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Marco FURINI

Professore Ordinario
Dipartimento di Comunicazione ed Economia


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Pubblicazioni

2022 - A Predictive Method to Improve the Effectiveness of Twitter Communication in a Cultural Heritage Scenario [Articolo su rivista]
Furini, Marco; Mandreoli, Federica; Martoglia, Riccardo; Montangero, Manuela
abstract

Museums are embracing social technologies in an attempt to broaden their audience and to engage people. Although social communication seems an easy task, media managers know how hard it is to reach millions of people with a simple message. Indeed, millions of posts are competing every day to get visibility in terms of likes and shares and very little research focused on museums communication to identify best practices. In this article, we focus on Twitter and we propose a novel method that exploits interpretable machine learning techniques to: (a) predict whether a tweet will likely be appreciated by Twitter users or not; (b) present simple suggestions that will help to enhance the message and increase the probability of its success. Using a real-world dataset of around 40,000 tweets written by 23 world famous museums, we show that our proposed method allows identifying tweet features that are more likely to influence the tweet success.


2022 - Digital Twins and Artificial Intelligence as Pillars of Personalized Learning Models [Articolo su rivista]
Furini, Marco; Gaggi, Ombretta; Mirri, Silvia; Montangero, Manuela; Pelle, Elvira; Poggi, Francesco; Prandi, Catia
abstract

Modern educational systems have not really evolved enough to meet the needs of modern students.21 No wonder, the percentage of dropouts from university studies is quite high (40% in the U.S. and 10% in Europe7,9). The university student profile has changed over the years. While yesterday's students were mainly full-time, today's students face challenges such as work commitments, family obligations, financial constraints, physical impairments, and learning models that do not adequately engage students or help them understand core concepts.11 One might think that this issue concerns only those who fail to complete their studies, but this is view is shortsighted. Today's educational system deficiencies will affect the welfare of tomorrow's society.


2022 - On Designing a Time Sensitive Interaction Graph to Identify Twitter Opinion Leaders [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Furini, M.; Mariotti, L.; Martoglia, R.; Montangero, M.
abstract

What happened on social media during the recent pandemic? Who was the opinion leader of the conversations? Who influenced whom? Were they medical doctors, ordinary people, scientific experts? Did health institutions play an important role in informing and updating citizens? Identifying opinion leaders within social platforms is of particular importance and, in this paper, we introduce the idea of a time sensitive interaction graph to identify opinion leaders within Twitter conversations. To evaluate our proposal, we focused on all the tweets posted on Twitter in the period 2020-21 and we considered just the ones that were Italian-written and were related to COVID-19. After mapping these tweets into the graph, we applied the PageRank algorithm to extract the opinion leaders of these conversations. Results show that our approach is effective in identifying opinion leaders and therefore it might be used to monitor the role that specific accounts (i.e., health authorities, politicians, city administrators) have within specific conversations.


2021 - Automatic and smart content transformation of video lectures [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Furini, M.
abstract

The lockdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has forced many educational institutions around the world to produce video lectures in order to support their students. A popular approach was to produce video lectures with a generic layout without considering neither the type of student nor the type of device used by the student. This approach complicated the learning process (e.g., students equipped with mobile devices and limited bandwidth connections have been forced to watch video produced for large screens and infinite bandwidth availability). In this paper, we investigate if it is possible to automatically transform the original video lecture to produce smartphone suitable videos and we involve students to understand the viewing experience. We consider the video lectures available within the ONELab University video lecture catalog and we design five different heuristics based on the semantic analysis of the video lectures. The experimental evaluation considers both the quantitative and qualitative aspects and the obtained results show that it is possible to save more than 90% of the bandwidth while maintaining a viewing experience equals to the one of the original video lectures.


2021 - Automatic and user-tailored playlist sequencing [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Furini, M.; D'Arcangelo, S.
abstract

Social technologies have revolutionized the world of music and playlists have become the new radios. However, the production of playlists has been mainly focused on identifying the songs that the listener might like, disregarding the songs sequencing process. In this paper, we propose a highly user-oriented sequencing method. The idea is to use the user's listening history to identify a possible sequencing criterion used by the user when playing out songs. The proposed method is then evaluated with real users and results showed the importance of personalization in the playlist sequencing process. Although the study is still in its early stage, results are promising and, in the future, we plan to personalize the sequencing process even more.


2021 - Automatic music playlist generation based on music-programming of FM radios [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Furini, M.
abstract

Streaming music services are flooding their platforms with thousands of different playlists and this huge catalog is backfiring users who struggle to find the playlist that best suits their needs. In this paper, we aim to facilitate the music listening by designing a novel approach to automatically generate a playlist suited to the user's musical taste. Our approach is based on the FM radio music programming: starting from the user's favorite radio, we analyze seven days of music programming, we transform songs into vectors of audio features, we generate a music programming for a virtual day, and we transform this virtual day music programming into a real playlist when the user begins the music playout.


2021 - Effects of an experimental online education support on lectures fruition and teaching effectiveness [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Martini, Maria Cristiana; Furini, Marco; Galli, Giovanna
abstract

In this paper, we describe and discuss the implementation, the effects, and the consequences of an experimental service designed to capture, record, edit and stream video lectures. This service, named ONELab, is operating since September 2017 at the Department of Communication and Economics of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia to support the courses offered by the six degree programs available at the Department. Before the pandemic emergency, traditional face-to-face classes were regularly held, but ONELab was intended to provide flexibility to the educational contents (i.e., no time and geographical constraints) and to improve the students' learning process. The usage analyses show that, when given the opportunity, students tend to customise the learning process to their needs and life-style, with a large quote of usage in the late afternoon/night hours and during the week-ends. Video lectures are watched mostly during the teaching semester, but a significant part of students resort to watch them when the semester is over. The number, frequency and variety of accesses allow to describe different styles of usage, and students who use ONELab show better achievements, both in terms of acquired credits and in terms of grades, than those who never accessed the system. Moreover, some usage styles can help predicting the risk of dropout, signaling students who should be furtherly supported in order to prevent them from abandoning their studies.


2021 - Identifying the features of ProVax and NoVax groups from social media conversations [Articolo su rivista]
Furini, M.
abstract

Different studies state that doubts and fears posted on social media are making people hesitant towards vaccines and this hesitancy causes people to post doubts and fears. To break this vicious circle, we propose a method based on psycho-linguistics and time-domain analyses of social media conversations that talk about vaccines and vaccinations. The idea is to identify psycho-linguistics signals of distrust towards vaccines in order to help health authorities to restore the trust toward vaccines. The method allows the implementation of a well-known strategy used in marketing to restore the trust towards a brand when negative comments are posted on social media. The proposal has been evaluated using a two-year Facebook dataset composed of more than 170 thousand posts written by ProVax and NoVax people. The obtained results show that our method might be helpful to define a crisis communication plan to get people to trust vaccines, vaccinations and healthcare institutions again.


2021 - On using conversational interfaces to improve the accessibility of a university campus [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Furini, M.; Mirrit, S.; Montangero, M.; Pecorelli, M.; Prandi, C.
abstract

Moving around a university campus may seem an activity of little importance: students are young, they walk and run without problems, with a simple glance they know where they are and where to go, they understand where a lesson is held, when a teacher is available or where to go when they are hungry. Activities that millions of students do every day. But what about students with some form of physical impairments? For them, moving around a university campus is a daily challenge. Can conversational interfaces improve the accessibility of a University campus? is the research question we address in this study. We involved students (with and without disabilities) in the development and evaluation of a skill for the Amazon Alexa platform. Results show that conversational interfaces are highly appreciated by most of the participants and confirm that such interfaces might improve the daily experience of users within a university campus.


2021 - On using video lectures data usage to predict university students dropout [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Furini, M.; Galli, G.; Martini, M. C.
abstract

Technologies have changed many different aspects of people's life and the recent CoVid-19 pandemic proved that education is not an exception. But technologies in education go beyond the simple use of video lectures: technologies might be exploited to improve personal learning. In this paper, we focus on the dropout of studies, a global phenomenon that artificial intelligence techniques are trying to ameliorate. Here, we investigate whether data related to the consumption of video lectures might improve the students' dropout prediction. We consider first-year students enrolled in our Department and we characterize them with personal, scholastic, academic and technological features. Then, we measure the performance of three machine learning algorithms in terms of accuracy and sensitivity. The experimental evaluation shows that Random Forest and KNN perform better that Decision Tree and also shows that data related to the use of video lectures improves the prediction performance for some degree programs (reaching 73% in terms of accuracy and sensitivity). These preliminary results show that the approach is promising and worth exploring in future studies.


2020 - An Online Education System to Produce and Distribute Video Lectures [Articolo su rivista]
Furini, Marco; Galli, Giovanna; Martini, Maria Cristiana
abstract

Nowadays, the term “student” embraces people with different needs and lifestyles (e.g., people with part-time or full-time jobs, people with some forms of disabilities, etc.) and, in the attempt to reach out to these students, many educational institutes are recording and releasing classroom lessons. In this paper, we share our experience building ONELab, a system designed to capture, record, edit and stream video lectures. ONELab was designed to provide flexibility to educational contents (i.e., no time and geographical constraints) and to improve the students’ learning process. Moreover, the system had to be scalable and cost-effective. The system has been used in the 2017-18 Academic Year to manage the 49 courses offered by the five-degree programs available at our Department. In numbers, it supported 1,251 students and produced 1,376 video lectures (for a total of 2,064 hours). The usage analysis showed that students want to adapt the learning process to their lifestyle and showed that students who used ONELab acquired more credits (+119%) and had better grades (+9.4%) than those who did not use the system.


2020 - Can IoT Wearable Devices Feed Frugal Innovation? [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Furini, M.; Mirri, S.; Montangero, M.; Prandi, C.
abstract

Recently, there has been a lot of talk about Frugal services, that is, services that use existing technologies for a purpose other than the one for which they were designed. In this paper, we study whether the IoT wearable environment can be a fertile ground for the production of Frugal services. Through a real-world study, we investigate whether these devices are widespread, if there are obstacles that limit their diffusion, if the sensors they are equipped with are deemed reliable and, finally, if people who own them have an altruistic propensity or not. The results, from the frugal point of view, are encouraging: the IoT wearable environment seems to be pervasive enough and ubiquitous, without great obstacles for their adoption. The provided sensors seem to be generally reliable, whereas the altruistic propensity might be questioned: in general, people are not inclined to share, but if the goal is clear (in our case we hypothesized a fight against Covid-19), altruistic propensity grows a lot.


2020 - Conversational Interfaces for a Smart Campus: A Case Study [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Bortoli, M.; Furini, M.; Mirri, S.; Montangero, M.; Prandi, C.
abstract

The spoken language is the most natural interface for a human being and, thanks to the scientific-technological advances made in recent decades, nowadays we have voice assistance devices to interact with a machine through the use of natural language. Vocal user interfaces (VUI) are now included in many technological devices, such as desktop and laptop computers, smartphones and tablets, navigators, and home speakers, being welcomed by the market. The use of voice assistants can also be interesting and strategic in educational contexts and in public environments. This paper presents a case study based on the design, development, and assessment of a prototype devoted to assist students' during their daily activities in a smart campus context.


2020 - Do Conversational Interfaces Kill Web Accessibility? [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Furini, M.; Mirri, S.; Montangero, M.; Prandi, C.
abstract

Conversational interfaces are making web accessibility studies obsolete. Long-time has passed since the introduction of graphical interfaces. They revolutionized the way people used the computer. The desktop metaphor popularized and made easy access to the software but did not consider the specific needs of people with some form of sight and/or motion impairments. Accessibility, at that time, was a minor issue. The web changed everything and empathized the need to include people. Researchers from around the world began working on accessibility, which is still an issue on the agenda of many scientific labs. Despite this, we observe that today, with the diffusion of conversational interfaces, there is less need to bother about colors, fonts, size and many other visual features. Indeed, people might access to web contents through voice interaction. No need to see the graphic interface or to use input devices requiring the use of hands. The voice is everything you need, and accessibility has never been easier. Conversational interfaces are about to revolutionize accessibility and in this provocative paper, we show benefits, problems, and open issues that happen when these interfaces meet accessibility requirements.


2020 - Editorial: Smart Objects and Technologies [Articolo su rivista]
Furini, Marco; Mirri, Silvia; Bouchard, Kevin; Bujari, Armir
abstract

Smart objects are entering everyday life and are heavily modifying it. Healthcare, communication, art, entertainment, safety, environment, education, democracy, and human rights, are just a few examples of scenarios that are radically changing thanks to the use of smart objects and technologies. In this context, the popularity of portable computing devices, such as smartphones, tablets, or smart watches combined with the emergence of many other small smart objects with computational, sensing and communication capabilities coupled with the popularity of social networks and new human-technology interaction paradigms is creating unprecedented opportunities for each of us to do something useful, ranging from a single person to the whole world. Furthermore, Internet of Things, Smart-cities, distributed sensing and Fog computing are representative examples of modern ICT paradigms that aim to describe a dynamic and globally cooperative infrastructure built upon objects intelligence and self-configuring capabilities. These connected objects are finding their way into our pockets, vehicles, urban areas and infrastructure, thus becoming the very texture of our society and providing us the possibility, but also the responsibility, to shape it.


2020 - On improving the engagement between viewers and TV commercials through gamification [Articolo su rivista]
Furini, M.; De Michele, R.
abstract

TV advertisements are less and less watched as most viewers turn their attention to the smartphone during commercial breaks. Therefore, broadcasters are facing a novel challenge: how to improve the engagement between viewers and TV commercials. In this paper, we investigate whether gamification can be a winning strategy. Indeed, despite some strategies that have recently been proposed (e.g., cross-media, use of specific mobile software), an effective approach to improve the engagement between viewers and TV commercials is yet to be found. We designed a game that involves the commercial break and the smartphone: during each TV advertisement, a simple question (e.g., “What was the color of the car?”) appears on-screen and the answer must be given through a special smartphone app. A player earns points if she answers exactly, otherwise she loses points. Results obtained from two different experimental assessment (within-subjects and between-subjects) revealed that a well-designed gamification strategy improves the marketing memorability (i.e., a measure of engagement) from 44% (no game elements) to 75% (with game elements). Therefore, gamification might be exploited by broadcasters and advertisers to improve the engagement between viewers and TV commercials.


2020 - On the Usage of Smart Speakers during the Covid-19 Coronavirus Lockdown [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Furini, M.; Mirri, S.; Montangero, M.; Prandi, C.
abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed every aspect of our professional and private life. It forced us to stay at home and it gave unprecedented power to technology. In this paper we focus on the emerging technology of smart speakers (e.g., Amazon Echo Plus, Google Home, etc.) and, through a developed questionnaire, we investigate how people use these devices. In particular, we analyze whether the human behavior has been affected by availability of these smart speaker. Results showed that the usage of these devices did not increase during lockdown, but it highlighted the presence of some privacy issues that might represent a burden to the diffusion of this type of technology.


2020 - Privacy Perception when Using Smartphone Applications [Articolo su rivista]
Furini, M.; Mirri, S.; Montangero, M.; Prandi, C.
abstract

Our smartphone is full of applications and data that analytically organize, facilitate and describe our lives. We install applications for the most varied reasons, to inform us, to have fun and for work, but, unfortunately, we often install them without reading the terms and conditions of use. The result is that our privacy is increasingly at risk. Considering this scenario, in this paper, we analyze the user’s perception towards privacy while using smartphone applications. In particular, we formulate two different hypotheses: 1) the perception of privacy is influenced by the knowledge of the data used by the installed applications; 2) applications access to much more data than they need. The study is based on two questionnaires (within-subject experiments with 200 volunteers) and on the lists of installed apps (30 volunteers). Results show a widespread abuse of data related to location, personal contacts, camera, Wi-Fi network list, running apps list, and vibration. An in-depth analysis shows that some features are more relevant to certain groups of users (e.g., adults are mainly worried about contacts and Wi-Fi connection lists; iOS users are sensitive to smartphone vibration; female participants are worried about possible misuse of the smartphone camera).


2020 - Untangling between fake-news and truth in social media to understand the Covid-19 Coronavirus [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Furini, M.; Mirri, S.; Montangero, M.; Prandi, C.
abstract

"Covid-19 is a virus developed to rule the world"is just one of the many fake-news published on the Web. In this pandemic period, the Web is flooded with real news, allegedly true or blatantly false. To understand how fake news is affecting the Covid-19 perception, we selected 40 news (either true or fake) related to the origin, diffusion, treatment and effects of Covid-19 and we asked 293 volunteers to express their opinion on the truthfulness of the news. Then, we propose an Awareness index to compute knowledge degree of the volunteers. The results highlight a large ignorance on medical news, ignorance that goes beyond educational background. The study highlights the need for Health Institution to enter social media platforms in order to clearly explain what is true and what is false on Covid-19.


2019 - 1st International workshop on social media sensing (SMS'19): message from the workshop chairs [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Furini, M.; Mirri, S.
abstract


2019 - Automated Generation of User-Tailored and Time-Sensitive Music Playlists [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Furini, Marco; Martini, Jessica; Montangero, Manuela
abstract

Streaming music platforms have changed the way people listen to music. Today, we can access to millions of songs with a simple internet-connected device. The drawback is that the selection of what to listen is a long, tedious, ant time-consuming process. This is why, nowadays, we choose playlists instead of songs. Unfortunately, since there are thousands of playlists, the selection process can once again be long, tedious, and time-consuming. In this paper, we design a system to facilitate the listening and discovering of new music. The system automatically generates user-tailored and time-sensitive music playlists and proposes a single playlist to play when the user accesses to a music platform. The system understands the user's listening habits by analyzing the low-level features of songs recently played by the user and by using two different clustering algorithms. A novel designed method uses these data to produce a playlist that expands the user's musical knowledge keeping in mind that a good playlist must contain a mix of new and known music and artists. An implementation based on the Spotify API proved the effectiveness of the approach and showed that the proposal might provide benefits to both users (no time wasted to select what to play) and to music platforms (playing of music that otherwise would remain unknown to users).


2019 - Crowd-sensing Images to Understand Citizens' Emotions, Issues and Interests [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
De Michele, R.; Furini, M.; Montangero, M.
abstract

Many studies are beginning to gather data with a crowd-sensing approach in order to understand citizens' opinions and thoughts, because these data are more and more crucial for the smart management of a city. So far, the focus is mainly on textual data, but recent approaches revealed the wealth of information that can be found in multimedia contents. In this paper, we propose a crowd-sensing approach that exploits the popularity and the pervasiveness of the Instagram application to understand citizens emotions, issues and interests. The idea is to map the colors of the images into a psychological emotional model and to measure the significance of the words used in the caption of the images. Results showed that the use of the visual contents might be misleading, due to the large use of image filters that alter the real contents of the images, but also disclosed that captions might give insights about citizens that can be very useful to smartly manage a city.


2019 - Diabetes: What are Italian twitter users talking about? [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Ferretti, S.; Furini, M.; Montangero, M.
abstract

Social media are nowadays used by people to talk about any kind of topic, either private or not, and among others health problems. Concerning health, on social media one can find large communities discussing about chronic diseases. Here people look for advise, information, support, and so on. In this paper we take into consideration the Italian Twitter community interested in diabetes, a chronic blood disease. Our aim is to understand which are the main conversation topics in this community. Thus, we analyzed about 9K tweets written in Italian that contained the world diabete (diabetes) and performed both a hashtag analysis and a lexicon analysis, the latter by means of ad-hoc dictionaries. Results show that this is a calm community interested into several distinct topics (e.g., disease related information gathering, recipes for diabetes patients, fundraising campaigns), none of which is really predominant over the others.


2019 - Gamification and Accessibility [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Furini, Marco; Mirri, Silvia; Montangero, Manuela
abstract

Many different environments are looking at gamification to improve education, business, tourism, smart-cities management, etc. Despite its popularity, and despite the availability of many studies that propose approaches to transform a non-game activity into a game, a gamification strategy guideline is missing. Usually, the proposed methods are too general to be effective (e.g., simple rules, incentive mechanisms such as scores or vague prizes). In a society where algorithms personalize everything, and where people with different impairments (either technological or physical) are present, it is important to also understand peoples preferences in terms of games. In this paper, through a questionnaire filled by 22 people, we show that the game preferences (rules, mechanics, focus, motivations, and gaming environment) are assistive-technology dependent. These preferences can be used to customize the gamification process and therefore the study might be helpful to develop effective gamification strategies.


2019 - IoT Healthcare: Benefits, issues and challenges [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
De Michele, R.; Furini, M.
abstract

A sportsman's watch no longer marks the time, but it also provides information on the geographical location, on the number of steps, on the heart rate, on the blood oxygenation, on the blood pressure, etc. The bracelet of an elderly person can measure different physiological signals and can transmit them in real time to her doctor, allowing him to monitor the state of health even if the two are not in the same place. Thanks to the implementation and use of sensors, watches and bracelets have become smart objects. It is the world of the Internet of things that enters the health sector and fills the shelves of electronic stores with objects that can monitor our bodies. A market sector that is worth billions of dollars, but that has several implications along with its benefits. What happens to our data? Who has access to our data? Is it possible to cyber-attack these devices? Is our behavior influenced by reading this data? These are some of the questions that arise from the use of IoT devices in the health sector and in this paper we will address them by analyzing this scenario in detail, by highlighting threats and vulnerabilities and by proposing approaches that might mitigate issues related to the use of IoT in the health scenario.


2019 - On helping broadcasters to promote TV-shows through hashtags [Articolo su rivista]
De Michele, Roberta; Ferretti, Stefano; Furini, Marco
abstract

Television is no longer the king of the living room: 86% of people watch TV with a second screen in the nearby and more than 30% of the attention time is given to the second device to perform social activities. Therefore, the television industry is facing a new challenge: find a way to re-catch viewers’ attention. A recent and popular approach considers the use of official hashtags to implement a cross-media strategy that will connect different contents across multiple media. Since the simple proposition of official hashtags is not sufficient to guarantee the success of a cross media strategy, in this paper, we analyze how official hashtags are used and we propose a model to write tweets effectively. The model is based on the analysis of more than 250,000 tweets that talk about TV-shows. In particular, (i) we analyze the availability and visibility of official hashtags, (ii) we study the tweets characteristics written by the most retweeted authors, and (iii) we build a network of hashtags in order to understand how users use official hashtags. The obtained results allowed us to define guidelines to help broadcasters in the promotion of TV-shows and in the engagement of viewers.


2019 - On predicting the success of political tweets using psycho-linguistic categories [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Furini, M.; Montangero, M.
abstract

Politics is increasingly influenced by Twitter communications and more and more politicians are using this platform to keep in touch with their electorate or to make proselytes. However, an effective communication is not easy to obtain and many studies are trying to identify strategies able to produce successful tweets. Day and time of publication, presence or absence of hashtags and images are some metrics used to define a communication strategy, but in this paper we propose a novel approach. Our idea is to describe tweets through novel psycho-linguistic categories (e.g. immigrants, security, kindness, etc.) and to use these categories as features to predict the success of political tweets. Through the observation of tweets posted over the last year by an Italian politician, very active and popular in the social scenario, we analyze two different machine learning approaches (i.e., Decision Tree and K-Neighbors) to predict the success of a tweet. The results obtained show that it is possible to achieve a prediction accuracy of 76%, thus showing the importance of the proposed psycho-linguistic categories to characterize tweets in the political context.


2019 - Privacy perception and user behavior in the mobile ecosystem [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Furini, M.; Mirri, S.; Montangero, M.; Prandi, C.
abstract

Smartphones contain a myriad of personal information and, due to their ubiquity and the possibility to access the Internet through wireless networks, our privacy might be constantly at risk. In this study, we formulate two hypotheses: (H1) users ignore the relationship between authorization requests and privacy and this lack of knowledge affects their perception towards privacy; (H2) users install applications that access sensitive data that are not necessary for their correct functioning. To investigate H1, we developed a questionnaire and we submitted it to 150 volunteers using a within subject approach where the controlled variable is the knowledge about possible abuses of smartphone data. Results show that ignorance influences the privacy perception. To investigate H2, we analyzed more than 800 apps installed on the smartphone of 30 volunteers and we found a widespread abuse of data related to location, contacts, camera, Wi-Fi network list, running apps list, and vibration. The outcome reveals that some features are more relevant to groups of users with specific characteristics, e.g., adults are mainly worried about contacts and Wi-Fi, iOS users are sensitive to the smartphone vibration, female participants are worried about possible misuse of the smartphone camera, to list a few. By identifying such features, our study might be considered the first step towards a more secure smartphone usage, as such features might work as expedients to attract users’ attention on privacy issues.


2019 - ViDi: Virtual Director of Video Lectures [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Furini, Marco
abstract

Many educational institutes are making lecture recordings widely available to improve the students' learning experience, but the viewing experience is quite poor (e.g., fixed camera pointed to the classroom and/or slideshow). This can jeopardize the benefits of the learning process based on video lectures. In this paper, we propose Virtual Director, a system designed to improve the viewing experience through an automated direction of video lectures. Virtual Director captures the classroom scenario, understands the semantic content of the lecture and produces a video with a layout that changes according to the semantic content and according to movie theory rules. A prototype, developed with off-the-shelf technologies, shows the feasibility of the approach and a preliminary evaluation confirmed that Virtual Director might improve the viewing experience of video lectures.


2019 - Viewer-Tailored Advertising for Video on Demand Platforms [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Michele, Roberta De; Furini, Marco
abstract

Viewers consider tailored advertising more interesting and less irritating than traditional commercials, but to produce this type of advertising it is necessary to have information about the viewer and about the context where to place the advertisement. This knowledge is quite easy to get within the Web scenario, but it is not in VoD platforms. In this paper, we propose a system to produce viewer-tailored advertising in common VoD systems by using information about viewers, commercials and programs. By using closed-captions, we show that it is possible to develop a system able to provide highly personalized advertising without requiring heavy changes to current VoD systems. An evaluation of the system shows that viewers appreciate the proposal. Therefore, VoD platforms might use the proposed approach to provide viewer-tailored advertising.


2018 - 5 steps to make art museums tweet influentially [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Furini, Marco; Mandreoli, Federica; Martoglia, Riccardo; Montangero, Manuela
abstract

A growing number of museums has started using social networks as different forms of engagement that can act outside museum architectural bounds. Specifically, museum leaders are praising Twitter as a necessary tool to any online programming or presence in museums today. Nevertheless, using Twitter in a satisfactory way so to increase museums' influence is not an easy task and there has been a gap between its usage and the possibilities it represents. In this paper, we propose an easily understandable framework to analyze the key content factors in museum conversations, including novel formulas for the evaluation of tweets and Twitter accounts influence. We apply the framework to a dataset of 100,000 messages related to 26 museum accounts to understand which museum is more influential in writing tweets, and which features have more impact on the influence of a tweet. Finally, we propose 5 key steps that museums can perform in order to write more influential tweets.


2018 - Comunicazioni Multimediali. Fondamenti di informatica per la produzione e la gestione di flussi audio-video nella rete Internet [Monografia/Trattato scientifico]
Furini, Marco
abstract

Negli ultimi anni il modo di comunicare è completamente cambiato. Abbiamo assistito in poco tempo a una rapida e impressionante crescita nell'utilizzo di contenuti basati su informazioni multimediali come immagini, audio e video. Tali contenuti sono diventati i protagonisti indiscussi delle comunicazioni prodotte da mass media, aziende, amministrazioni pubbliche, scuole e università, operatori dell'intrattenimento, enti turistici, fondazioni, ONG... Malgrado questo vasto fenomeno abbia radicalmente modificato le modalità di veicolazione dei contenuti, siamo spesso spettatori di comunicazioni che non comunicano o, peggio ancora, di comunicazioni che penalizzano il contenuto informativo. Infatti, se da un lato i progressi scientifico-tecnologici ci hanno messo a disposizione applicazioni software sempre più semplici da utilizzare e quindi hanno facilitato il processo di produzione, dall'altro si è diffuso enormemente il rischio di un loro utilizzo errato, inefficace, quando non del tutto improprio: video a quadretti, audio incomprensibile, immagini in bassa risoluzione, video troppo piccoli per essere visti su una televisione oppure troppo "pesanti" per essere scaricati sullo smartphone, immagini troppo grandi per lo schermo del telefonino, audio di ottima qualità che consuma tutto il piano tariffario sono alcuni dei problemi che si possono presentare quando chi produce la comunicazione ignora le caratteristiche fondamentali delle informazioni multimediali. Questo libro, rivolto in primo luogo a quegli studenti che saranno chiamati a occuparsi nel prossimo futuro proprio di comunicazione, si focalizza sulla produzione e sulla trasmissione all'interno della rete Internet dei contenuti multimediali, due processi critici la cui importanza viene spesso sottovalutata. Particolare attenzione verrà rivolta ad alcuni fondamenti di informatica necessari a comprendere concetti basilari per la comunicazione in ambiente digitale, come, per esempio, la differenza tra bit e byte o quella tra GIF e JPEG, il significato di acronimi come fps o MP3, la relazione tra frequenza di campionamento e qualità sonora, ma anche l'importanza dei modelli psico-acustici e psico-visivi. Inoltre, centrale sarà l'analisi delle modalità di trasmissione dei contenuti multimediali nella rete Internet. Il percorso, costruito attraverso 11 capitoli, consentirà di comprendere le fondamenta necessarie per produrre efficaci comunicazioni multimediali.


2018 - Entertainment for Serious Purposes: Customization of the Gamification Process [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Furini, Marco; Mirri, Silvia; Montangero, Manuela
abstract

The gamification process is gaining increasing interest in many different environments such as education, business, tourism, smart-cities management. In literature, many studies proposed approaches to transform a non- game activity into a game, but these methods are often too general to be effective (e.g., simple rules, incentive mechanisms such as scores or vague prizes). In a society where algorithms personalize everything, from search en- gine results, to news on social networks, it is anachronistic to think of a single gamification strategy suited to different categories of people (e.g., what might be motivating for digital natives, might not be for digital immigrants, and vice versa). In this paper, through a questionnaire filled by 226 people, we show that the game preferences (rules, mechanics, focus, motivations, and gaming environment) are age-dependent. These preferences can be used to customize the gamification process and therefore the study might be helpful to develop effective gamification strategies.


2018 - On introducing timed tag-clouds in video lectures indexing [Articolo su rivista]
Furini, Marco
abstract

The amount of digital material in video lecture archives is growing rapidly, causing the search&retrieval process to be time-consuming and almost impractical. Indeed, after the search, students receive a list of videos and often must use VCR-like functions to find the specific piece of video that covers the searched topic. Therefore, a more efficient method for video retrieval in digital video lecture archives is needed. In this paper, we propose VLB (Video Lecture Browsing), a system designed to facilitate both the retrieval of video lectures within video archives and the finding of the most appropriate segment of a video lecture that covers a searched topic by automatically producing a general picture of the contents of a video lecture. To achieve these goals, the system introduces the idea of timed tag-clouds, which are produced with a combination of aural and visual analysis. Results of a MOS evaluation show that users highly appreciate the timed tag-clouds approach and a comparison study against other popular approaches shows that 93 % of users prefer to use VLB to handle video lectures.


2018 - OneLab: Online education with minimal human supervision [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Furini, Marco; Galli, Giovanna; Martini, Maria Cristiana
abstract

Many educational institutes are recording classroom lessons to improve the students’ learning process. Unfortunately, a simple recording does not necessarily imply benefits. Indeed, when producing video lectures, there are different challenges that must be faced: production costs, accessibility, usability, video indexing, just to name a few. In this paper, we share our experience building ONELab, a system designed to capture, record, edit and stream video lectures. ONELab was designed to be scalable and to have low-cost implementation and maintenance. The system has been used in the 2017-18 Academic Year to manage the 49 courses offered by the five degrees available at our Department. In numbers, it supported 1,054 freshman students and produced 1,376 video lectures (for a total of 2,064 hours). The usage analysis showed that students appreciated the system and a comparative analysis between students who used the system and students who did not use the system, showed that the former passed more exams (+97.8%), had better grades (+8%) and acquired more credits (+105%).


2018 - Public health and social media: language analysis of vaccine conversations [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Furini, Marco; Menegoni, Gabriele
abstract

Social media have brought undoubted benefits to our life, but when people use them to make health decisions, a threat for the whole society might arise. For instance, different studies showed a correlation between the increasing usage of social media to discuss about vaccination and the decreasing vaccination coverage, which leads to outbreaks of preventable diseases. The goal of this paper is to understand specific features of the language used to talk about vaccinations on social media platforms. First, we define four different linguistic and psychological categories of messages: (i) affective (e.g., anger and anxiety), (ii) social (e.g., family and entity), (iii) medical (e.g., disease and vaccine-preventable diseases), and (iv) biological (e.g., body and health-related language). Then, we develop a Python-based tool able to map more than 200.000 messages found on Italian Facebook groups that converse about vaccinations into the defined categories. The obtained results show that anti vaccination groups use a language that is difficult to refute (e.g., not anxious, not focused on specific health issues or on specific diseases), whereas the analysis of pro vaccination groups reveals much more anxiety and specificity (e.g., family cases, specific diseases or vaccines). These results might help health professionals to stop the negative vaccination coverage trend, as they allow them to produce social media contents with linguistic and psychological features suitable to contrast partial/misleading information.


2018 - Sentiment analysis and Twitter: a game proposal, [Articolo su rivista]
Furini, Marco; Montangero, Manuela
abstract

Pervasive sensing of people's opinions is becoming critical in strategic decision processes, as it may be helpful in identifying problems and strengthening strategies. A recent research trend is to understand users' opinions through a sentiment analysis of contents published in the Twitter platform. This approach involves two challenges: the large volume of available data and the large variety of used languages combined with the brevity of texts. The former makes manual analysis unreasonable, whereas the latter complicates any type of automatic analysis. Since sentiment analysis is a difficult process for computers, but it is quite simple for humans, in this article we transform the sentiment analysis process into a game. Indeed, we consider the game with a purpose approach and we propose a game that involves users in classifying the polarity (e.g., positive, negative, neutral) and the sentiment (e.g., joy, surprise, sadness, etc.) of tweets. To evaluate the proposal, we used a dataset of 52,877 tweets, we developed a Web-based game, we invited people to play the game, and we validated the results through a ground-truth approach. The experimental assessment showed that the game approach is effective in measuring people' sentiments and also highlighted that participants liked to play the game.


2018 - Smart City and Images: The Use of Image Hashtags to Get Insights on Citizens [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
DE MICHELE, Roberta; Furini, Marco
abstract

The knowledge of citizens’ interests and problems is crucial for the smart management of a city. Up to few years ago, the employment of opinion agencies was mandatory to get this knowledge, but since this process is cost and time consuming, many studies are beginning to exploit social media contents to understand citizens. In particular, the attention is usually focused on textual data, and only few studies consider multimedia contents. In this paper, we investigate whether it is possible to know citizens’ interests and problems by using images published in the Instagram platform. In particular, we propose a method that analyzes and measures the importance of hashtags associated to images. The experimental evaluation shows that images could be an important source of information to understand citizens


2018 - Standards, Security and Business Models: Key Challenges for the IoT Scenario [Articolo su rivista]
Bujari, Armir; Furini, Marco; Mandreoli, Federica; Martoglia, Riccardo; Montangero, Manuela; Ronzani, Daniele
abstract

The number of physical objects connected to the Internet constantly grows and a common thought says the IoT scenario will change the way we live and work. Since IoT technologies have the potential to be pervasive in almost every aspect of a human life, in this paper, we deeply analyze the IoT scenario. First, we describe IoT in simple terms and then we investigate what current technologies can achieve. Our analysis shows four major issues that may limit the use of IoT (i.e., interoperability, security, privacy, and business models) and it highlights possible solutions to solve these problems. Finally, we provide a simulation analysis that emphasizes issues and suggests practical research directions.


2018 - The Use of Hashtags in TV-Shows: Analysis and Guidelines [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
DE MICHELE, Roberta; Furini, Marco
abstract

People watch TV with a second screen nearby and more than 30% of the time is used to perform social activities. This is why broadcasters are trying to exploit hashtags: they want people to talk about TV-shows in the social scenario. In this paper, we investigate how broadcasters use hashtags to promote their TV-shows. Indeed, we focus on 15 different TV-shows and we perform two different types of analyses: one investigates if broadcasters propose official hashtags and analyzes how these hashtags are promoted, the other investigates the characteristics of the Twitter conversations held around the considered TV-shows. Results show that broadcasters do not have a clear strategy in the social scenario: most of them do not exploit the synergy that can be created by linking the TV scenario to social and Web platforms. However, from the analysis of the Twitter conversations, we identified a successful case, whose analysis allowed us to outline some clear guidelines that broadcasters should employ when using hashtags to promote their TV-shows


2018 - Topic-based playlist to improve video lecture accessibility [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Furini, Marco; Mirri, Silvia; Montangero, Manuela
abstract

Learning is considered one of the most important activities for the human being, and many educational institutes are trying to improve the engagement with students through the availability of video lectures. However, the access to video material is not easy as one may think. For millions of people with some form of disabilities the simple act of browsing a video lecture archive represents an insuperable burden. Motivated by the need to improve accessibility to video lecture materials, in this paper we present VLP, which stands for Video Lecture Playlist. The idea is to use low-level audio/video features, video segmentation and OCR analysis to 'understand' the content of the video lectures. In this way, students can search for specific topic through keywords and the system browses the entire video lecture archive to find all the pieces of video lectures that cover the searched topic. These pieces are then provided through a playlist, so that a single search and a single playout return a complete view of how the searched topic is covered within the entire archive. A developed prototype shows the feasibility of the approach and results obtained from a survey highlight that students would like to browse video lecture archives with keywords and playlists.


2018 - Towards tweet content suggestions for museum media managers [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Furini, Marco; Martoglia, Riccardo; Mandreoli, Federica; Montangero, Manuela
abstract

Cultural Heritage institutions are embracing social technologies in the attempt to provide an effective communication towards citizens. Although it seems easy to reach millions of people with a simple message posted on social media platforms, media managers know that practice is different from theory. Millions of posts are competing every day to get visibility in terms of likes and retweets. The way text, images, hashtags and links are combined together is critical for the visibility of a post. In this paper, we propose to exploit machine learning techniques in order to predict whether a tweet will likely be appreciated by Twitter users or not. Through an experimental assessment, we show that it is possible to provide insights about the tweet features that will likely influence its reception/recommendation among readers. The preliminary tests, performed on a real-world dataset of 19,527 museum tweets, show promising accuracy results.


2017 - A transmedia storytelling system to transform recorded film memories into visual history [Articolo su rivista]
Dusi, Nicola Maria; Ferretti, Ilaria; Furini, Marco
abstract

The younger generations are very focused on what surrounds them and on what happens to their friends, but they are hardly interested in written-based historical contents. This creates a loss of cultural heritage passed down for generations. In the attempt of preserving memories and of intercepting the attention of the new generations, in this paper we propose a transmedia storytelling system that uses private film memories and modern communication technologies to tell the story of our past. In particular, the system allows people to explore the city through the eyes of amateur film sequences while walking in city streets: we use an archive of more than 500 h of movies shot by private citizens from 1940 to 1989 and we develop a mobile application that links film memories to city places. Through an experimental assessment, we observed that the system engaged different audiences and increased the users’ interest about history; in particular, young people, who said to be not interested in history, admitted that the system increased their interest about historical contents. In general, the obtained results showed that a transmedia storytelling system might help fostering historical consciousness, as it is able to intercept the attention of younger generations.


2017 - IoT: Science Fiction or real revolution? [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Furini, Marco; Mandreoli, Federica; Martoglia, Riccardo; Montangero, Manuela
abstract

It's been many years since media began talking about the wonders of the IoT scenario, where a smart fridge checks the milk ex- piration date and automatically compiles the shopping list, but in the real life how many people have this smart fridge in the kitchen? Yet the interest around the IoT scenario is growing every day, so in this paper we try to figure out if IoT is science fiction or a real revolution. In particu- lar, we describe in simple terms the IoT scenario, what can be done with current technologies, what are the main obstacles that limit the success and the wide use of IoT and we highlight directions that can make IoT a true reality.


2017 - On Using Cashtags to Predict Companies Stock Trends [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Bujari, A; Furini, M; Laina, N.
abstract

Different theories state that future market values strongly depend on psychological and financial factors: when investors feel positive moods they invest and the value of the stock market increases; conversely, when they feel negative moods they do not invest and the value of the stock market decreases. Today, researchers are trying to exploit the data publicly available in social media and, in particular, different researches showed a connection between Twitter messages and the stock market index. In this paper, we do not focus on a generic stock market index, nor we focus on the sole sentiment analysis. Instead, our goal is to investigate whether tweet messages can be used to predict the future trend (e.g., positive, negative or neutral) of the stocks of specific companies listed in the Dow Jones stock market. In particular, we focus on companies belonging to three different economic sectors (technology, service and health-care) and we consider the trend of 5 different metrics for each stock (e.g., highest, lowest, opening price, etc.) and the trend of 13 different variables of the tweets (e.g., volume, sentiment, tweets with links, etc.). Through an evaluation that employed more than 800,000 tweets, we show that some of the proposed ad-hoc prediction methods well predict (i.e., up to 82% of success) the next day trend of the stock values of specific companies.


2017 - On using on-the-fly students' notes in video lecture indexing [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Furini, Marco; Mirri, Silvia
abstract

The large number of video lectures within digital archives is making critical the indexing and retrieval process. Indeed, most of the systems base the indexing process on few generic text information (e.g., course title and teacher's name) and this creates problems to students who are looking for very specific topics and hence want to browse video in details. Moreover, additional metadata could provide useful information to those users who access the educational materials by means of assistive technologies. In this paper, we propose an approach that allows students to take on-the-fly notes while watching a video lecture and uses these notes to enrich video lectures with metadata that will be helpful to the indexing and retrieval process. In particular, to allow detailed video browsing, our proposed SOcial Learning (SOLE) system defines a set of eight predefined tagnotes and segments the lecture into a sequence of video chapters. Students can use the textual notes to describe and to retrieve the video material, providing hints about its content to users with special needs. To evaluate our approach, we developed a prototype version of SOLE and we asked for volunteer evaluators. Results showed that users feel comfortable in taking notes while watching a video and liked to browse video lectures using notes. According to the results obtained in the evaluation, both students and video lecture providers might appreciate the proposed approach.


2017 - TV commercials: Improving viewers engagement through gamification and second screen [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
De Michele, Roberta; Furini, Marco
abstract

More and more people watch TV with a second device in the nearby. They use it for many different reasons: to play, to search for something, to interact with other people, etc. As a result, their visual attention is often turned to the second screen, especially during commercials. This scenario scares broadcasters, as they fear losing the advertisers' investment. Therefore, it is necessary to improve the engagement between viewers and commercials. Both broadcasters and advertisers are trying to identify the right approach, but an effective solution has yet to be found. In this paper, we propose to use the gamification approach to increase the engagement between viewers and commercials. Our idea is to modify the visual layout of commercial breaks by introducing game elements (i.e., a quiz with simple questions related to some selected commercials). Through an experimental assessment, we evaluated the effectiveness of our proposal and the results show that not only the viewers enjoyed playing the quiz-based game, but also show that the engagement between viewers and commercials improved considerably (i.e., from 30% to 70%).


2017 - TagLecture: The gamification of video lecture indexing through quality-based tags [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Furini, Marco; Mirri, Silvia; Montangero, Manuela
abstract

The wide availability of video lectures within digital archives is causing significant problems to video providers. Indeed, students search for very specific contents and the few minutes of video lecture that cover the required topic have to be found in an archive composed of thousands of hours of videos. Therefore, the indexing of video material is becoming a critical process. Unfortunately, most of the systems return a list of full-length video lectures, and force students to use VCR-like functions in order to find what they are looking for. This approach is not adequate. Furthermore, the indexing process never considers the quality of the lecture (e.g., 'interesting', 'meaningless', etc.). A recent approach proposed to improve the indexing process by using social tagging. To be effective, this approach requires having a considerable number of tags. In this paper, we propose TagLecture, a Game With A Purpose that introduces game elements into the indexing process in order to involve students in the indexing process of video lectures. Through an experimental investigation we highlight that the gamification of the video indexing process is well accepted by students: more than 80% of participants liked the idea of using quality-based tags to classify video lectures, and more than half of them liked the idea of a game where students challenge each other to tag pieces of video lectures.


2017 - The Use of Hashtags in the Promotion of Art Exhibitions [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Furini, Marco; Mandreoli, Federica; Martoglia, Riccardo; Montangero, Manuela
abstract

Hashtags are increasingly used to promote, foster and group conversations around specific topics. For example, the entertainment industry widely uses hashtags to increase interest around their products. In this paper, we analyze whether hashtags are effective in a niche scenario like the art exhibitions. The obtained results show very different behaviors and confused strategies: from museums that do not consider hashtags at all, to museums that create official hastags, but hardly mention them; from museums that create multiple hashtags for the same exhibition, to those that are very confused about hashtag usage. Furthermore, we discovered an interesting case, where a smart usage of hashtags stimulated the interest around art. Finally, we highlight few practical guidelines with behaviors to follow and to avoid; the guidelines might help promoting art exhibitions.


2016 - On gamifying the transcription of digital video lectures [Articolo su rivista]
Furini, Marco
abstract

Games can be used to exploit the computational power of humans to perform tasks that are difficult for computers. One of these difficult tasks is the transcription of video lectures. Indeed, the characteristics of the speech that occur in video lectures are not well suited for speech recognition technologies. In this paper we propose ALGA, an ALtruistic GAme, designed to involve students in the production of transcripts. Players challenge each other by listening to short, and randomly selected, pieces of the audio stream, and by submitting the corresponding transcription. When two players (unknown to each other) submit the same version, the transcript of the audio chunk is considered correct and the players gain points. To motivate players, ALGA provides the final transcript to all the players and maintains a high-score list for every video lecture. The evaluation shows that the accuracy of the obtained transcripts is higher than the one obtained by speech recognition technologies and also shows that participants like the game approach. Hence, ALGA can be considered a reasonable, feasible and affordable solution to produce transcripts from video lectures.


2016 - PlayTheCityRE: A visual storytelling system that transforms recorded film memories into visual history [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Dusi, Nicola Maria; Ferretti, Ilaria; Furini, Marco
abstract

Within social media we find many stories that tell us the world that is around us. Unfortunately, we tend to forget what happened in the past and the young generations are losing a cultural heritage passed down for generations. In the attempt of preserving memories and of intercepting the attention of the new generations, in this paper we propose PlayTheCityRE, a location-based storytelling system that merges private film memories shot from 1940 to 1989 (e.g., 8mm, super8mm) with modern communication technologies to tell the story of our past while walking in city streets. The system is provided with a mobile application that allows people to explore an unusual city through the eyes of amateur film sequences (now historic) and to select different routes that will bring them in the same city places where they were filmed. By merging film memories with modern technologies, our system engages different audiences in specific ways and on multiple levels, allowing them to walk through history. Therefore, our storytelling system may help fostering historical consciousness within our society.


2016 - Smart cart: When food enters the IoT scenario [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Furini, Marco; Pitzalis, Claudia
abstract

People barely know what they eat and drink: product labels are written with small characters and with a difficult terminology. As a result, people spend too much time reading labels or avoid reading them at all. To connect food data with people we design of a food IoT (Internet of Things) scenario, where a smart cart tells us if the food product we are about to buy meet our preferences or not. In particular, we first perform a real-world study to understand consumers’ behavior while they shop; then we design a food IoT scenario and we use current technologies to investigate its feasibility. Results show that people would appreciate a tool able to help them connecting with food data and also show that current technologies are sufficient to create a food IoT scenario.


2016 - Social Media e Social Business [Monografia/Trattato scientifico]
Furini, Marco
abstract

Oggi tutto è social. Stiamo vivendo una rivoluzione che sta cambiando il nostro modo di vivere e lavorare. Applicazioni, siti, servizi, media e business sono sempre più immersi in questo nuovo scenario. Ma cosa vuol dire "social"? Come possiamo trarre vantaggio da questo nuovo scenario? Come possiamo difenderci dalle eventuali insidie? Questo libro non vuole né tessere le lodi né denigrare il mondo social, ma si pone l'obiettivo di esaminare lo scenario attraverso un percorso fatto di dati, informazioni, aneddoti e casistiche. Analizzeremo il mondo dell'informazione, dell'intrattenimento, del lavoro, dell'economia, della privacy, delle relazioni sociali e delle forme di governo cercando di capire come gli strumenti social stiano influenzando questi scenari e, di conseguenza, la vita di tutti noi.


2016 - TSentiment: On gamifying Twitter sentiment analysis [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Furini, Marco; Montangero, Manuela
abstract

Social media platforms contain interesting information that can be used to directly measure people' feelings and, thanks to the use of communication technologies, also to geographically locate these feelings. Unfortunately, the understanding is not as easy as one may think. Indeed, the large volume of data makes the manual approach impractical and the diversity of language combined with the brevity of the texts makes the automatic approach quite complicated. In this paper, we consider the gamification approach to sentimentally classify tweets and we propose TSentiment, a game with a purpose that uses human beings to classify the polarity of tweets (e.g., positive, negative, neutral) and their sentiment (e.g., joy, surprise, sadness, etc.). We created a dataset of more than 65,000 tweets, we developed a Web-based game and we asked students to play the game. Obtained results showed that the game approach was well accepted and thus it can be useful in scenarios where the identification of people' feelings may bring benefits to decision making processes.


2016 - Understanding the city to make it smart [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
De Michele, Roberta; Furini, Marco
abstract

Understanding the sentiment of people is a process that may be useful when transforming a city into a smart city. A recent trend is to exploit social media data to infer people sentiments. While many studies focused on textual data, few considered the visual contents. In this paper we investigate whether the images available in the Instagram platform can be useful to understand people sentiments. Through an experimental assessment and two different validation methods, we observed that although the use of images in sentiment analysis can be useful to have insights about people sentiments, the use of Instagram images may be slightly misleading.


2015 - Location privacy and public metadata in social media platforms: attitudes, behaviors and opinions [Articolo su rivista]
Furini, Marco; Tamanini, Valentina
abstract

The highavailability of geolocation technologies is changing the social media mobile scenario and is exposing users to privacy risks. Different studies have focused on location privacy in the mobile scenario, but the results are conflicting: some say that users are concerned about location privacy, others say they are not. In this paper, we initially investigate attitudes and behaviors of people toward a location-aware scenario; then, we show users the amount of personal and sensitive data that can be extracted from contents publicly available in social platforms, and finally we ask for their opinions about a location-aware scenario. Results show that people who were not initially concerned about privacy are the most worried about the location-aware scenario; conversely, people who were initially concerned are less worried about the location-aware scenario and find the scenario interesting. A deeper analysis of the obtained results allows us to draw guidelines that might be helpful to build an effective location-aware scenario.


2015 - TRank: Ranking Twitter Users According to Specific Topics [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Furini, Marco; Montangero, Manuela
abstract

Twitter is the most popular real-time micro-blogging service and it is a platform where users provide and obtain information at rapid pace. In this scenario, one of the biggest challenge is to find a way to automatically identify the most influential users of a given topic. Currently, there are several approaches that try to address this challenge using different Twitter signals (e.g., number of followers, lists, metadata), but results are not clear and sometimes conflicting. In this paper, we propose TRank, a novel method designed to address the problem of identifying the most influential Twitter users on specific topics identified with hashtags. The novelty of our approach is that it combines different Twitter signals (that represent both the user and the user's tweets) to provide three different indicators that are intended to capture different aspects of being influent. The computation of these indicators is not based on the magnitude of the Twitter signals alone, but they are computed taking into consideration also human factors, as for example the fact that a user with many active followings might have a very noisy time lime and, thus, miss to read many tweets. The experimental assessment confirms that our approach provides results that are more reasonable than the one obtained by mechanisms based on the sole magnitude of data.


2015 - ViMood: Using social emotions to improve video indexing [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Furini, Marco
abstract

The use of emotions has recently been considered to improve the indexing of video contents and two different approaches are usually followed: computation of objective emotions through low-level video features analysis and computation of subjective emotions through analysis of the viewers' physical signals. In this paper, we propose a different approach and we present ViMood, a novel mechanism designed to improve the indexing of video material by integrating objective and subjective emotions. ViMood indexes every video scene with emotion(s) obtained through a combination of low-level feature analysis and on-the-fly viewer's emotion annotation. The goal is to allow viewers to browse video material using either general information (e.g., title, director) or specific emotions (e.g., 'joy', 'sadness', 'surprise'). Results obtained in the evaluation process showed that participants were very interested in the hybrid approach, as it fixes some of the problems of the objective and subjective approaches.


2014 - An automatic caption alignment mechanism for off-the-shelf speech recognition technologies [Articolo su rivista]
Federico, Maria; Furini, Marco
abstract

With a growing number of online videos, many producers feel the need to use video captions in order to expand content accessibility and face two main issues: production and alignment of the textual transcript. Both activities are expensive either for the high labor of human resources or for the employment of dedicated software. In this paper, we focus on caption alignment and we propose a novel, automatic, simple and low-cost mechanism that does not require human transcriptions or special dedicated software to align captions. Our mechanism uses a unique audio markup and intelligently introduces copies of it into the audio stream before giving it to an off-the-shelf automatic speech recognition (ASR) application; then it transforms the plain transcript produced by the ASR application into a timecoded transcript, which allows video players to know when to display every single caption while playing out the video. The experimental study evaluation shows that our proposal is effective in producing timecoded transcripts and therefore it can be helpful to expand video content accessibility.


2014 - Users behavior in location-aware services: Digital natives versus digital immigrants [Articolo su rivista]
Furini, Marco
abstract

Location-aware services may expose users to privacy risks as they usually attach user's location to the generated contents. Different studies have focused on privacy in location-aware services, but the results are often conflicting. Our hypothesis is that users are not fully aware of the features of the location-aware scenario and this lack of knowledge affects the results. Hence, in this paper we present a different approach: the analysis is conducted on two different groups of users (digital natives and digital immigrants) and is divided into two steps: (i) understanding users' knowledge of a location-aware scenario and (ii) investigating users' opinion toward location-aware services after showing them an example of an effective location-aware service able to extract personal and sensitive information from contents publicly available in social media platforms. The analysis reveals that there is relation between users' knowledge and users' concerns toward privacy in location-aware services and also reveals that digital natives are more interested in the location-aware scenario than digital immigrants. The analysis also discloses that users' concerns toward these services may be ameliorated if these services ask for users' authorization and provide benefits to users. Other interesting findings allow us to draw guidelines that might be helpful in developing effective location-aware services. © 2014 Marco Furini.


2012 - Enhancing learning accessibility through fully automatic captioning [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Federico, Maria; Furini, Marco
abstract

The simple act of listening or of taking notes while attendinga lesson may represent an insuperable burden for millions ofpeople with some form of disabilities (e.g., hearing impaired,dyslexic and ESL students). In this paper, we propose anarchitecture that aims at automatically creating captions forvideo lessons by exploiting advances in speech recognitiontechnologies. Our approach couples the usage of o-the-shelf ASR (Automatic Speech Recognition) software with anovel caption alignment mechanism that smartly introducesunique audio markups into the audio stream before givingit to the ASR and transforms the plain transcript producedby the ASR into a timecoded transcript.


2012 - International Journal of Computers and Applications [Direzione o Responsabilità Riviste]
Furini, Marco
abstract


2012 - Method for analyzing web space data [Brevetto]
Montangero, Simone; Furini, Marco
abstract

A method for analyzing data from the web that determine the importance that a chosen subject has in society, e.g., subject matter relating a concert, a scientific discovery, a football match, a person, a corporation, a brand, or a car, and analyze such data that can represent the entire society better than the known techniques. The method according to the invention can avoid malicious alterations and is able to measure and detect the temporal relations among all the web resources that talk about a particular topic or subject matter.


2012 - Multimedia Tools and Applications [Direzione o Responsabilità Riviste]
Furini, Marco
abstract


2011 - International Journal of Computers and Applications [Direzione o Responsabilità Riviste]
Furini, Marco
abstract


2011 - Mobile Music Distribution: A Multichannel Approach [Articolo su rivista]
Furini, Marco
abstract

In contrast to what is happening in the Internet-based scenario, the music market in the mobile scenario is far from beingconsidered a large success. Several studies state that excessive downloading time and high cost are the main burdens.Motivated by the growth of social and mobile applications, in this paper we propose an approach that aims at reducing both the downloadingtime and the cost to get digital music when acquired in the mobile scenario. The proposed architecture exploits the usage ofpersonal communication technologies embedded in cellphones (e.g., Bluetooth and Wi-Fi) to couple the current distributionmodel (mainly based on 3G networks), so as to provide a multichannel distribution model where users are free to redistributedigitalmusic. The architecture includes a license-based securitymechanism that prevents unauthorized usage of digitalmusic, and makes use of an incentive mechanism to stimulate and reward the music distribution among customers. By analyzing pros and cons of the music distribution chain, results show that the proposed architecture might help in reducing both the downloading time and the cost to get digital music when acquired in the mobile scenario. Therefore, it might be helpful to the success of the mobile music scenario.


2011 - MovieRemix: Having Fun Playing with Videos [Articolo su rivista]
Dusi, Nicola Maria; Federico, Maria; Furini, Marco
abstract

The process of producing new creative videos by editing, combining, and organizing pre-existing material (e.g., video shots) is a popular phenomenon in the current web scenario. Known as remix or video remix, the produced videomay have new and different meanings with respect to the sourcematerial. Unfortunately, whenmanaging audiovisual objects, the technological aspect can be a burden for many creative users.Motivated by the large success of the gaming market, we propose a novel game and an architecture to make the remix process a pleasant and stimulating gaming experience. MovieRemix allows people to act like amovie director, butinstead of dealing with cast and cameras, the player has to create a remixed video starting from a given screenplay and from video shots retrieved from the provided catalog. MovieRemix is not a simple video editing tool nor is a simple game: it is a challenging environment that stimulates creativity. To temp to play the game, players can access different levels of screenplay (original, outline, derived) and can also challenge other players. Computational and storage issues are kept at the server side, whereas the client device just needs to have the capability of playing streaming videos.


2011 - Multimedia Tools and Applications [Direzione o Responsabilità Riviste]
Furini, Marco
abstract


2010 - International Journal of Computer and Applications [Direzione o Responsabilità Riviste]
Furini, Marco
abstract


2010 - Multimedia Tools and Applications [Direzione o Responsabilità Riviste]
Furini, Marco
abstract


2010 - STIMO: STIll and MOving Video Storyboard\\ for the Web Scenario [Articolo su rivista]
Furini, Marco; Geraci, Filippo; Montangero, Manuela; Pellegrini, Marco
abstract

In the current Web scenario a video browsing tool that produces on-the-fly storyboards is more and more a need. Video summary techniques can be helpful but, due to their long processing time, they are usually unsuitable for on-the-fly usage. Therefore, it is common to produce storyboards in advance, penalizing users customization. The lack of customization is more and more critical, as the number of videos is increasing day after day, users have different demands and might access the Web with several different networking and device technologies. In this paper we propose STIMO, a summarization technique designed to produce on-the-fly video storyboards. STIMO produces still and moving storyboards and allows advanced users customization (e.g., users can select the storyboard length and the maximum time they are willing to wait to get the storyboard). STIMO is based on a fast clustering algorithm that selects the most representative video contents using HSV frame color distribution. Experimental results show that STIMO produces storyboards with good quality and in a time that makes on-the-fly usage possible.


2010 - WWW Recycling for a Better World [Articolo su rivista]
S., Ferretti; Furini, Marco; C. E., Palazzi; M., Roccetti; P., Salomoni
abstract

Web 2.0 is affecting the structure of our society by creating new spaces of freedom, giving voice to any opinion, easing interpersonal relationships, and encouraging the creation of collaborating collectivities.Technologies such as blog, podcasting, wiki, and news feeds have the power to transform every user from a mere information consumer to a potential producer, from a spectator to an actor.The success of YouTube, MySpace, Facebook, and Wikipedia is under everybody's eyes.Generally speaking, Web~2.0 is seen as a powerful tool that, by exploiting Internet technologies, supplies services to the society, helping the entire socio-cultural system to develop and to move toward a democratic direction.Unfortunately, this imagery is partially distorted: first, Web 2.0 and Internet technologies are differently accessible by different parts of the society and, second, as many sociologists pointed out, their applications often appeal to users' egoistic purposes and self-celebration spirit. Although we cannot dismiss the value of current Web 2.0 applications, we are convinced that there is a much more valuable potential that has not been exploited yet. By comparing the immense benefits that Web 2.0 could bring to the whole society, with its factual employment, one could provocatively change the meaning of the acronym WWW into World Wide Waste.We are hence convinced that it is necessary to redesign the utilization paradigm of Web 2.0 and, in general, of the Internet in order to recycle unused parts of Web 2.0 into altruistic bricks that could be appropriately rerouted and composed for alternative, unselfish employment.


2009 - Augmenting social media accessibility [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
R., Borrino; Furini, Marco; M., Roccetti
abstract

The popularity of social media is affecting society as they are changing the way communication, collaboration, interaction, and information are produced and consumed. A part of the society (e.g., the one more technologically advanced) takes advantage of social media, whereas another part of society (e.g., old or people with different abilities) is left out from the so-called social media revolution. In this paper we propose an architecture that aims at augmenting social media accessibility. The proposed architecture, named SOMFA (SOcial Media For All), finds, gets, transforms, and enriches social media contents for a presentation over TV sets, so that people with technological, sociological, or physical limitations may enjoy social media and may participate to the social media revolution.


2009 - Incentive Mechanisms in Mobile Music Distribution [Capitolo/Saggio]
Furini, Marco; Montangero, Manuela
abstract

In this paper we analyze the current mobile music market anf then we outline a possible multi-channel distribution strategy along with an incentive mechanism that stimulates cooperation in a mobile environment. We evalutate the multi-channel strategy and we give an overview of related works in the area of content distribution.


2009 - International Journal of Computers and Applications [Direzione o Responsabilità Riviste]
Furini, Marco
abstract


2009 - Multimedia Tools And Applications [Direzione o Responsabilità Riviste]
Furini, Marco
abstract


2009 - Real-Time Traffic in Ad-hoc Sensor Networks [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
L., Bononi; L., Donatiello; Furini, Marco
abstract

The usage of sensors is emerging in the nowadays scenario where safety related applications are more and more used. These applications have timing constraints that need to be met by the control system. Thus, guaranteeing timeliness properties is considered a key challenge for research on wireless sensor networks. Among the different components that need to address this problem, we focus on the communication subsystem and, in particular, on the MAC protocols that handles transmissions. To provide timeliness behavior, the employed MAC protocol has to provide a time-bounded service. The contribution of this paper is to investigate the performance of two wireless MAC protocols that can be employed in wireless sensor networks: IEEE 802.11e and WRT-Ring. The former is part of the well know IEEE 802.11 standard, whereas the latter has characteristics that well fit the requirements of wireless sensor networks. Results show that two protocols have similar performances for networks with limited devices and/or traffic, whereas when devices and/or traffic increases, WRT-Ring has to be preferred.


2009 - Secure, Portable, and Customizable Video Lectures for E-learning on the Move [Articolo su rivista]
Furini, Marco
abstract

The production of video lectures for the mobile scenario is becoming popular, as the pervasiveness of mobile technologies is making learning independent of time and space. In such a scenario several challenges need to be addressed, and the contribution of this paper is MOLE, an architecture that produces secure, portable, and customizable video lectures for generic mobile devices. Video lectures are produced with a format that ensures play out compatibility in most mobile devices, and with a security mechanism that protects contents from un-authorized usage. Furthermore, a video lecture is organized in such a way that a learner can adapt the lesson development to his/her learning needs by locally interacting with the system, which means that people with different needs may use the same video lecture file. A prototype implementation of MOLE shows its feasibility. The production of secure, portable, and customizable video lectures may help expanding mobile learning as generic mobile devices may be used as learning tools.


2008 - An architecture to easily produce adventure and movie games for the mobile scenario [Articolo su rivista]
Furini, Marco
abstract

Simple and easy to play casual games are flooding the mobile gaming market and are best-sellers in mobile game charts of several cellphone network operators. Most of the produced titles are the mobile version of videogames developed in 80s and 90s, which were very simple and easy to play. In this paper we focus on adventure and movie games, a genre simple, easy to play and very popular in the past. We propose a software architecture to easily produce full-motion adventure games for the mobile scenario, so to potentially transform any modern cellphone into an adventure game console. The produced games are portable and protected against un-authorized usage. The feasibility of our approach is shown through a prototype player and through an evaluation that shows the suitability of the proposed approach for the mobile scenario. As a result, the simplicity of our approach along with the large availability of modern cellphones may bring new life to adventure games, which can become an exciting genre also for the current mobile gaming scenario.


2008 - Digital Audiobook: From Passive to Active Pursuit [Articolo su rivista]
Furini, Marco
abstract

The digital home entertainment market is growing at an exceptional speed and, although limited to passive listeners, audiobook applications are growing at an annual rate of nearly 20% and hence are playing an important role inside this market. In this paper we propose an architecture to produce interactive audiobooks, so as to transform a passive listener into a story director. Our approach allows interacting with the storyline and the story develops according to the user choices. To ensure transparency the approach uses AAC/MP3 format for the audio stream encoding, theMPEG7 MDS for the audio description and the ISO BaseMedia File Format for the audiobook file format. A security mechanism protects contents from piracy and malicious alterations. The simplicity of our approach, along with the growing usage of portable devices, may increase the attractiveness and the popularity of audiobooks.


2008 - Fast Play: A Novel Feature for Digital Consumer Video Devices [Articolo su rivista]
Furini, Marco
abstract

Advances in digital video technologies has brought into our home digital consumer video devices with innovative features. Not only we can store several hours of video materials, but we can also skip commercials, program the device from remote scenarios and even pause a live event. What changed little is the interface for accessing recorded video material: Play, Rewind and Fast-Forward are basically the same of analog VCR. In this paper we propose Fast Play, a novel feature designed to play out video in a time-reduced manner, without acting on the playback speed. In essence, Fast Play is a hybrid between the classic Play service and the Fast-Forward service, is based on simple low-level audio and video analysis, and provides videos with continuous motion and with completely intelligible audio. The evaluation shows that the played video is informative, enjoyable, and largely reduced (up to 40%). A Mean Opinion Score test shows that the Fast Play feature is really appreciated by users as it produces a pleasant surrogate of the original video.


2008 - International Journal of Computers and Applications [Direzione o Responsabilità Riviste]
Furini, Marco
abstract


2008 - On Using Clustering Algorithms to Produce Video Abstracts for the Web Scenario [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Furini, Marco; F., Geraci; Montangero, Manuela; M., Pellegrini
abstract

A tool to provide an idea of the content of a given video is becoming a need in the current Web scenario, where the presence of videos is increasing day after day. Dynamic summarization techniques can be used to this aim as they set up a video abstract, by selecting and sequencing short video clips extracted from the original video. Needless to say, the selection process is critical. In this paper we focus our attention on clustering algorithms to provide such selection and we investigate the effects of their employment in the web scenario. Clustering algorithms are very effecting in producing static video summary, but few works consider them for video abstract production. For this reason, we set up an experimental scenario where we investigate their performance considering different categories of video, different abstract lengths and different low-level video analysis. Results show that clustering techniques can be useful only for some categories of videos and only if the selection process is based on video scene characteristics. Furthermore, the investigation also shows that to provide a customized service (user can freely decide the abstract time length), only fast clustering algorithm should be used.


2008 - Preface to the special issue on new achievements in pervasive and interactive multimedia systems and applications [Editorial] [Articolo su rivista]
M., Roccetti; Z., Liu; Furini, Marco; Zhang, X. P.; H., Yu
abstract

Recent technological advancements have transformed almost any computer, electronic device and appliance into concrete multimedia systems. From a simple laptop to the hype iPod, from wearable computers to wireless sensors, from RFID tags to cell phones, those systems have pervasively got into our homes, offices and places where we have fun, deeply revolutionizing our lifestyle and common habits. What’s really new here is that,surprisingly, not only we can use these devices in a passive way, to listen to music or watch TV for example, but we can use them to customize and adapt all the information we want to receive: We are about to spend our days in an environment saturated withcomputing and communication devices able to produce and/or adapt a lot of multimedia contents, based on a set of sophisticated interactions these systems carry out with us, aswell as with the environment surrounding us.


2008 - Riding the Web Evolution: from Egoism to Altruism [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
M., Roccetti; S., Ferretti; C., Palazzi; Furini, Marco; P., Salomoni
abstract

Internet and the latest correlated technologies, such as Web 2.0, represent inventions that have changed the world with their social contribution. Yet, digital divide and cyberbalkanization are Internet's discriminatory phenomena well known by field experts. In addition, we want now to raise the attention on the actual employment of these technologies: the vast potential within the Internet is currently dispersed in millions of applications devoted to frivolous and egocentric utilizations. Being (almost) the only use people have made of the most pervasive communication system ever made, this represents an unacceptable waste of opportunities. To revert this trend, we propose a novel utilization paradigm of Internet technologies which is aimed at liberating part of resources that are captured but not used by egocentric applications to give them back to a possible common (and altruistic) use.


2008 - Special Issue on New Achievements in Pervasive and Interactive Multimedia Systems and Applications Multimedia Tools and Applications [Direzione o Responsabilità Riviste]
Furini, Marco
abstract


2008 - The Impact of Incentive Mechanisms in Multi-Channel Mobile Music Distribution [Articolo su rivista]
Furini, Marco; Montangero, Manuela
abstract

Record labels and telecoms are using the pervasiveness of mobile technologies to create a mobile music market, where customers can have their preferred music at any time and in any place. The idea is to replicate the successful strategy of the Internet-based music market into the mobile scenario. In this paper we first analyze the current mobile music market and we show that this strategy leads to several problems (e.g., excessive download time, cost and protection). As a second contribution, we propose and analyze a multi-channel distribution strategy, where customers can cooperate to music distribution. The approach is based on the cellphone network, the free-of-charge communication technologies provided by cellphones, and on an incentive mechanism that financially compensates users for their cooperation in music distribution. The approach evaluation shows that the employment of an effective incentive mechanism can mitigate the problems of the current mobile music scenario, as it provides benefits to customers, cellphone network providers and music stores.


2008 - e-goisms: What Would the Web be Without the Others? [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
M., Roccetti; S., Ferretti; Furini, Marco; C., Palazzi; P., Salomoni
abstract

Web 2.0 is widely seen as a powerful tool that makes society better, but the dark side is that all the power might be dissipated in egoistic use and waste of resources, the difference between who has access to information and who has not might increase, and the reciprocal inner closure among users might be favoured. In this article we provide guidelines to redesign the utilization paradigm of Web 2.0 so as to reuse the wasted resources and make them available to altruistic services. This novel and altruistic paradigm would increase the social solidarity and favour the establishment of a "better world".


2007 - Beyond Passive Audiobook: How Digital Audiobooks Get Interactive [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Furini, Marco
abstract

Although the audiobook market is growing at an exceptional speed, an audiobook is limited to passive listeners. In this paper we propose a novel approach to transform a passive listener into a story director. By introducing interactivity into digital audiobook, a user can interact with the storyline and the story develops according to user choices. We propose an architecture that produces interactive audiobooks in a transparent and secure way. Transparency is achieved by using the AAC format for the audio stream, the MPEG7-DDL for the audio description and the ISO Base Media File Format for the audiobook file format; security is achieved with a mechanism that protects the digital content from illegal usage and avoids any possible content malicious alteration. The simplicity of our approach, along with the growing usage of portable devices, may find new markets for the audiobook in the educational and entertainment worlds.


2007 - Bluemusic: A Multichannel Architecture for Music Distribution [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Furini, Marco
abstract

Despite the increasing number of e-music downloads and the large use of mobile devices, the mobile music market is slowly taking off. Prices seem to be the main burden: compared to the wired environment, a song is twice or three times more expensive. Furthermore, mobile network transfer data rate causes the download time to be very long. In this paper we propose Bluemusic, a multi channel architecture that couples the usage of the mobile phone network with the free-of-charge communication technologies provided in cellphones (e.g., bluetooth or Wi-Fi) to distribute music in the mobile environment. To protect digital contents, Bluemusic is provided with a security mechanism that prevents illegal contents distribution. An evaluation of our approach shows that Bluemusic can be helpful to the expansion of the mobile music market.


2007 - International Journal of Computers and Applications [Direzione o Responsabilità Riviste]
Furini, Marco
abstract


2007 - MCDL: A Reduced But Extensible Multimedia Contents Description Language [Articolo su rivista]
Furini, Marco
abstract

Multimedia contents are more and more present in our life and their presentation usually rests on a text-based description that defines rules and properties of such contents and is produced by markup description languages (e.g., XML, MPEG7-DDL and SMIL). Although effective, the criticism to such approach regards the length of the produced description, which is considered too verbose. Since this may lead to performance problems for devices with limited resources, binary-based descriptions are being proposed. However, the simplicity of a text-based description cannot be underestimated and hence, the contribution of this paper is the proposal of a reduced, but extensible, markup Multimedia Contents Description Language (MCDL), which produces short text-based description of multimedia contents. MCDL is designed to organize and synchronize contents forthe mobile music scenario and a comparison study with other languages shows that MCDL describes the same contents with a much shorter description.


2007 - Mobile Games: What to Expect in the Near Future [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Furini, Marco
abstract

The current mobile gaming market is filled with the so-called casual games. Simple and easy, these games are well suited for devices with limited resources and for people who play games now and then. This is why Tetris and Pac-man are among the best sellers games of several mobile games charts. In this paper we analyze current developing platforms, networking technologies, delivery models and game characteristics of the current mobile gaming scenario, in order to identify directions that will lead to the near future of the mobile gaming scenario.


2007 - Mobile Music [Capitolo/Saggio]
Furini, Marco
abstract

PROBLEMS AND CHALLENGES OF THE MOBILE MUSIC SCENARIO


2007 - On Ameliorating the Perceived Playout Quality in Chunk-Driven P2P Media Streaming Systems [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Furini, Marco
abstract

Media streaming applications are becoming very popular in the Internet world. Since they mainly rely on a not scalable client/server model, the P2P model is receiving more and more attention as a system to provide media streaming. Different P2P media streaming systems are available, but today the most successful approach seems the chunk-driven P2P model. In such system, the basic assumption is that the media file is divided into several chunks/segments and while playing a segment, the client downloads the following one(s). However, since P2P networks offer no guarantees to the supported applications, inter-segments playout interruption might disruptively affect the perceived playout quality. To mitigate this, we propose a novel approach that uses both low-level audio and video information to divide the video in stand-alone segments. Using real P2P bandwidth aggregate data traffic and a trace-driven simulation, an objective and a subjective evaluation show that if the underlying P2P network causes inter-segments playout delay, the perceived playout quality is less affected if our approach is employed.


2007 - VISTO: VIsual STOryboard for Web Video Browsing [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Furini, Marco; F., Geraci; Montangero, Manuela; M., Pellegrini
abstract

Web video browsing is rapidly becoming a very popular activity in the Web scenario, causing the production of a concise video content representation a real need. Currently, static video summary techniques can be used to this aim. Unfortunately, they require long processing time and hence all the summaries are produced in advance without any users customization. With an increasing number of videos and with the large users heterogeneousness, this is a burden. In this paper we propose VISTO, a summarization technique that produces customized on-the-fly video storyboards. The mechanism uses a fast clustering algorithm that selects the most representative frames using their HSV color distribution and allows users to select the storyboard length and the processing time. An objective and subjective evaluation shows that the storyboards are produced with good quality and in a time that allows on-the-fly usage.


2006 - An Audio-Video Summarization Scheme Based on Audio and Video Analysis [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Furini, Marco; V., Ghini
abstract

The availability of video files in the Internet is growing at an exceptional speed and in the near future video browsing will be a common activity. To facilitate such activity it will be necessary to have a small clip for any given video. Currently, video skimming and video summarization techniques can reduce the temporal representation of a given video. However, most of these techniques do not include audio in the produced summaries. Here, we propose a mechanism that, using audio and video analysis, produces video summaries coupled with intelligible audio. Experimental results show that the summaries are largely reduced (up to 50%) and that the perceived video quality may be comparable to the one of the original video (in term of jerkiness). Consumers satisfaction has been investigated through MOS and results show that our summaries can be considered as an alternative to the original videos.


2006 - An Audio/Video Analysis Mechanism for Web Indexing [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Furini, Marco; M., Aragone
abstract

The high availability of video streams is making necessary mechanisms for indexing such contents in the Web world. In this paper we focus on news programs and we propose a mechanism that integrates low and high level video features to provide a high level semantic description. A color/lumi- nance analysis is coupled with audio analysis to provide a better identification of all the video segments that compose the video stream. Each video segment is subject to speech detection and is described through MPEG7 so that the resulting metadata description can be used to index the video stream. An experimental evaluation shows the benefits of integrating audio and video analysis.


2006 - From Digital Audiobook to Secure Digital Multimedia-Book [Articolo su rivista]
L., Egidi; Furini, Marco
abstract

The digital music revolution has improvedthe availability of music and made it easier toenjoy. The shift from hard support, such asaudio CDs, to software leaves some unsatisfiedby the loss of additional media contents, suchas images, lyrics, and CD cover. We propose tofill the gap by enriching e-music with multimediacontents. Our proposal focuses specificallyon MP3 as a widely distributed open format.The challenge we meet in enriching MP3 lies inmaintaining audio compatibility and avoidingfile size explosion. To this end, we define adescription language to express multimediacontents in a textual way, with higher representationefficiency than existing languages. Wealso address security issues that arise from theuse of an open format. Effectiveness is shownwith an MP3 player capable of rendering multimediacontents.


2006 - International Journal of Computers and Applications [Direzione o Responsabilità Riviste]
Furini, Marco
abstract


2006 - On Bringing Adventure Games into the Mobile Gaming Scenario [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Furini, Marco
abstract

Simple and easy to play casual games are flooding the mobile gaming market and are best-sellers in the mobile game chart of several cellphone network operators. Videogames developed in 80s are very popular in the current mobile scenario. These games don't require several system resources and hence they are well suited for the limited system resources of current cellphones. In this paper we focus on a genre that was very popular in the past, but is not receiving much attention today: the adventure games. These games are proper for the current mobile scenario as they require very little system resources. We propose a software architecture to potentially transform an audio mobile device into an adventure games console. The adventure game is described through MPEG7 and is embedded into a 3GP file. Our approach ensures interoperability, transparency, lightness and security. The simplicity of our approach along with the large availability of audio devices may bring new life to adventure games, which can become an exciting game genre also for today's users.


2006 - The Use of Incentive Mechanisms in Multi-Channel Mobile Music Distribution [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Furini, Marco; Montangero, Manuela
abstract

The music industry is planning to perform a significant shift toward the digital world by partnering cellphone network operators to build a mobile music market. In this paper we analyze the mobile music distribution strategy focusing on: the communication infrastructure, the pricing strategy and the copyright protection. Results of our analysis show that the strategy may be questioned and hence we propose a multi-channel distribution approach that makes use of both the cellphone network and the free-of-charge communication technologies provided in cellphones. Our multi-channel distribution strategy is coupled with an incentive mechanism that stimulates customers cooperation in the mobile scenario. An evaluation of our approach shows that all the entities involved in the mobile music distribution (customers, cellphone network providers and music stores) can benefit from using a multi-channel distribution approach.


2005 - Bringing Multimedia Contents into MP3 Files [Articolo su rivista]
L., Egidi; Furini, Marco
abstract

The digital music revolution has improved the availability of music and made it easier to enjoy. The shift from hard support, such asaudio CDs, to software leaves some unsatisfied by the loss of additional media contents, such as images, lyrics, and CD cover. We propose to fill the gap by enriching e-music with multimediacontents. Our proposal focuses specifically on MP3 as a widely distributed open format. The challenge we meet in enriching MP3 lies in maintaining audio compatibility and avoiding file size explosion. To this end, we define a description language to express multimedia contents in a textual way, with higher representation efficiency than existing languages. We also address security issues that arise from the use of an open format. Effectiveness is shown with an MP3 player capable of rendering multimedia contents.


2005 - Informing Clients through Multimedia Communications: An approach to provide interactivity [Articolo su rivista]
Furini, Marco; M., Roccetti
abstract

One of the key problems in informing clients through multimedia streaming applications over the Internet is to customize the stream of information according to the client’s requests. This is achievable only if client and server can interact along the application lifetime, which is possible only if the communication system supports the rigid timing constraints imposed by these interactive applications on their traffic. In the Internet scenario, these applications are very difficult to support, as the Internet provides a best-effort service to the traffic it carries, which means that the Internet does not make any promises about the end-to-end delay for an individual packet and about the variation of packet delay (network jitter) within a packet stream. These problems are confirmed by several experiments we performed over the Internet, which highlight that interactive applications achieve a quality that is frustrating. The contribution of this paper is the proposal of a novel mechanism to support interactive multimedia streaming applications over the Internet. Our mechanism adapts the multimedia stream transmission to the network conditions, by intentionally and slightly acting on the video QoS. Our mechanism has been validated through severalexperiments performed over the Internet. Results confirm that the supported interactive applications achieve a satisfactory quality and the user perceives a video quality only slightly affected by the QoS modification introduced by our mechanism.


2005 - Multimedia Contents within MP3 Files: From Simple Audio Track to a Media Rich Product [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Furini, Marco
abstract

E-music distribution is becoming more and more popular over the Internet and a recent research states that e-music will soon replace audio-CDs. Some complains that simple audio tracks can never compete with a complete product like audio-CDs, which provide audio, but also lyrics, images and CD-covers. In this paper we focus on the MP3 open format and we propose a mechanism to transform a single MP3 file into a media-rich product. Several multimedia contents (for instance lyrics, images, CD-covers, updated information, karaoke service) can be embedded into MP3 files without affecting the current MP3 file structure, so that the MP3 file can still be played out by any MP3 player. The effectiveness of our approach is shown through a developed java MP3 player.


2005 - The Digital Restyling of Audiobooks [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
L., Egidi; Furini, Marco
abstract

Portable devices and wireless connections are creating a new scenario where digital information are massively entering our life. Such a scenario is craving for new applications and, in the meanwhile, several applications are simply re-written for the mobile scenario (we can check e–mail, browse the web, play games, etc.). In this paper we propose a mechanism to adapt a classical digital audiobook application to the new mobile scenario. Our proposal introduces, into a digital audiobook, multimedia objects (images and text) synchronized with the audio. The proposed mechanism does not modify the digital file structure and can be protected against piracy. With our mechanism, an audiobook is no longer a simple audio representation of a written book, but a different, complete multimedia product. The mechanism is shown to be effective through a modified audiobook player.


2004 - A Video Frame Dropping Mechanism based on Audio Perception [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Furini, Marco; V., Ghini
abstract

Video streaming applications are more and more present in our life, but despite the advances of network technologies, several users experience QoS problems. This is mainly due to the high bandwidth requirements of these applications that contrasts with the network bandwidth limitation. To mitigate these QoS problems, video frame dropping mechanisms are often used for adapting the video stream to the network conditions. The selection of the video frames to drop is done considering the perceived quality of the video play out; audio perception is not considered in the selection process. In this paper we show that by taking into account only the video play out quality, audio problems arise very frequently. Hence, we propose a video frame dropping mechanism that takes into consideration the perceived quality of both audio and video play out. A comparison with other video frame dropping techniques is carried out and experimental results show that, although the video play out quality is similar, the audio play out quality is completely different. Our mechanism slightly affects the audio quality, while other techniques strongly affect it. Therefore, by using our mechanism, benefits are remarkable.


2004 - An Architecture to Securely Enrich and Distribute MP3 Files over the Internet [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
L., Egidi; Furini, Marco
abstract

On-line music distributors are hesitant to release music in MP3 format, as this standard is an open-format and piracy of copyrighted music may be facilitated. Instead, they prefer to use proprietary formats and proprietary DRM systems. Users do not like this approach, as it limits the emusic flexibility without giving any benefit. In this paper we propose an alternative that enables vendors to securely distribute open-formats and users to have benefits from using legal media copies. In particular, we propose to securely enrich and distributeMP3 files with multimedia contents and to adopt security mechanisms transparent to users to protect vendors’ rights. No restriction is set on the MP3 audio play out, but only a legitimate MP3 owner can use both audio and multimedia contents; a non legitimate MP3 owner can still enjoy the audio portion, but no more than that. This way, users are stimulated to avoid music piracy.


2004 - Audio-Text Synchronization inside MP3 files: A new approach and its implementation [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Furini, Marco; L., Alboresi
abstract

The large usage of multimedia portable devices has contributed to rapidly increase the demand for multimedia entertainment services. In this paper we focus on the karaoke service: several systems have been proposed but they are too difficult to be directly used over audio devices. Conversely, in this paper we propose a very simple approach to provide a karaoke-like service over any audio device that can play out mp3 files. Our approach is essentially new, as no additional files, beyond the mp3 file, are necessary. A simple description language has been designed to characterize audio-text timing synchronizations, which are transparently stored inside the mp3 file. The effectiveness of our approach is proved through a developed java mp3 player. The simplicity of our approach along with java portability allow a straightforward use of our player over any OS and over any audio device that supports java applications.


2003 - Ad Hoc Networks: A Protocol for Supporting QoS Applications [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
L., Donatiello; Furini, Marco
abstract

A delay-bounded service in wireless ad hoc networks is challenging, as ad hoc networks do not provide any type of guarantees. Several protocols have been proposed to support applications without timing requirements in ad hoc networks, but the increasing demand of QoS applications, in ad hoc wireless environments, requires delay-bound service. The contribution of this paper is to propose a protocol that provides QoS service, by means of timing guarantees, to the supported applications in ad hoc wireless networks.


2003 - VISP: on Implementing a Video Streaming Protocol for the Internet [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
M., Bracuto; Furini, Marco; M., Roccetti
abstract

A recently proposed mechanism introduced a new approach to support interactive video streaming applications over the Internet. It acts on the video QoS in order to avoid possible problems caused by the network jitter. Simulations results proved the effectiveness of this mechanism. An exhaustive discussion on the implementation of this mechanism is the contribution of this paper. A client-server protocol, named VISP (VIdeo Streaming Protocol), is designed to support interactive video streaming applications over the Internet. VISP is not a video compression scheme and it is not a transport protocol, but an application protocol that controls the video transmission to provide interactivity. Several features have been added in order to complete the protocol and tests confirm that VISP is effective in supporting interactive video streaming applications over the Internet.


2002 - Design and Analysis of RT-Ring: a protocol for supporting real-time communications [Articolo su rivista]
M., Conti; L., Donatiello; Furini, Marco
abstract

Distributed applications with quality of service (QoS) requirements are more and more used in several areas (e.g.,automated factory networks, embedded systems, conferencingsystems). These applications produce a type of traffic with hardtiming requirements, i.e., transmissions must be completedwithin specified deadlines. To handle these transmissions, thecommunication system must use real-time protocols to provide acommunication service that is able to satisfy the QoS requirements of the distributed applications. In this paper, we propose a new real-time protocol, called RT-Ring, able to support transmissions of both real-time and generic traffic over a ring network. RT-Ring provides both network guarantees and high network resource utilization, while ensuring the compatibility with the emerging differentiated service architectures. Network guarantees are fully proved and high network utilization is highlighted by a comparative study with the FDDI protocol. This comparison shows that RT-Ring network capacities are greater than the corresponding FDDI capacities. In fact, by assuming the FDDI frames with a length equal to the RT-Ring slot size and by using the same traffic load we show that the capacities of FDDI are equal to the lower bound capacities of RT-Ring.


2002 - Design and Analysis of a mechanism for supporting Interactive Video Applications over the Internet [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Furini, Marco; M., Roccetti
abstract

Interactive video streaming applications are becoming more popular also in the Internet environment and studies showed that interactive operations are well supported if the end-to-end delay, experienced by the application traffic, is kept lower than a pre-defined, and application dependent, threshold. In this paper we propose a new approach that acts on the video QoS in order to keep the end-to-end delay within the acceptable threshold. Our mechanism has been evaluated through several simulations and results obtained show that it is well suited for supporting interactive video streaming applications over the Internet.


2002 - Interactive MPEG Video Streaming over IP-Networks: A Performance Report [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Furini, Marco; M., Roccetti
abstract

The popularity of interactive video streaming applications have pushed researchers to propose mechanisms for supporting these applications over the Internet. Several studies showed that interactive operations are well supported if the end-to-end delay, experienced by the application traffic, is kept lower than a pre-defined threshold. Recently, it has been proposed a new approach that acts on the video QoS (by dropping frame) in order to provide interactive features. The mechanism has been tested with Motion JPEG videos. The contribution of this paper is to evaluate the mechanism with MPEG videos, in order to investigate the behavior of the mechanism when the video is encoded with one of the more popular inter-frame techniques. Further, since the mechanism acts on the video QoS, we also present a QoS evaluation of the perceived video play out quality.


2001 - Real-Time traffic Transmission Over the Internet [Articolo su rivista]
Furini, Marco; D., Towsley
abstract

Multimedia applications require the transmission of real-time streams over a network. These streams often exhibit variable bandwidth requirements, and require high bandwidths and guarantees from the network. This creates problems whensuch streams are delivered over the Internet. To solve theseproblems, recently, a small set of differentiated services hasbeen introduced. Among these, Premium Service is suitable fortransmitting real-time stored stream (full knowledge of the streamcharacteristics). It uses a bandwidth allocation mechanism (BAM)based on the stream peak rate. Due to the variable bandwidthrequirement, the peak rate BAM can waste large amount ofbandwidth. In this paper we propose a new BAM that uses lessbandwidth than the peak rate BAM, while providing the sameservice. Our BAM does not affect the real-time stream qualityof service (QoS) and does not require any modification to thePremium Service Architecture. We also introduce several framedropping mechanisms that further reduce bandwidth consumptionsubject to a QoS constraint when coupled with the aboveBAM. The proposed BAM and the dropping mechanisms areevaluated using Motion JPEG and MPEG videos and are shownto be effective in reducing bandwidth requirements. Further, sinceVCR operations are very useful in video streaming, we propose amechanism that introduces these operations in our BAM. Throughsimulations we show the effectiveness of this mechanism.


2000 - Adaptive Video Transmissions over the Internet: an Experimental Study [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Furini, Marco; M., Roccetti
abstract

Several distributed multimedia applications, such as on-line games, video streaming and IF-telephony, require interactive operations between who provides the service (the sender) and who receives the service (the receiver). Considering video transmissions, interactive operations are well performed only if the receiver plays out video frames continuously and with short delay with respect to their transmission time. Unfortunately, this is not trivial especially over networks, as the Internet, whose traffic conditions greatly affect the packets transfer delay. This poses significant problems. For instance, it can happen that a frame f(i), supposed to be played out at time t(i), cannot be played out until time t(i)(double dagger). We denote as Video Time Difference, the difference t(i)(double dagger)-t(i) and in this paper we propose a mechanism that keeps tight and constant this video time difference. This is performed by slightly modifying the QoS of the delivered video. The proposed mechanism has been evaluated through simulations over real Internet traffic conditions and it is shown to be effective in supporting distributed multimedia interactive applications.


2000 - Design and Analysis of RT-Ring: a protocol for supporting real-time communications [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
M., Conti; L., Donatiello; Furini, Marco
abstract

Real-time applications, such as process control signals and multimedia transmission, are more and more deployed in current networks. These applications produce a type of trafic with stringent timing requirements whose transmission is critical as it has to be completed within its deadline. This can be performed only using protocols that support real-time trafic transmissions. In this paper we propose a new real-time protocol, called RT-Ring, able to support transmissions of both real-time and generic traffic over a ring network. RT-Ring provides both network guarantees and high network resource utilization, while ensuring the compatibility with the emerging Differentiated Service Architecture. Network guarantees are fully proved and high network utilization is highlighted by a comparison study with the FDDI protocol. This comparison shows that RT-Ring network capacities are greater than the corresponding FDDI capacities.


2000 - Real-Time traffic transmission over the Internet [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Furini, Marco; D., Towsley
abstract

Multimedia applications require the transmission of real-time streams over a network. These streams often exhibit variable bandwidth requirements, and require high bandwidth and guarantees from the network. This creates problems when such streams are delivered over the Internet. To solve these problems, recently, a small set of differentiated services has been introduced. Among these, Premium Service is suitable for real-time transmissions. It uses a bandwidth allocation mechanism (BAM) based on the traffic peak rate. Since the bandwidth requirement of a video stream can be quite variable, this can result in a high cost to the user and an inefficient use of network bandwidth. In this paper we introduce a BAM that can increase bandwidth utilization and decrease the allocated bandwidth without affecting the QoS of the delivered real-time stream and without introducing any modification in the Premium Service. We also introduce several frame dropping mechanisms that further reduce bandwidth consumption subject to a QoS constraint when coupled with the above BAM. The proposed BAM and the heuristics algorithms are evaluated using Motion JPEG and MPEG videos and are shown to be effective in reducing bandwidth requirements.


1996 - MetaRing+: An enhancement of the MetaRing access protocol for supporting real-time applications [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Conti, M.; Donatiello, L.; Furini, Marco
abstract

This paper focuses on access protocols for supporting real-time communications in a distributed system; specifically, we analyze the MetaRing protocol. MetaRing is a protocol, designed and prototyped to handle, in a local or metropolitan area environment, both period traffic with real-time constraints (synchronous traffic) and bursty data traffic with no delay constraints (asynchronous traffic). We show that, in the original proposal of the MetaRing protocol, the deadlines of real-time messages are not always satisfied. To solve this problem, we propose a modified version of MetaRing, named MetaRing +. Through a performance study, the properties of MetaRing + are deeply investigated. © 1996 IEEE.