From: Final Report MAID - Multimedia Assets for Industrial Design
Editors: Tom Evans and Carme Buisan
MAID was faced with the challenge to design, test and demonstrate a range of high level Information Services for the industrial design sector, aimed at improving the competitiveness of the design-based industries and professions. The project team believed that the use of telematic technology could improve the quality of the design process, and had the potential to increase competitiveness by reducing the time to market.
MAID set out to develop two main groups of services, with a common area of operational overlap and scalable access architecture. These services were based on the conceptual models of a 'Design Information Centre' and a 'Design Services Centre'. From the outset, the team envisaged the Design Information Centre as a networked multimedia database allowing interactive access to specialised information for industrial design. This would store and deliver to the remote user's desktop digital information of all kinds - including text, sound, video, simulations, still images, 3D and 2D graphics - of the types required by the industrial design community to support current and future work.
The second major element of MAID - the Design Services Centre - was conceived as providing a range of advanced services that had been recognised as highly desirable, but which were not currently available within a stand-alone desktop PC environment. These services fall into two main categories; remote execution, and collaborative work. The Design Services Centre would allow SME design companies remotely to use high-end hardware and software tools they cannot afford to own, and to control them from their desk-top PCs.
The Project successfully built, tested and demonstrated a series of prototypes for the Design Services Centre and the Design Information Centre and a final demonstrator that integrates the two into an apparently seamless environment.
The choice of database and search engine was governed by the needs for an available, proven system that offered fast, free-text search, and was fully Internet compatible. Index+ was identified before the start of the project as meeting all these needs. The inclusion of System Simulation Ltd (the creators of Index+) in the consortium ensured that the system could be tailored to MAID's specific needs.
Overall project management and co-ordination was provided by Centre for International Technology and Education (CITE), London College of Printing, UK.