ITcon Vol. 16, pg. 209-230, http://www.itcon.org/2011/14

Factors impacting usage patterns of collaborative tools designed to support global virtual design project networks

submitted:July 2010
revised:September 2010
published:February 2011
editor(s):Turk Z.
authors:Josh Iorio, Post-Doctoral Research Scientist
Columbia University, Project Network Dynamics Lab
ji2175@columbia.edu

Gabriel Peschiera, Research Assistant
Columbia University, Dept of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics
gsp2107@columbia.edu

John E. Taylor, Assistant Professor
Columbia University, Dept. of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics
taylor@civil.columbia.edu

Lasse Korpela, Technical Assistant
Helsinki University of Technology, SimLab Enterprise Simulation Laboratory
lasse.korpela@tkk.fi
summary:The purpose of this paper is to highlight some of the competing factors that impact the usage patterns and adoption of collaborative tools designed to support global virtual collaborative work. Through an analysis of frequency data and recorded interactions, we present findings from a semester-long study of design collaboration in the CyberGRID (Cyber-enabled Global Research Infrastructure for Design), a virtual collaborative space developed in Second Life to support design work in global virtual networks. We discuss tools designed to facilitate the collaborative interaction of seven global virtual networks of designers composed of students from The University of Twente (The Netherlands), Columbia University (United States), the University of Washington (United States), The Indian Institute of Technology – Madras (India) and the Helsinki University of Technology (Finland). Each domestic team was responsible for one component of an integrated design task including the creation of a work schedule, 3D building model, 4D model mapping the work schedule to the 3D model, and a cost estimate. We demonstrate that a number of factors impact tool usage patterns and adoption, including the simplicity of the tool, whether the tool promotes group cohesion, the emergent need for the tools, and local factors specific to the experiences of the domestic teams. We conclude with a discussion of the viability of Second Life as a platform for virtualizing the engineering workforce and highlight challenges of researching and developing tools to support global virtual networks of designers executing complex projects.
keywords:collaboration, design, project networks, virtual teams, virtual worlds
full text: (PDF file, 0.413 MB)
citation:Iorio J, Peschiera G, Taylor J E, Korpela L (2011). Factors impacting usage patterns of collaborative tools designed to support global virtual design project networks, ITcon Vol. 16, Special issue Use of virtual world technology in architecture, engineering and construction, pg. 209-230, http://www.itcon.org/2011/14