Re: [vmeet] timeframe

Doug Otis <> Fri, 15 May 2009 02:26 UTC

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From: Doug Otis <>
To: John Leslie <>
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Date: Thu, 14 May 2009 19:27:15 -0700
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Subject: Re: [vmeet] timeframe
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On May 14, 2009, at 5:04 PM, John Leslie wrote:

> Dave CROCKER <> wrote:
>> John Leslie wrote:
>>> Our timeframe is too short to rule out "hacks" for Stockholm. For  
>>> the IETF after that, we should be able to automate things.
>> The timeframe for vmeet is whatever we set it to be.
>   Not meaning to contradict, but Russ Housley has committed to make  
> the Stockholm IETF week "remote-participation friendly". I do  
> believe he is hoping from some assistance from us.

My hope as well.

>> My own participation came from suggesting that we work towards  
>> replacing at least one IETF week with virtual meetings.
>   A noble goal, according to my bank account! ;^)
>   (Do note, however, that the Secretariat is signing contracts for  
> 2013...)

A virtual meeting where all recipients are remote and utilize a phone  
bridge represents an environment where suitable solutions already  
exist and only need to be selected.  Costs for most of these solutions  
supplant a typical hotel room fee.

>> There is no way that is happening immediately. It's a goal, but we  
>> are not trying to meet it instantly.
>   Absolutely!

Disagree.  There are solutions today that should suffice for interim  
meeting requirements.  There are weaknesses in some of these schemes.   
The WebEx Event product offers a Question/Answer window that is  
different from that of the WebEx Meeting demonstrated in the trial.   
However, while the client for the Event Center supports integrated  
VoIP, this feature is not ported to OSX.  VoIP should be okay when the  
person speaking is highly regimented (the only participant not muted),  
otherwise audio quality suffers.  For this, the WebEx Event product  
can start participants initially muted.

For smaller groups, WebEx Meeting using a telephone bridge works well,  
but it does not offer a Q & A window.  Raising a hand icon is only  
seen by the presenter.  This will likely frustrate participants who  
would like to make a point, but feel ignored by a likely distracted  
host.  A question queue seems an important requirement to assure  
participants they are being given a fair chance.  Otherwise, the floor  
is likely to ceded to those willing to ask for forgiveness rather than  
permission.  The chat and window control for remote participants does  
not compare favorably to a simpler jabber client.  On the other hand,  
the polling feature is very nice and allows participation in "hums."

>> Since there already are virtual interim meetings, here too we do  
>> not have to have an "immediate" deadline.
>   I wasn't thinking of a "deadline" -- more a "milestone".
>> That's why I think we can and should target capabilities beyond  
>> what the IETF currently use, balancing against easy, reliable use  
>> so that folks will not feel that it is a burden to participate.
>   Of course, if we're _really_ thinking "after 2013," we can afford  
> to concentrate more on open-standard tools than on currently- 
> marketed proprietary tools...

The focus should be on what it takes to standardize on the video  
presentation, as that should be something well suited for low  
bandwidth streaming.  In addition, something like Vonage or Skype feed  
to the room PA can support remote presentations.   Perhaps a voice- 
mail feature at a separate number would also provide a type of  
microphone queue.   A separate line might allow a presenter a means to  
request further elaboration and to have it exchanged verbally.  Two  
VoIP lines supported by each net-box should represent less cost and  
bandwidth than a phone bridge.  A phone bridge intended for non- 
regimented exchanges is likely to be problematic when dealing with  
VoIP or cellular phones.

>   Maybe we need to "formalize" some informal goals / milestones?

Every meeting room uses a digital projector to display sides.  A net- 
box attached to each of these projectors offers a means to make remote/ 
local video sources common.  In this way, presentation material can be  
updated at the last minute, and presenters would not be required to  
read slide numbers (which is rarely done).

To support 15 rooms, hardware costs would be from $4,500 to $10,000  
that range from Asus N202 to Mac minis.  Streaming a sequence of  
changed gif files can capture a presentation window and not require  
much bandwidth for fairly static images.  There are many examples of  
this type of technique demonstrated on various exotic sites for  
example.  :^)  WebEx and Adobe Connect use Flash which works well for  
this purpose, but is not an open standard, albeit widely supported.

The immediate goal should be to support  "remote-participation  
friendly" meetings in Stockholm.  This really seems to imply  
standardizing on video slide and audio streaming.  Remote speakers or  
presenters can be supported by VoIP output by the projector netbox  
selectively enabled into the room PA.  XMPP should fill any gaps.

Interim meetings represent an entirely different environment and  
problem set.  Interim meetings may eventually become a selection of  
existing remote meeting products.  the WebEx Event center looks well  
suited, but the VoIP for OSX should be fixed in order to deal with  
large groups.