Media Fusion Environment
A 3D collaborative workspace for increasingly complex data
Media Fusion was a project to turn data into insight and provide powerful, flexible immersive collaborative workspaces that would amplify our ability to process increasingly complex data and facilitate global collaboration at a new level of sophistication.
I conceived Media Fusion back in 2003 to address several emerging issues that were starting to hinder our ability to manage increasingly complex and diverse flow of data resulting from the digital revolution and big data. This was summarised in a white paper, ‘Sinking in a Sea of Pixels - The Case for Media Fusion’, which I presented at a visualisation conference at the University of Illinois.
Two of the key issues identified were that:
Media Fusion was a devised as a flexible framework and scalable architecture to address these issues and enable organisations to quickly build and deploy extremely powerful virtual workspaces in 3D to manage increasingly complex data workflows and enable a new level of collaboration between users and across geographies.
Unlike traditional information walls, which are configured to work with 2D windows and are typically bespoke, Media Fusion enabled information to be organised and accessed in a 3D virtual ‘Landscape’ which provided a collaborative environment for advanced decision making and information analysis. Everything in the landscape was configurable and controllable by users regardless of platform.
Because Media Fusion was software based it could be deployed on standard hardware platforms, enabling it to work easily on a wide range of environments ranging from large scale collaboration suites to mobile platforms. A key aspect was that all of these platforms could interoperate regardless of complexity.
Media Fusion also pioneered the concept of ’smart data streams’, where instead of just displaying pixels, collaborative spaces would behave in an intelligent way, prompting and alerting users to significant developments and self-organise themselves to enable rapid and effective analysis, decision making and action.
A fully operational Media Fusion software platform was developed in 2004 by a small team at SGI, led by David Hughes, and was subsequently delivered to a number of key clients around the world, including Astra Zeneca, Halliburton and the US Air Force Research Labs. Media Fusion was also used by the Boeing aircraft company for a demonstration of collaborative workflow in a Boeing 777 quality control scenario at the Supercomputing conference in 2005 in Seattle in partnership with SGI and Intel.
A number of key patents were filed (and granted) by David Hughes in this area to further enhance this solution.
Video of Media Fusion in action
- Media Fusion started as a 'skunk works' project with minimal funding - starting with an idea conceived by David Hughes.
- After pulling together a core prototyping team, a Proof of Concept was developed and presented to the entire Corporate Management team and European Sales force at a major event in Budapest.
- It was received with a standing ovation and senior management sanctioned the formation of a product group to develop Media Fusion as an SGI flagship product.
- Media Fusion was demonstrated on stage on SGI booths at SIGGRAPH and the Supercomputing conference in Seattle, partnering with Intel and Boeing using Media Fusion as a communication and collaboration platform for an aircraft maintenance scenario.
- 4 patents were filed (and granted) by David Hughes as part of the development.
- Media Fusion went on to be delivered to a number of customers in the areas of defence, oil and gas and pharmaceuticals.