Do you have a remote teammate? Is it hard for them to participate fully in meetings? Is it hard for you to keep track of what they're up to — and vice versa? An Embodied Social Proxy is a device to represent the remote person in the team's space. During a meeting it acts as a videoconferencing head, effectively giving the remote person a seat at the table. While idle, it shows the remote's recent activity, such as check-ins, bug edits, and status changes.
About Embodied Social Proxies
Embodied Social Proxy in use. (Click to view a larger image.)This project addresses some of the needs of teams that are partially collocated, that is, all teammates' offices are clustered together on the same floor, except for one person that's located at a different site, maybe in another building on the same campus or maybe on another continent. We call these teams "hub-and-satellite." It's often difficult for that satellite person to participate fully in meetings, they're often left out of the impromptu hallway conversations, and they don't have the benefits of overhearing what others are talking about. In short, they're out-of-sight and out-of-mind.
Remote person's experience using Embodied Social Proxy. (Click to view a larger image.)To combat these problems we've developed a device, which we call an Embodied Social Proxy, or ESP for short. It's just a computer on a cart in the hub team space, but it has a specific purpose: to always represent the satellite person. It has two modes of operation — in meetings it acts as a videoconferencing terminal; between meetings it shows information about the satellite person's availability.
We started this project by living it, as we are a hub-and-satellite team. We are deploying multiple ESP units to other teams and studying their use.
- David Sirkin, Gina Venolia, John Tang, George Robertson, Taemie Kim, Kori Inkpen, Mara Sedlins, Bongshin Lee, and Mike Sinclair, Motion and Attention in a Kinetic Videoconferencing Proxy, in Interact 2011, Springer, 7 September 2011.
- Gina Venolia, John Tang, Ruy Cervantes, Sara Bly, George Robertson, Bongshin Lee, and Kori Inkpen, Embodied Social Proxy: Mediating Interpersonal Connection in Hub-and-Satellite Teams, in Proceedings of CHI 2010, Association for Computing Machinery, Inc., April 2010.
- Gina Venolia, John Tang, Ruy Cervantes, Sara Bly, George Robertson, Bongshin Lee, Kori Inkpen, and Steven Drucker, Embodied Social Proxy: Connecting Hub-and-Satellite Teams, in Proceedings of CSCW 2010, Microsoft Research, February 2010.
- A.J. Bernheim Brush, Brian R. Meyers, James Scott, and Gina Venolia, Exploring Awareness Needs and Information Display Preferences Between Coworkers, in CHI 2009 Proceedings, Association for Computing Machinery, Inc., April 2009.
- Gary M. Olson, Judith S. Olson, and Gina Venolia, What Still Matters about Distance?, in Proceedings of HCIC 2009, February 2009.
- Gina Venolia, Can We Make "Distance Matter" Less?, October 2008.
- Embodied Social Proxies project videoJohn Tang, Gina Venolia, and Steven Drucker
00:05:05· 9 October 2009
- Embodied Social Proxies (and Remote Video Heads!) with Microsoft ResearchScott Hanselman, Gina Venolia, and John Tang
00:25:00· 28 January 2010
In the News
- How a Business Can Span the Globe and Stay Close-Knit: Microsoft’s “Telepresence” Project
Xconomy, Gregory T. Huang, April 12, 2010