Virtual tools for library learning

Multiple party conferencing over the Internet will become commercially acceptable only if it can provide a framework for secure communication. This security needs to include authentication of participants and encryption of the media.

The objective of the MECCANO project is to provide technology components to support collaborative research and technical development through enhanced tools for multimedia collaboration. The project is using and improving existing conferencing tools. Particular application aims are distance education and conferencing.

The project is seeking improvements in many important ways. These include the introduction and recording of multimedia information in conferences. It is also pursuing capability for optimum video, audio, shared workspace and applications sharing over multiple bandwidths. Compatibility is being sought across platforms and through current standards and the integration of low-speed access facilities, with distributed, secured, control systems. The project is developing AudioGate: a practical software digital gateway between standard videoconferencing over the Integrated Services Digital Networks (ISDN) and multicast conferencing on the Internet. The project work covers conference announcement, invitation and network reservation and generally making multimedia conferencing tools easier to use by untrained users.

The MECCANO stand is demonstrating secure multicast multimedia conferencing with sites in France, Germany, Norway, Poland and the United Kingdom. This is achieved in two ways: over the Internet and using Internet Protocol over an Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) Virtual Private Network. There will also be a multicast multimedia conference from a telephone through a gateway.

Contact Roy BENNETT, University College London
tel +44 20 7679 7934
fax +44 20 7679 1397
email R.Bennett@cs.ucl.ac.uk
website www-mice.cs.ucl.ac.uk/multimedia/projects/meccano/

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