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Yelling In the Hall: Using Sidetone to Address a Problem with Mobile Remote Presence Systems

Paepcke, Andreas and Soto, Bianca and Takayama, Leila and Koenig, Frank and Gassend, Blaise (2011) Yelling In the Hall: Using Sidetone to Address a Problem with Mobile Remote Presence Systems. In: UIST (ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology), October 16-19, 2011, Santa Barbara.




In our field deployments of mobile remote presence (MRP) systems in offices, we observed that remote operators of MRPs often unintentionally spoke too loudly. This disrupted their local co-workers, who happened to be within earshot of the MRP system. To address this issue, we prototyped and empirically evaluated the effect of sidetone to help operators self regulate their speaking loudness. Sidetone is the intentional, attenuated feedback of speakers’ voices to their ears while they are using a telecommunication device. In a 3- level (no sidetone vs. low sidetone vs. high sidetone) withinparticipants pair of experiments, people interacted with a confederate through an MRP system. The first experiment involved MRP operators using headsets with boom microphones (N=20). The second experiment involved MRP operators using loudspeakers and desktop microphones (N=14). While we detected the effects of the sidetone manipulation in our audio-visual context, the effect was attenuated in comparison to earlier audio-only studies. We hypothesize that the strong visual component of our MRP system interferes with the sidetone effect. We also found that engaging in more social tasks (e.g., a getting-to-know-you activity) and more intellectually demanding tasks (e.g., a creativity exercise) influenced how loudly people spoke. This suggests that testing such sidetone effects in the typical read-aloud setting is insufficient for generalizing to more interactive, communication tasks. We conclude that MRP application support must reach beyond the time honored audio-only technologies to solve the problem of excessive speaker loudness.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
ID Code:1004
Deposited By:Andreas Paepcke
Deposited On:19 Jul 2011 11:49
Last Modified:19 Jul 2011 11:49

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