Multiparty interactive multimedia conferencing services

MIMICS - 20574

keywords: multipoint control unit (MCU), ISDN, ITU-T120, multipoint desktop multimedia conferencing, multipoint conferencing services, WWW conferencing services, environmental emergency management, tele-assistance, remote repair

Start Date: 1 December 1995 / Duration: 30 months

[ contact / participants ]


There is a great possibility that multimedia, multiparty communication will become a key factor in the success of many parties, including information technology providers, telecom operators, service providers and end users. It will be able to improve the quality of work at reduced costs. In the long term, multiparty communication is expected to have an impact in homes for applications such as education, leisure, and interactive group games, among others.

Current use of multimedia is largely limited to standalone implementation or to a limited use of communication capabilities. The main commercial applications are found in the areas of CBT, kiosks, video telephony and desktop conferencing. In all these areas, users find insufficient network inter-working capabilities, insufficient availability of multiparty services and insufficient effective tools for multimedia communication.

The main objective of the MIMICS Project is to provide an innovative hardware and software platform for multiparty communication. In particular, the system will provide the hardware and software for the management of Multipoint communication. The hardware will include user terminals and Multipoint Control Units (MCUs) which will fully conform to the T.120 series of standards. The software modules will include APIs and Application Services.

In addition, the Project aims to experiment with the creation of service centres that offer multimedia conferencing services both to generic users who simply need communication facilities and to specialised users.

It also aims to experiment with the use of the hardware and software platform in two trial applications: An Emergency Management System will be experimented with and validated in regard to the provision of civic services in two field trials, one in Italy and one in Scotland. A second trial will be organised by Agusta for the remote assistance of helicopters.

The project will also promote European-led standards for the new technology in cooperation with other projects. Partners will have an active role in the ITU and IMTC (International Multimedia Teleconferencing Consortium) standardisation bodies.

The objectives of the project will be pursued by an approach based on a heavy investment in the key technologies and on the integration of existing modules whenever possible, from the hardware level up to the Application Programming Interface (API). The partners will extend the available modules wherever their functionality is not sufficient. They will provide the modules that are necessary for the integration of the different components.

The project will take an approach which is user- and market-driven. To this end, (1) user requirements will be collected in order to define system functionality, (2) the developments will be based on existing European and international standards, where they apply, (3) developments will be based on products that partners are already commercialising, and (4) a continuous monitoring of evolution in the market will be performed.

Exploitation of the results will be achieved by the partners developing applications, software tool kits and network services which are in accordance with international standards but also offer the possibility of differentiation and tailoring to specific market sectors. Industrial partners in the project are already commercialising products for multimedia communication and they intend to use the project results in order to develop their offerings further. Users are participating in the project because the existing products have demonstrated their limits in addressing their specific needs, and they are fully committed to exploiting the project results. The consortium members intend to start exploiting results even during the project by commercialising intermediate results as they become available.

Contact Point

Olivetti Telemedia
Via Palestro, 30
I-56127 PISA (ITALY)
tel +39/ 50-885223 or 885201
fax +39-50-589042


Olivetti - I - C
British Telecom - UK - P
Agusta - I - P
Albanet - I - A

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MIMICS - 20574, December 1995

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