Ambient displays and mobile devices for the creation of social architectural spaces
Supporting informal communication and social awareness in organisations

Norbert Streitz, Thorsten Prante, Carsten Röcker, Daniel Van Alphen, Carsten Magerkurth, Richard Stenzel, Daniela Plewe

AMBIENTE research division, Fraunhofer IPSI
Darmstadt, Germany

{streitz, prante, roecker, magerkur, stenzel}

In this paper, we address three major issues, look at their interaction and combination and present our results on how to arrive at solutions for these issues. The issues are: 1) supporting informal communication and atmosphere in organisations, 2) the role and potential of ambient displays in future work environments, and 3) the combination of mostly static artefacts that are integrated in the architectural environment with mobile devices carried by people. Our results can be considered as steps towards the design and realization of what we call “social architectural spaces” in the context of future work environments. These environments will be populated with a range of different smart artefacts that are designed to facilitate awareness and notification as well as informal communication. We address a range of spaces in office buildings including public spaces, e.g., in the hallway, the foyer, and the cafeteria that have not been the focus of research so far. In particular, we present two artefacts: the Hello.Wall, a wall-size large ambient display, and the ViewPort, a mobile handheld device. They are interacting with each other via wireless networks and different types of sensing technology. The artefacts and the software were developed in the EU-funded “Disappearing Computer”-project “Ambient Agoras: Dynamic Information Clouds in a Hybrid Worlds”.

Key words: ambient displays, mobile devices, informal communication, atmosphere, social architectural space, ubiquitous computing