The influence of interactivity patterns on the Quality of Experience in multi-party video-mediated conversations under symmetric delay conditions

Abstract

As commercial, off-the-shelf, services enable people to easily connect with friends and relatives, video-mediated communication is filtering into our daily activities. With the proliferation of broadband and powerful devices, multi-party gatherings are becoming a reality in home environments. With the technical infrastructure in place and has been accepted by a large user base, researchers and system designers are concentrating on understanding and optimizing the Quality of Experience (QoE) for participants. Theoretical foundations for QoE have identified three crucial factors for understanding the impact on the individual’s perception: system, context, and user. While most of the current research tends to focus on the system factors (delay, bandwidth, resolution), in this paper we offer a more complete analysis that takes into consideration context and user factors. In particular, we investigate the influence of delay (constant system factor) in the QoE of multi-party conversations. Regarding the context, we extend the typical one-to-one condition to explore conversations between small groups (up to five people). In terms of user factors,
we take into account conversation analysis, turn-taking and role-theory, for better understanding the impact of different user
profiles. Our investigation allows us to report a detailed analysis on how delay influences the QoE, concluding that the actual
interactivity pattern of each participant in the conversation results on different noticeability thresholds of delays. Such results have a direct impact on how we should design and construct video-communication services for multi-party conversations, where user activity should be considered as a prime adaptation and optimization parameter.