ITcon Vol. 14, pg. 180-203,

A framework for using interactive workspaces for effective collaboration

published:June 2009
editor(s):Kazi A S, Aouad G, Baldwin A
authors:R. M. Leicht, Graduate Research Assistant,
Architectural Engineering, Penn State University;

J. I. Messner, PhD, Associate Professor,
Architectural Engineering, Penn State University;

C. J. Anumba, PhD, DSc, PE Department Head & Professor,
Architectural Engineering, Penn State University;
summary:Recent trends in collaboration within the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) Industry have increased the emphasis on integrated project delivery, the use of intelligent models for information sharing, and the use of electronic tools for virtual teaming. While the value of these tools and methods is growing, the impact of the workspace and physical interaction of the team is often left as an afterthought. The value of the workspace, human interaction, and sense of team is not unknown, for example, face-to-face interactions are commonly emphasized in collaborative design charrettes for activities such as sustainable project design. There have been a variety of developments in improved media interface, ranging from interactive whiteboards and tablet PC’s, to augmented reality and virtual reality display systems, as well as rapid prototyping. This paper focuses on bringing the physical, virtual, human, and task elements together in a framework for using interactive workspaces for more effective collaboration.The focus of this paper is the development of the framework for effective planning and use of interactive workspaces for collaboration. Virtual environments offer the ability to blur the lines between the physical and virtual, interactive workspaces are a subset of virtual environments where the physical spaces allow ubiquitous and intuitive interactions with the virtual content. The framework describes how the virtual and physical technologies relate to team collaboration. The background and development of this framework are presented with a focus on face-to-face collaboration in interactive workspaces (IW). To demonstrate the use of the framework, a series of 24 undergraduate student teams in the architectural engineering program at Penn State were studied using four different configurations of an IW at Penn State. The study of the students identifies the aspects of the IW framework which influence the team interaction based on the task, and using observational studies tracked interactions among individuals and with the media interface to compare differences in use and outcomes between media modalities. Outcomes indicate measurable differences in the individual contributions to the discussion and through the interface based on the configurations used. The paper concludes with the value of employing the framework for comprehensive planning of collaborative efforts.
keywords:interactive workspace, observational study, media modality, framework development
full text: (PDF file, 2.968 MB)
citation:Leicht R M, Messner J I, Anumba C J (2009). A framework for using interactive workspaces for effective collaboration, ITcon Vol. 14, Special issue Next Generation Construction IT: Technology Foresight, Future Studies, Roadmapping, and Scenario Planning, pg. 180-203,