Section: Overall Objectives
The Multimedia Web
Diversity on the Web increases steadily, be it the diversity of information or the diversity of access devices and communication networks. Diversity of information comes from the multimedia Web. Information shared on the Web consists of text for a significant part, but also of pictures, drawings, video, animations, music, voice, etc. These media can just stand independently from each other, like a movie or a song that can be played for itself, but the multimedia documents we consider in our research are compound documents that tightly integrate pieces of information from different media. In these multimedia documents, the various components have to be choreographed to make sense as a whole.
Devices also are multiple. The workstation or personal computer that was typically used in the early days of the Web is no longer the dominant access device. In Japan, for instance, more cell phones than PCs are now used to access the Web. TV sets are also following this trend. Recent developments in the TV industry clearly show the convergence between television and the Web. Web users can watch at TV programs on their desktops while TV sets can be used to access Web sites. The digital television technology is borrowing more and more techniques from the Web, such as XML, for instance. The automotive industry is also developing embedded devices that provide access to the Web. The Web is ubiquitous and all sorts of devices with very different capabilities are involved in Web access.
Simultaneously, these devices are using new kinds of networks, ranging from personal networks such as Bluetooth to the global Internet. In the broad range of communication technologies, wireless and mobile networks (UMTS, WiFi) are taking an increasing part. Their original features make a big change from the traditional wired Internet and have a strong impact on the way information is exchanged over the Web.