In this chapter, we explore various aspects of multimedia
conferencing. We look at Shared Windowing systems that permit multiple
simultaneous users of an application that runs under a window system.
We then look at Shared Applications that have been written with
multiple users in mind, and look at managing Shared Data. We then look
at Conference Management, and the problem of looking after all the
different systems the users may have running. Finally, we examine how
we can make use of Multicast to improve the overall efficacy of such a
There is a lot of hype about multimedia conferencing. The main thing
to grasp is that its usefulness increases with the distance you use
it over. However, so does its cost (usually exponentially!), and so do
cultural and social problems when you try to interact with people
that you may never have met, over a limited bandwidth link.
The systems described in this chapter were built as part of two
European projects between 1989 and 1994. The first was the
CAR Project (Communications for the Automotive industry under Race)
which looked at computer supported collaborative work for car designers.
The second was the MICE Project (Multimedia Integrated Conferencing for