The USE Project: Designing Smart Spaces for Real People


We describe our work-in-progress: a “wizard-free” conference room designed for ease of use, yet retaining next-generation functionality. Called USE (Usable Smart Environments), our system uses multi-display systems, immersive conferencing, and secure authentication. It is based in cross-cultural ethnographic studies on the way people use conference rooms.
The USE project has developed a flexible, extensible architecture specifically designed to enhance ease of use in smart environment technologies. The architecture allows customization and personalization of smart environments for particular people and groups, types of work, and specific physical spaces. The system consists of a database of devices with attributes, rooms and meetings that implements a prototype-instance inheritance mechanism through which contextual information (e.g. IP addresses application settings, phone numbers for teleconferencing systems, etc.) can be associated