Heading into new virtual environments: What skills do design team members need?

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Sher, W ; Sherratt, S ; Williams, A ; Gameson, RN
  • Publisher: ITcon

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is increasingly being integrated in the design and management of construction projects. Not only are sophisticated electronic tools being widely used to help construction professionals design and manage buildings - ICT is assisting these people to work in virtual, collaborative electronic environments. As a result there is a trend to move from co-located to virtual team collaboration. The operational differences inherent in these environments and their impact on the generic skills of design professionals are the basis of the research reported here. We developed a generic skills coding framework for the activities of designers working in virtual teams. We then audio and video recorded designers working in teams designing different buildings and analysed the resulting data using our generic skills framework. We identified changes in the skills profiles of design team members between different operational states (low bandwidth-high bandwidth). The major conclusion of our analysis is that there are significant differences between the operational conditions: face-to-face, whiteboard and 3D virtual world, for the generic skills profiles.
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