This paper deals with the application of remote collaborative environments in product design, in particular for design review activities. In this context, companies actually face some troubles: limited knowledge about available tools, difficulty in coming to know and using innovative systems, and complexity in evaluating the impact of the technology on design collaboration. The present research suggests a novel collaborative environment (the CoReD platform) that merges system simplicity, project-oriented approach and customizable functions. It defines a metric-based protocol considering both performances and cognitive aspects to assess collaboration quality and then monitors design review sessions within three industrial Consortia. Research contributions are to answer two main questions: how to arrange a low-cost co-design environment and how to effectively evaluate the human-system interaction and collaborative performance in industrial use. Experimental results highlight that the CoReD platform is able to efficiently improve collaborative processes by affecting both product-process performance and human-based collaboration, mainly thanks to: system architecture simplicity, low cost, high customizable functionalities and ease of use for remote design. However, results demonstrate also that significant advantages can be achieved only if industrial partners have a good level of technical expertise and high motivation to collaborate each other.

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