Exploiting Access Grid Activity Data (AGtivity)

Lead institution: University of Manchester
Project home page: http://grace.rcs.manchester.ac.uk/AGProjects/?cat=4
Project hypothesis:
The hypothesis is that by combining the usage data of these activities with other external sources, the UK Access Grid community will be able to evaluate their usage more accurately, in terms of the time nodes are used, audience sizes and environmental impact, and that they will see an overall improvement in Advanced Video Conferencing meetings through more targeted support by the AGSC staff of potentially failing nodes and meetings.
Project description
This project aims to solve a number of problems related to Advanced Video Conferencing use in the UK. These are that the users do not know when their nodes are being used and so cannot evaluate whether they need additional capacity; that administrators of groups offering teaching using these technologies cannot tell who is attending their courses; that users may not report that they are having problems with their nodes, resulting in a perception of poor quality of Advanced Video Conferencing meetings; and that users do not have access to the potential environmental savings of using these technologies over travelling to conferences.
The hypothesis is that by combining the usage data of these activities with other external sources, the UK Access Grid community will be able to evaluate their usage more accurately, in terms of the time nodes are used, audience sizes and environmental impact, and that they will see an overall improvement in Advanced Video Conferencing meetings through more targeted support by the AGSC staff of potentially failing nodes and meetings.
The use of Advanced Video Conferencing facilities as supported by the Access Grid Support Centre (AGSC) has modified over the last five years from an initial focus on large research management meetings to a more recent emphasis on multi-site distributed teaching and learning. Over the last couple of years detailed video conferencing activity data covering all these user types has been recorded. The aim of this project is to re-purpose this activity data and mash it together with external data sources to solve the problems highlighted above. This will result in both an improved service to the users, through the new ability to analyse their own service usage in terms of actual hours as well as audience sizes, and also in terms of environmental statistics from a series of diary reports; and also an improvement in the ability of the AGSC staff to recognise problems early and so improve the experience of the technologies for the entire community.
A key set of responsive users will be targeted in each of the above areas to exploit these resulting regular diary reports produced by this amalgamation. These users will be used to test the hypothesis set out above, through an evaluation performed using interviews and questionnaires, and also through further examination of the usage data captured.
The project had relatively small datasets , nevertheless, they found a wide variety of technologies and standards useful in their work. As with any such project they encountered a number of issues some of which they described as wins and fails.
Benefits:
Recipes
Presenting data
Further work
The project suggests the following further work.