the television and video viewing experience. The entries are judged by an international jury of interactive media experts and the best entry is awarded with a prize of € 3,000. Three entries were nominated before the start of the conference:

  1. Smart Video Buddy: an application that analyses video streams and automatically detects semantic concepts, which are used to create links to related content.
  2. Smeet: one of the fastest growing online 3D world and chat community for entertainment and social viewing on the Internet.
  3. Waisda?: a video labeling game by Sound and Vision and KRO Broadcasting. The labels or ‘tags’added by Waisda? players can be used as time-related metadata, which improves the findability of the content.

The awards ceremony took place during the first keynote session on June 10, where Waisda? was named as the Grand Challenge winner. The nominated applications were also demonstrated during the rest of the conference day.

Demonstrations

The programme included various interesting demonstrations, two of which were given by Johan Oomen from Sound and Vision. The first demonstration concerned Video Active and EUscreen . Both projects provide free online access to Europe’s television heritage. Video Active ended in August 2009 and EUscreen started as its follow-up project in October 2009. Both projects are funded within the eContentplus programme of the European Commision. EUscreen will contain over 30,000 items and is one of the main audiovisual aggregators for Europeana. The EUscreen portal will be online in January 2011. The second demonstration showed the project Hollands Glorie op Pinkpop, which ended in February 2010. The project is a cooperation between Sound and Vision, Videodock, the University of Amsterdam and the University of Twente. By using automatic concept detection and speech recognition, videos of pop concerts and interviews with the musicians are searchable on individual shot level. Videos from the pop festival Pinkpop were used for this public demo website. Users could also give feedback on the level of retrieval and indicate if the concept detection was right or wrong. This feedback will be used to improve the concept detection technology.

Further reading

Read the full conference programme here
Conference report by CTOi Consulting

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