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OVIK – Places for Virtual-Informal Communication

Many companies are now working together with employees in distributed locations. Informal communication, which has been found to be an important factor for successful collaboration, is strongly diminished over spatial distance and with reduced visibility and presence. The localized character of informal communication appears to influence and limit collaboration for work in distributed organizations.

The project will therefore examine how informal communication between sites can be enabled “virtually” – without the need for frequent and close physical encounter and presence, supported by video communication. Architectural elements, furniture and video communication technology, together with guidelines for workplace organization are developed within the project that aim to support informal communication and enable successful collaboration in different spatial constellations as “places of virtual-informal communication”.

The main project objective is the development and evaluation of products to enable and promote informal communication between distributed sites. Advanced goal is the successful characterization and implementation of “places for virtual-informal communication” (OVIKs) based on the products developed. The project aims to contribute to the understanding of distributed collaboration in general and to the understanding of the specific potential and risks of the extensive use of video communication in workplace settings.