Telepresence at Ubicomp 2014

This year at Ubicomp we will be offering a select number of people the ability to remotely attend and interact at the conference. The goal is to provide people who cannot attend Ubicomp in person with an alternative means for conference attendance. Currently remote attendance is still at an exploratory stage, so we can only accommodate a small number of remote attendees.

This is an experiment. Remote participants are likely to experience technology weaknesses and glitches, so their experience will likely be not as good as an in-person attendee’s. As it is an experiment, participants should expect to participate in user studies.

The Telepresence Setup

If you are interested and selected, you will be able to attend Ubicomp remotely using Beams from Suitable Technologies. Beams are remotely-controlled telepresence robots that are equipped with video conferencing software. They will allow you to move throughout the conference venue, go to talk sessions, and mingle in the common areas between talks. Full details about the technology are available on the Suitable Technologies web page.

Remote attendance will be available from Monday to Wednesday during the talk sessions and breaks. They will also be available during the demo reception. We unfortunately cannot support remote attendance at the conference reception or conference workshops.

How Can I Participate Remotely?

If you are interested in attending Ubicomp remotely, please email the following information to the Telepresence Co-Chairs ( by May 1, 2014.

We will be selective about who we allow to participate remotely. We aim to have remote attendees from varying backgrounds so we can explore the experience from different perspectives, while also providing a valuable option of attending from afar.

If you are selected to participate remotely, we will contact you by email prior to the registration deadline.

Because remote attendance is still in an exploratory and learning stage, your registration cost will be half price.

The User Study

As part of the telepresence and remote participation, we will also be conducting a user study to learn about the experience. If you are selected to attend remotely, you will be asked to participate in this study. The study will involve:

  1. A pre-conference interview with you to discuss your pre-conceptions about the experience prior to the conference as well as your goals for the conference.
  2. Completion of a diary at the end of each conference day that describes your thoughts and experiences.
  3. A final interview at the end of the conference to learn about your overall experience and feelings towards each of the telepresence options.
We will also conduct an online survey with conference attendees who were present in person to gauge their reactions to the telepresence setup.

Telepresence Co-Chairs