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Designing Ubiquitous Media Services through Action Research

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Newspaper companies need to be attentive to the way new information technologies change the conditions and opportunities for news production and distribution. Given the ongoing diffusion of personal computers, handheld devices, and mobile telephones, as well as the advent of new technologies such as the e-paper, newspaper companies face new challenges today. There are a set of trends that coincide with these challenges. First, the ongoing convergence of different information and communication technologies trigger the emergence of new channels for media content. Second, the main-stream consumer possesses nowadays a range of different stationary and mobile computing devices, producing new boundary-spanning use patterns and behaviour. Third, the media industry converges in that the boundaries between different media domains are blurring.

As a result of these trends, a new type of ubiquitous media information environment is emerging. Media consumption is now less restricted to particular time and places (e.g., breakfast table, living room, office). Indeed, peoples' increased physical mobility and the ongoing diffusion and adoption of new mobile technologies are gradually transforming the way media is consumed. Given the new media landscape, newspaper companies are faced with both opportunities and challenges. In addition to traditional newspaper production, newspaper companies need to respond to the increased magnitude and fragmentation of consumers' media-day by developing ubiquitous information environments capable of leveraging value-adding media services in a cost-effective way. Indeed, designing computing environments with the capacity to support media services adapted to a multitude of devices (PCs, mobile phones, handheld computers, e-paper devices, and so on) and audience contexts (home, work, car, on the move, and so on) is a challenge itself.

The project will address the following key question: How can ubiquitous information environments be designed to support production and distribution of profitable ubiquitous media services leveraging user value?

The overall goal of this project is to generate a comprehensive view of how to design ubiquitous media services. The focus is on the user and her different media encounters throughout her media day. Such knowledge is critical for newspaper companies in order to not only tackle the challenges described above but also exploit the opportunities associated with multi-channel publishing.

The contributions of this project are expected to be:

  • Descriptions of use patterns regarding mobile and stationary devices for media consumption as well as user preferences of future media services
  • A framework for designing ubiquitous media services based on knowledge about new technologies and consumer behavior
  • Requirements and suggestions of how to design ubiquitous media information environments to support the production and distribution of ubiquitous media services

The project is planned as a combined experimental prototyping and action research project.

The following ten companies are taking part in the study:

Carina Ihlström, Project leader, + 46 35-16 75 31
Maria Åkesson
Jesper Svensson
Updated 2008-02-04