'KMi Stadium' is the generic label for a suite of activities and software tools that have been evolving since mid-1995 at the UK Open University's Knowledge Media Institute. The common goal of these activities is to stage large-scale live events and on-demand-replays, while giving remote participants anywhere on the Internet a sense of 'being there'. We use a mixture of up-to-date Web technologies (latest-generation browsers, helpers, and plug-ins) and proprietary technologies implemented in Java (including our own synchronized audio and multimedia) and Macromedia Shockwave. Because the technologies, our interests, and our approach all evolve rapidly, the family label 'KMi Stadium' refers to many variants or types. We categorise these briefly below, and then provide a tabular Replay summary showing Stadium's 'event history' and which types were used for each event.
Stadium Project Design History
1. KMi 'Maven of the Month' Internet Talk Radio Interviews
Talk-radio style interviews with noted personalities ('maven' = expert or connoisseur), using RealAudio. Questioners filled in Web forms, and we then phoned them, using a telephone patch panel/balancing unit to handle the worldwide question queue.
2. Auditorium presentations (slide shows, tutorials and panel discussions)
These are formal presentations or discussions, accompanied by high-quality graphics in a custom slide-show viewer which could be controlled indirectly by the presenter using synchronization cues signalled in a separate frame to the remote participants.
3. Java Podium 100% Java-based presentations
Similar to (2) above, but streaming audio and remote control of graphics are all done entirely in Java, enabling precise fine-grained synchronization.
4. Internal and External Webcasts
Events based primarily on the audio content delivered via RealAudio, and occasionally accompanied by static graphics or a simple HTML slide show.
5. Java Arena Prototype
This is the original KMi Stadium Java implementation widely known for the world map, 'choose-your-own-face entrance', 'cartoon presenter hands' and 'applause/laughter' buttons. This was a design prototype which influenced all of the others above.
6. Shockwave Arena Prototype
This is the latest implementation of KMi Stadium Arena environment, which has been used to service the business applications within BP Amoco and for events such as the virtual degree ceremony. This is the software which is used by our spin off company WebSymposia to help corporate clients to explore their webcast requirements.
©2000 Knowledge Media Institute, The Open University