myUnity: A new platform to support communication in the modern workplace

Abstract

Modern office work practices increasingly breach traditional boundaries of time and place, making it difficult to interact with colleagues. To address these problems, we developed myUnity, a software and sensor platform that enables rich workplace awareness and coordination. myUnity is an integrated platform that collects information from a set of independent sensors and external data aggregators to report user location, availability, tasks, and communication channels. myUnity’s sensing architecture is component-based, allowing channels of awareness information to be added, updated, or removed at any time. Our current system includes a variety of sensor and data input, including camera-based activity classification, wireless location trilateration, and network activity monitoring. These and other input channels are combined and composited into a single, high-level presence state. Early studies of a myUnity deployment have demonstrated that use of the platform allows quick access to core awareness information and show it has become a useful tool supporting communication and collaboration in the modern workplace.