Service Oriented Collaborations Enviroment for Virtual Organisations (SOCEVO)
The SOCEVO project aims at developing an agent-based service-oriented infrastructure to support construction and management of new collaborative environments for virtual organisations that can be provided on-demand in a variety of end-user applications, such as collaborative e-business, e-learning, e-health and e-government services.
Collaborative Virtual Environments (CVEs) are becoming the standard collaboration environments in today’s knowledge society and networked economy. Most existing CVEs including Internet meeting rooms, video-conferencing, groupware, collaboration portals and computer supported cooperative work systems focus on providing basic enabling functionality for virtual collaboration such as connectivity, multi-medial communication, access management, content and activity coordination and security. More advanced CVEs offer interactive multi-media support involving 3D visualisation and animated avatars that represent participants and facilitate communication between the users within a spatial environment.
However currently CVEs offer a very limited support for operational aspects of the underlying virtual organisations (VOs) formed by the collaborating participants. These operational aspects include organisational policies, collaboration rules and norms, participants’ roles and relationships that are clearly of critical importance for efficient, productive and trusted collaboration in CVEs. More generally similar issues have already been recognised in other collaborative systems such as multi-agent systems and virtual enterprises. Furthermore, current solutions are also typically based on proprietary technologies that limit their broader adoption, interoperability across different CVEs, and integration with other applications. Therefore there is a strong need for more interoperable solutions for CVEs that would also support new abilities to increase virtual presence, automate some collaboration activities and collaborate with services provided by external applications.
The research involves development of a new software framework for creation and management of service-oriented collaborative environments for virtual organisations with the overall goal to increase user’s virtual presence, automation support and service sharing during virtual collaboration. In particular it focuses on new techniques, mechanisms and software solutions for service-oriented enablement and agent-based management of collaborative virtual environments and the underlying virtual organisations that allow human participants, intelligent agents and external services to virtually collaborate regardless of their geographical location, time and organisational boundaries.
The specific research areas of the project are as follows:
- Service-oriented enablement of CVEs and VOs – open service-oriented architecture, language and interfaces for building CVEs and VOs that can increase interoperability and enable virtual collaboration between human participants, intelligent agents and software services.
- Agent-based management of CVEs and VOs – intelligent agent-based management mechanisms that can support automation of virtual collaboration, users’ virtual presence and operations of CVEs and VOs created on demand.
This project is supported by and carried out in collaboration with Everyday Interactive Networks (EIN)