ITN newscaster Trevor McDonald and "education superhighway" advocate Karl Chapman will give public lectures at next week's Mediacomm 95 conference in Southampton, which also includes a multimedia applications seminar presented by the Open University and sponsored by The THES.
In other public lectures, Geoff Vincent of Online Media will demonstrate the interactive television service now on trial in Cambridge, and Mary Callaghan of the software company Oracle will show how a combination of technologies can deliver home shopping and entertainment on demand.
The conference, exhibition and workshops will bring academics together with people from the broadcasting, computing, telecommunications and electronics industries. The common thread is an interest in the future of multimedia communications. This year has seen dozens of conferences on "information superhighway" themes, but few have attempted to involve the general public, including students.
Sa'ad Medhat, vice chairman of the Mediacomm conference said: "I think what is different is that it embraces the public, the media and the practitioners as well as industrialists and academics".
Professor Medhat is head of the school of electronics at Bournemouth University. He believes multimedia technology has an important economic role in streamlining manufacturing and business processes. "The use of multimedia will increase not only the quality of products but the speed and efficiency of delivery of the product or service," he said.
Keynote speakers include Peter Cochrane, head of advanced technologies at BT research laboratories and Wendy Hall, whose team at Southampton University developed the Microcosm multimedia information management system. At the technical conference researchers from many east and west European countries as well as Algeria, Canada, Russia and the United States will present papers.
Hands-on workshops will introduce relative novices to the Internet and the technology of interactive CDs.
The seminar on multimedia applications, sponsored by The THES, will be presented on Tuesday morning and again on Wednesday afternoon. Joel Greenberg and Dave Meara of the Open University's educational software group will use examples from higher education to illustrate the potential of multimedia technology. They will show how audio, video, text and graphics are combined on CD-Roms to create exciting and productive learning environments for students, including those with special needs.
The OU, which pioneered electronic distance learning in the United Kingdom, has several groups exploring the potential of new technologies such as multimedia, mobile computing and the Internet.
Mediacomm 95 will be held on April 11-12 at the DeVere Grand Harbour Hotel, Southampton. For information contact EPIC Event Management on 01202 546289, fax 01202 533049, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The THES will be at Mediacomm 95 on exhibition stand 10.