SAGE2: the next generation of collaborative SRSD middleware

How many times were we wondering how to improve group work collaboration? Of course, all of us are thinking about web-based collaboration systems such as the well-known Skype or Google Hangouts. According to the next generation data complexity, innovative collaboration systems are required to improve the cooperation among users.

SAGE, an open-source middleware that allowed groups to work in front of large displays to access, display, and share the large amount of information and data, was built in 2004.

Considering all the technical changes in web server and applications, eight researchers from University of Illinois at Chicago and one from the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa proposed to redesign the tool, developing SAGE 2, which perfectly fits the original SAGE but is made to expand the community.

The research was presented at CollaborateCom 2014, where Thomas Marrinan, Jillian Aurisano, Arthur Nishimoto, Krishna Bharadwaj, Victor Mateevitsi, Luc Renambot, Lance Long, Andrew Johnson,  from the University of Illinois at Chicago and Jason Leigh from the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa won the Best Paper Award for their study. The group of researchers built this powerful tool for group work, as a next generation Scalable Resolution Shared Displays (SRSD) collaborative platform that integrates cloud-based and web browser technologies into an environment suited for data intensive problem solving in authentic scenarios.

SAGE2 is built to enlarge the user community thanks to its advanced support for development and integration of multi-user applications and the minor barrier to entry. As affirmed by the researchers, this is the main reason to “invite the community to use SAGE2 as a platform to develop multi-user applications for devices ranging from a standard desktop to a cluster-driven tiled display wall.

The paper provides design challenges, explains benefits of data collaboration and presents a range of use cases to demonstrate the value of the developed tool.

What will be the next step for the future development? Research linking content and remote collaboration, as confirmed by the authors: “We plan to explore the possibilities of creating links between applications in order to exchange data, such as the ability of a mapping application to plot the locations of all photos that are geotagged on the SRSD. We will also be exploring various techniques to improve remote collaboration where the technologies at each site are heterogeneous. We plan to synchronize applications across multiple sites and provide a window into a remote site’s SRSD to give a visual overview of their content arrangement.”

Would you like to learn more about SAGE2? Click here for the full version of the paper.