“Making communications and engagement easier among groups of people separated in space and time”
(Doug Williams, BT, TA2 technical manager)
How can technology help to nurture family-to-family relationships? This is the question asked by the collaborative project “Together Anywhere, Together Anytime” (TA2).
For many people, families form the key social unit. Many of our enduring experiences, holidays, celebrations and moments of fun and laughter are framed as family events. This is something that current technology does not address well: modern media and communications serve individuals best, with phones, computers and electronic games devices tending to be individually owned and providing individual experiences. TA2 seeks to redress this imbalance, by exploring how technology can support group to group communication.
Family letters are often written from one family to another; family games are played between families. Memories in the form of videos and photographs are often shared within families. TA2 wants to enhance and support these processes; enabling people to share their stories, pass digital photos and videos around, add comments to them, and to pass them back. TA2 wants to build systems that allow people to play games with each other, seeing and hearing each other as they laugh with, and at, each other, as they struggle with games like Ludo®, Labyrinth® or Pictionary®. And TA2 also wants to find ways in which modern sensors and IT equipment can support the family to gain better awareness of each others activity, whilst maintaining each individual’s right to privacy.
TA2 media and communication experiences will be characterised by their naturalness; clear relaxed voice communication and intelligently edited video. Through the TA2 system, stories are automatically generated from home-related content, the personal home video or from the antics of a lively game.