Today’s mobile devices increasingly support more than just one modality.
In fact, almost all current mobile terminals, be it a phone or a PDA,
come with a microphone, a speaker and a graphical display. Yet there
exist few applications on mobile terminals that can use several modalities
in a flexible manner, even though the generally small screen and the
frequent change of context means that a multimodal user interface
would be of great benefit to the user.
There are several reasons for this lack of multimodal applications.
First of all, today’s 2G mobile networks and devices encounter problems
when transmitting data and voice simultaneously. Second, it is difficult
to create user interfaces due to the multitude of devices and their
different capabilities, and finally creating a multimodal interface
is more difficult than designing for voice or graphics alone.
The first problem was relieved by GPRS and will be fully solved in
the 3G systems emerging now. This project deals with the other two
problems by relieving the application from having to adapt the user
interface to specific devices and modalities.
At the core of the MONA project is the concept of multimodality. A
modality is a way to convey information between the user and a user
interface of an application, using a single distinct human capability
to process information. The MONA server supports the modalities speech,
text, graphics and non-speech audio.
MONA Presentation Server
The MONA presentation enables a new class of mobile applications providing
powerful and flexible user interfaces on a wide range of networked
devices in a telecom network. A carrier or third-party service provider
who deploys the MONA presentation server can deliver end-user services
that combine speech and visual interface techniques for single-user
or multi-user applications. MONA applications offer a unique and recognisable
user experience that combines several familiar user interface paradigms.
One Implementation for All Devices
Developers of a MONA application provide a single implementation of
their user interface. The MONA presentation server then renders a
sophisticated multi-modal user interface on devices as different as
low-end WAP-phones, Symbian-based smartphones, or PocketPC PDAs. Support
for other devices could be added to the server easily on customer
demand. The applications do not need to be updated.