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27 September 2010 / erikduval

Getting Rid of Friction in Research

Next week is an important conference week in my domain: the ECTEL conference is always a nice event and this year’s program looks terrific. My team is presenting at the conference and in several workshops and I am co-organizing a workshop on Research2.0.

If you participate in research events yourself, then you know that it can often be quite a hectic experience: you’re listening to the speaker, looking at the slides, reading the paper, googling some of the things being mentioned, taking notes, etc.

In the spirit of eating the meal that we prepare for others, we have been looking at how to use technology to enhance the conference experience. Much of our original inspiration came from the Shazam music discovery tool – I explained the original idea here more than a year ago.

Well, that idea is now … a functioning tool that we will demonstrate (and evaluate) at ECTEL. Basically, this is a mobile web application that enables you to take a picture of a QR code (we’re working on image recognition, so that you can just take a picture of the speaker!) and then guides you to more information about the speaker, the paper, the presentation, the social networks the speaker participates in, etc.

If the presentation is interesting, then you can subscribe to the blog about this work, or follow the presenter on twitter or download the slides from slideshare, etc. The basic idea is that you can do all of these things without support as well, but that there is so much friction involved, that you often don’t get around to doing these things after the conference. Now you can do them during the presentation – no fuss, no bother.

BTW, the killer feature for me? You can use More! to send an email to your research team. The mail message will already contain “I am listening to author X at event Y presenting paper Z (link to paper and slides). This is interesting because…”. You only need to fill in the dots – that is difficult to automate as long as reading thoughts is still a challenge ;-). But you do not have to worry about all the details that technology can keep track of for you… That is what we mean when we say that More! removes friction from the research process.

One more thing: we’re very serious about evaluating this tool! We’d love to get your feedback. If you register your social network details at SOHARC, then you can be discovered through More! too! And, of course, you can use More! at ECTEL. Or you can ask us to use More! at your own event. We’d be delighted to hear from you!


One Comment

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  1. pjv / Sep 27 2010 1:04 am

    Isn’t this old news? Look at the Google I/O 2010 or the FOSDEM 2010 apps for Android for instance. They might not have all the features you describe, but they do engage the visitor. Especially the Google I/O 2010 setup which also involved Google Wave, video recording, automatic transcription, etc.

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