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Effects of Latency on Telepresence

Geelhoed, Erik; Parker, Aaron; Williams, Damien J.; Groen, Martin
HP Laboratories


Keyword(s): Telepresence, Latency, Neurological Basis of Conversation, User Studies, Empirical Methods, User and Cognitive Models, Video Analysis, Computer- Mediated Communication.

Abstract: The literature on the effects of latency on mediated communication is extensive. However there have as yet not been any studies on the effects of latency in a Telepresence (Halo) setting. Round Trip latency Time (RTT) is recognized as an important determinant in helping to establish task objectives for all forms of interactive continuous media. While a number of recommendations have been made with regard to appropriate latency, these are largely based on telephone and low quality video conversations. Thus, given the provision of high quality visual information in the Halo Telepresence conferencing suites, it is necessary to explore the effect of latency on the associated user experience. In the current experiment artificially adding a delay of 250ms produced some effects, e.g. the timing of interruptions, but adding two seconds clearly affected a range of communication parameters. However, this did not produce the expected communicative breakdown, with participants persisting in their conversational style, sharing jokes, and successfully completing their task. Reviewing new developments in the research on the neurological basis of conversation as well as the role of mirror neurons, we hypothesize that the availability of (life-size) high quality video is able to buffer the potentially negative effects of latency. Thus our research effort resulted in two world firsts: [1] the evaluation of latency on Telepresence and [2] introducing mirror neuron theory into the realm of mediated communication.

12 Pages

External Posting Date: June 21, 2009 [Fulltext]. Approved for External Publication
Internal Posting Date: June 21, 2009 [Fulltext]

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