Chapter 2 Multimedia Technology Applications OBJECTIVES At the end of this chapter, you should be able to: 1. State the ways multimedia technology applies in our daily lives; and 2. Name each element and application in the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC). INTRODUCTIONIn this chapter you will be introduced to the various types of multimediatechnology applications. You have learnt in chapter one that multimedia has longbeen in existence and used in our daily lives. Whether you realise it or not,multimedia has influenced and designed many aspects of our daily lives.Multimedia technology has many applications in various fields such aseducation, medicine, industrial and social. In this chapter, we will discuss severalimportant multimedia applications which have become a part of our daily lives. 2.1 MULTIMEDIA TECHNOLOGY APPLICATIONSA few years ago, multimedia technology was considered a new technology andmost of its applications were used in education to assist in the teaching process.Currently, this scenario has changed. Technology has grown rapidly and its uses
CHAPTER 2 MULTIMEDIA TECHNOLOGY APPLICATIONS 23are increasingly widespread. Multimedia is capable of designing our thoughtsand actions and shaping how a person thinks, works, learns, socialises andothers. Followings are discussions on several major multimedia applications inour daily lives2.1.1 Video TeleconferencingVideo teleconferencing involves the transmission of video and audio in real-timethrough computer networks and this transmission can include two or moremultipoint. Examples of video teleconferencing are shown in Figure 2.1.(a) (b) Figure 2.1: Video Teleconferencing Source: (a) http://www.thevickerage.worldonline.co.uk/⁄/module7/task6.htm (b) http://www.cebenetwork.de/dienstleistungen/teleconf_willkommen.htmlVideo teleconferencing is tele-consulting that broadcasts video pictures ofparticipants who are separated by locations. Each participant is usually locatedin a special room that is equipped with a table, microphone, camera, televisionand a television screen. Each participant then sits at a round table so that it caneasily be recorded by a television camera. Participants from other locations willalso be in specially equipped rooms. During the teleconferencing, other visualslike graphics, charts and other materials can be displayed as required. All theparticipants involved will be able to view the interviews or communication thattakes place among each other.Some of the advantages of video teleconferencing are: Reduces travelling cost and saves time; Increases productivity and improves the quality of teaching and learning; Make quick and spontaneous decisions; Increases satisfaction in teaching or at the workplace; and Facilitates interaction and fosters closer relationships between the lecturers and the students especially in distance learning programmes.
24 UNIT 1 MULTIMEDIA AND ITS ENVIRONMENTApart from the advantages stated above, video teleconferencing technology hasalso successfully found solutions for tackling several of its disadvantages such asthose listed in table 2.1 Table 2.1: Disadvantages of Video Teleconferencing and its Solutions Disadvantages Solution Video requires more bandwidth With the use of compression and than audio. Therefore, Video decompression, videos are more teleconferencing is expensive than sophisticated. normal telephone charges. Video teleconferencing requires a By using optimum multimedia network to support the constant network. delay because audio and video are asynchronous mediums, and both of these media need to be synchronised with one another. Video teleconferencing requires a By using fibre optic networks or the network for the preparation of the ISDN (Integrated Services Digital short delay because it is a real-time Network) application. If there is a long delay, the quality of video teleconferencing will decrease. Exercise 2.1 In your opinion, what are the disadvantages of video teleconferencing compared to face-to-face communication?2.1.2 Multimedia Store and Forward MailThe applications in multimedia store and forward mail allow users to generate,modify and receive documents that contain multimedia.Nowadays, people are able to write electronic mails that not only contain text butalso images, audio, video and hypermedia links.
CHAPTER 2 MULTIMEDIA TECHNOLOGY APPLICATIONS 25Currently, there are many free electronic mail service providers on the Internetsuch as Yahoo, Hotmail, Mailcity and others. All these service providers enablethe sending of multimedia mail containing pictures, songs and animation.However, most of these service providers have specific conditions. For example,Hotmail has determined that the size of mail to be sent through it must not bemore than 1MB. This is to prevent network congestion and to reduce delay.Figure 2.2 below, depicts an example of a multimedia mail which is commonlyused. Besides text, it can also send voice mail. Figure 2.2: Multimedia Mail Source: http://www.uarte.mct.pt/ajuda/manuais/icq/ICQ.ht27.jpg2.1.3 Reference SourceHas it ever crossed your mind that multimedia can be used as a reference sourcefor obtaining the latest information? In actual fact, we can use multimedia toobtain information that we require. Among them are encyclopaedias, directories,electronic books and dictionaries.In 1990, which was the beginning of the last decade of the 20th century, two ofthe first multimedia encyclopaedias emerged. Namely Comptons InteractiveEncyclopaedia and its competitor, Groliers Multimedia Encyclopaedia. Otherearly popular encyclopaedias titles were the Canadian Encyclopaedia, Guinness
26 UNIT 1 MULTIMEDIA AND ITS ENVIRONMENTBook of Records, Colliers and HutchinsonÊs Encyclopaedia (StephenMcGloughlin, 2001).In the early years, encyclopaedias were merely text elements. Gradually, otherimportant elements such as animation, audio and video were integrated. Thus, amethod of disseminating information based on the hypermedia concept wasborn. An example of this is, Microsoft Encarta. Microsoft Encarta from MicrosoftCorporation was first marketed in 1993 and was an interactive encyclopaediawhich could be played on Windows-based computers.The Electronic Yellow Pages which is directory-based and PC Magazine whichis electronic book-based are among other multimedia reference sources which arecurrently available. THINK What do you understand by Electronic Yellow Pages? Try browsing web sites on the Internet to obtain additional information about Electronic Yellow Pages. Compare the information you obtained with those of your friends.2.1.4 Edutainment and InfotainmentAll of you are definitely familiar with the word entertainment but edutainmentand infotainment are most probably words that are foreign to some students.Before the development of multimedia, we have never heard of these words butnowadays we often hear them both. Edutainment The inclusion of multimedia in the field of education gave birth to edutainment. It is a new learning approach which combines education and entertainment. Hence, it has led to the emergence of many multimedia applications based on edutainment such as MathBlaster and Fun Maths with Arti. These software teach children Mathematics using fun elements. Multimedia-based compact-discs or web pages are effectively used to present educational contents with relative ease. Infotainment Infotainment on the other hand, is a combination of information and entertainment. Currently there are many service providers under this category such as Prodigy, America Online, Microsoft, IBM and CompuServe.
CHAPTER 2 MULTIMEDIA TECHNOLOGY APPLICATIONS 27Figure 2.3 below shows edutainment and infotainment applications that usemultimedia technology. Figure 2.3: (a) Edutainment and (b) Infotainment2.1.5 Advertising and PurchasingAdvertising on the Internet is not a new phenomenon. Most of the web sitesvisited have many advertisements with multimedia features with the objective ofmarketing merchandise or offering services online. Normally, users can use thisapplication at home or at kiosk centres.These two categories of advertising and purchasing involve two-way interaction.This application benefits both parties. For example: Users will use this application to obtain information on products or services that they are interested in. They can also ask for public opinion about the products through online forums while the advertisers can use this application to inform users about the products and services being offered. Users have the opportunity to ask the advertisers questions while the advertisers also have the opportunity to answer the questions more specifically and clearly. Both parties can use the application for transactions involving ordering and payment. An example of this application is shown in Figure 2.4.
28 UNIT 1 MULTIMEDIA AND ITS ENVIRONMENT Figure 2.4: Advertising and Purchasing Source: http://www.sony.com.my NEWS DELIVERY, BROADCASTING AND ADVERTISINGBroadcasting and advertising has been one of the main beneficiaries of interactivemultimedia systems. As early as 1992 Liebman recognized that there is increasingdemand for broadcasting and advertising agencies to move towards the use ofinteractive multimedia. Intelligent electronic catalogues, disk-based advertising,desktop presentation systems and the MM advertising approach are among theareas that have benefited from the emergence of multimedia.The launch of interactive TV and the ever-increasing capability of the WWW(including Web TV and Web casting) to present media rich information haveadded new interesting and exciting dimensions to traditional approaches. Eventraditional means of delivering news like newspapers have undergone majorchanges trying to embrace the new technology.Browsing through the Web one could find thousands of newspapers in tens ofdifferent languages bringing up-to-date news to millions of Web surfers. Theinteractive nature of the Web also allows for news providers to enrich theirtraditional mainly text-based content by adding live reports and video clips aswell as offering their customers sophisticated search facilities and ÂpushÊtechnology to send users specific news on demand.
CHAPTER 2 MULTIMEDIA TECHNOLOGY APPLICATIONS 29Even traditional news broadcasting corporations like the BBC and CNN areallocating enormous budgets in developing Web-based news delivery andInternet channel that offers 24 hours a day, seven days a week news to userswhen and where they required it.(References : Designing Interactive Multimedia Systems, Mohammad Dastbaz,2002: ms 14 - 15)2.1.6 Digital LibraryDo you know that nowadays, you no longer need to go to the library to borrowbooks? This is because of the existence of a digital library on the Internet.With the existence of the digital or virtual library, students no longer need to goto libraries but can search and obtain information that they require through theInternet. Computers can access distant libraries for the contents of theirservices and other available resources. Information services are available to usersfrom various libraries all around the world.In Malaysia, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) has set up a UKM HospitalLibrary which is the first digital and most sophisticated medical library in thisregion (Health Ministry Bulletin, April 2001). This library offers electronicmaterials encompassing books, journals and theses. Researchers can borrow,return and book items completely online. This library is a one-stop search whichallows users to search for books and journals electronically and it is supported bya client/server web-based and multimedia-based integrated system.Presently, there are more than 10,000 libraries reachable through the Internet. Forexample; National libraries those are available worldwide for example; the National Congress Library of the United States of America, the National Library of Canada (http://www.nic-bnc.ca/), and the National Library of Australia (http://nla.gov.au). The Library of Britain which is popularly known as the British Library is one of the oldest and most famous libraries in the world. This library can be reached at http://www.bl.ukThere are some features which allow users easy access to the digital library.Among them are:
30 UNIT 1 MULTIMEDIA AND ITS ENVIRONMENT(a) National and international telephone networks with speed and bandwidth which can transfer big and complex text files and graphic digital images.(b) Protocol and standards which facilitates ease of connection among computers and from one database to another.(c) Automated digital instruments such as scanners and faxes which can transfer data and information in real-time.Figure 2.5 shows the digital library which is available on the OUM web site. Figure 2.5: OUM Digital Library Source: http://www.oum.edu.my/digital_library.htm Browse the OUM web site at the address stated above. Try to get information on books that you are interested in. List the information that you have successfully obtained.2.1.7 Education and Health ApplicationsDevelopment in multimedia technology has brought about tremendous changesin the fields of education and health. Multimedia computers are used as support
CHAPTER 2 MULTIMEDIA TECHNOLOGY APPLICATIONS 31tools in education and health. Figure 2.6 shows the flow of multimediaapplication in the field of education and health. Figure 2.6: Multimedia application flow in the fields of education and healthIn this modern world, traditional education such as classroom lectures might notbe able to fulfil the current needs of the students and not to mention its expensivecost. Distance learning or online learning is becoming more popular due to itsflexibility and ease of operation. Although, most of the online education todayonly uses text media, it may change to complete multimedia in the near future.Therefore, the quality of learning can be enhanced with learning materialsequipped with media such as text, video, audio and animation.In reality, school teachers in Malaysia have begun to use interactive multimediain teaching. Many multimedia development companies are also utilising theseopportunities by developing their multimedia training products. They are alsopersuading parents to purchase multimedia computers for their children. Inother words, multimedia training has become the most successful commercialmultimedia application.Health care is receiving more attention throughout the world including Malaysia.Multimedia application is important in health care because information shownusing various media such as pictures, video and audio will definitely make itmore meaningful. Realising its importance, the Malaysian Government hasintroduced tele-medicine as one of Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) mainapplications. Its objective is to enable the public to receive online information andadvice pertaining to healthcare.
32 UNIT 1 MULTIMEDIA AND ITS ENVIRONMENTMultimedia technology has been successfully used in the health care industry inthe United States of America such as in radiology, pathology, cardiology, patientrecords information services from medical libraries and education of hospitalstaff. REFERENCES To improve your knowledge on multimedia technological application in various fields, refer to the book, “Multimedia Literacy” by Fred T. Hofstetter, 2001.2.1.8 Other ApplicationsApart from the applications already mentioned above, there are many othermultimedia applications which have become a part our daily lives. Can youthink of such applications? Among them are video-on-demand (VOD), kiosks,hybrid applications, applications for recreation, communication, commerce,training and others.Figure 2.7 shows an example of video-on-demand (VOD) which is availableoverseas. Figure 2.7: Video-on-Demand (VOD) Source: http://www.koolconnect.com
CHAPTER 2 MULTIMEDIA TECHNOLOGY APPLICATIONS 33 You can browse the web site http://koolconnect.com/vod.html to view the video-on-demand (VOD) application. What information did you get? Exercise 2.2 1. State TWO advantages of digital library. 2. Give TWO uses of multimedia technology in the health care industry.You are encouraged to take a break before continuing the lesson. 2.2 MULTIMEDIA SUPER CORRIDOR (MSC)The Multimedia Super Corridor project (MSC) was announced by Datuk Seri Dr.Mahathir during the official opening of Multimedia Asia Conference andExhibition on 1st August 1996. This announcement indirectly showed thatMalaysia, at that point of time, was heading towards the multimedia world andcurrently, we are already in this sophisticated era of information.The Multimedia Super Corridor is a 15km wide by 50km long corridor. It startsfrom the Kuala Lumpur City Center (KLCC) in the north, to the Kuala LumpurInternational Airport (KLIA) in the south. The two new intelligent cities that arecovered in the MSC plan are Cyberjaya and Putrajaya. If you are interested to know more about the location of the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC), browse the Multimedia Super Corridor web site at http://www.msc.com.my
34 UNIT 1 MULTIMEDIA AND ITS ENVIRONMENTPutrajaya is the head office of the Malaysian Government and is known as theIntelligent City. This Intelligent City is equipped with all thesophisticated technological facilities. The government strives to modernisethe countryÊs administration in order to achieve the status of an electronicgovernment.Cyberjaya is the investment site and creative centre for some of the giantcompanies which are directly involved in innovative multimedia and havesuccessfully formed their own creative centres. Therefore, these companies usesophisticated multimedia technology to produce and supply their products andservices to the world market. On top of that, Cyberjaya is also the site foruniversities, intelligent homes and smart schools.The Multimedia Development Corporation (MDC) was formed to manage andmarket the Multimedia Super Corridor. Its main mission is to create the bestenvironment in the world for private companies to lead and develop the useof multimedia. MDC also acts as a One-Stop Center to fulfill the 10 Bills ofGuarantee which is specifically aimed at speeding up the processing of visas,licenses and permits. If you are curious to learn more about MDC, browse the Multimedia Development Corporation web site at http://www.mdc.com.my 2.3 APPLICATION FOR MSC STATUSThe MSC status will be accorded to product-development or multimedia serviceand information technology companies. A company needs to fulfill certaincriteria in order to be eligible for the MSC status which then will be allowed toreceive the MSC incentives. The required criteria are: Be provider or heavy user of multimedia products and services. Employs a large number of knowledge workers. States how it is going to transfer its technology and expertise to Malaysia and subsequently contributes to the development and economy of Malaysia.
CHAPTER 2 MULTIMEDIA TECHNOLOGY APPLICATIONS 35 YOUR IDEA Name 3 overseas MSC companies that have a subsidiary or a research center in Cyberjaya. What are the services or research conducted by these companies?2.4 MSC FLAGSHIP APPLICATIONSWhen the Multimedia Super Corridor was launched, seven major applicationswere identified. Figure 2.8: MSC Flagship Applications2.4.1 Electronic GovernmentThe Malaysian government introduced the electronic government in its effort tobe more efficient and to provide faster services to its people. For example, thepublic can renew driving licenses or pay their bills without having to leave theirhomes or by just going to the nearest kiosk.The electronic government was introduced to fulfill the following objectives: to offer efficient and high quality online services and administration to the public. to increase the involvement of the public in governmental issues.
36 UNIT 1 MULTIMEDIA AND ITS ENVIRONMENT to strengthen the protection and security of data. to improve the internal processes of the government so that quality of service can be improved, cost reduced and productivity increased. You can visit web sites such as www.sabah.gov.my, www.johordt.gov.my, www.jpa.gov.my to view examples of an electronic government. List the types of electronic government services provided.An example of an electronic government is shown in Figure 2.9 where the publiccan deal with the government through this site. Figure 2.9: Example of an Electronic Government in Malaysia Source: Public Services Department, http://www.jpa.gov.my
CHAPTER 2 MULTIMEDIA TECHNOLOGY APPLICATIONS 372.4.2 Multipurpose CardThis electronic card can store a lot of information and is used specifically fortransactions or for information retrieval. This multipurpose card acts as anidentity card, driving license, health card, electronic cash card and ATM card forany Malaysian citizen who owns it.Figure 2.10 shows an example of the multipurpose card. It helps the publicespecially when dealing with government agencies and private companies. Thismultipurpose card also contains sophisticated safety features to curb fraud. Figure 2.10: Multipurpose Card Source: http://www.jpn.gov.my/gmpc/index.htm2.4.3 Smart SchoolsSmart schools are schools equipped with computers and multimedia equipmentsfor new approaches to learning. Currently, these smart schools use the newschool curriculum for Bahasa Melayu, English, Mathematics and Science.The objectives of smart schools are to improve the quality of education, training, the organisation of schools and students presentations. It is also aimed ataccelerating the development of critical thinking, learning and creativity.An example of a smart school, Seri Bintang in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur is shown inFigure 2.11
38 UNIT 1 MULTIMEDIA AND ITS ENVIRONMENT Figure 2.11: Smart School Source: http://www.tutor.com.my/tutor/fokus/4_c.htm2.4.4 Tele-medicineThe use of technology and multimedia equipments on a broader aspect is a newapproach in healthcare. The public can enjoy more healthcare services throughthe use of this tele-medicine system. The public or patients can access thehealthcare system directly or via tele-consulting with medical doctors atcommunity centres or at home.The objectives of tele-medicine are: to provide medical services for the benefits of the rural population reduce delivery time save costs to be the regional centre for the development of tele-medicineDuring the 7th Malaysian Plan, tele-medicine was implemented in 42 healthcentres and 42 tele-consulting centres which are mostly located in rural areas.Figure 2.12 below shows an example of tele-medicine.
CHAPTER 2 MULTIMEDIA TECHNOLOGY APPLICATIONS 39 Figure 2.12: Tele-medicine Source: Satellite Networks and Architectures Branch http://ctd.grc.nasa.gov/5610/telemedicine.html2.4.5 Research and Development ClusterThe main objective of the government is to set up the best research andmultimedia development centre in the world. Therefore, universities, colleges,private companies and research institutes are encouraged to work together todevelop multimedia technology. A special grant has been prepared and would begranted to eligible institutes and companies. For example, computer engineersfrom Malaysia can collaborate with renowned scientists to create IT applicationsand technology to benefit the citizens of the world.In general, the research and development cluster (R&D Cluster) is aimed atencouraging the transfer of multimedia technology to Malaysia, motivate thebeginning of local sophisticated technology and increase local development andresearch activities so that more local products and services, that are morecompetitive, can be developed.2.4.6 World Wide Manufacturing WebsAll companies and organisations are invited to design and generate newproducts and multimedia services. World Wide Manufacturing Webs refers to agroup of manufacturing industries where these companies can receive andexchange their technological expertise in the fields of engineering, delivery,marketing, research and design.
40 UNIT 1 MULTIMEDIA AND ITS ENVIRONMENTAny international companies can work together with local companies toundertake research and invent competitive multimedia products to be marketedto the world. In a nutshell, the objective of this network is to focus on researchand development, product-design, engineering support, distribution logistics andcontrol centre manufacturing.2.4.7 Borderless Marketing CentersCompanies that are located within the Multimedia Super Corridor are able tosupply high quality products at a reasonably low cost so that these products cancompete in the global market. Such products can be marketed through electronic-commerce, tele-marketing and digital broadcasting. A company that uses IT and multimedia application would be able tocommunicate and interact with its customers globally without being restricted bygeographical factors and time. Moreover, the company can also obtain morebusiness opportunities by just sending out product information and conductingits marketing electronically.With this main flagship application, Malaysians from all walks of life would beable to benefit greatly, be it students, teachers, community leaders, businessmenor politicians. They would find that multimedia technology and equipment veryuseful in their daily lives.The objectives can be summarised as: To make Malaysia as the information centre for products and services To increase the opportunities for local companies to sell their products in the global market To strengthen the position of Malaysians in the electronic trade which is growing rapidly REFERENCES Apart from the web sites stated, you can also refer to the Information Technology, Media and Society Module Open University Malaysia for further information regarding the MSC.
CHAPTER 2 MULTIMEDIA TECHNOLOGY APPLICATIONS 41 Exercise 2.3 1. Kiosk is one of the multimedia technology applications that are frequently found. Give a brief explanation about Kiosk. 2. Let say that you are going for a vacation but do not know of any travel agencies in Malaysia. You can find it on the Internet. Try to list THREE travel agencies in Malaysia that have advertised on the Internet. 3. State the 10 Bills of Guarantee that were prepared by the government to attract companies to operate in the MSC. 4. State THREE main objectives why the electronic government was introduced. SUMMARYDid you understand the contents of this chapter? This chapter explained themain multimedia applications and how the use of multimedia technologyhas influenced our daily life. Additionally, this chapter also discussed theMultimedia Super Corridor (MSC). If the MSC is successful in meeting itsobjectives, then the dream of vision 2020 will be successfully realized.