[AfrICANN-discuss] Nairobi, details on remote participation

Anne-Rachel Inné annerachel at gmail.com
Thu Feb 18 13:24:33 SAST 2010

 Remote Participation for Nairobi: Details Available


As some of you will have already noticed, remote participation details  are
in the process of being posted on the ICANN Nairobi site.

Work on the remote participation for Nairobi began for me on the first day
of December when I took up the post of Senior Director for Participation and
Engagement, as the Board’s Public Participation Committee asked me to
propose the suite of remote participation options for Nairobi. They, and the
staff, clearly understood that we would likely see a considerable increase
in the use of remote participation in Nairobi.

What was proposed, and after consultation with the PPC and internally with
the Meetings team and other colleagues, was a different underlying approach.
That approach is based upon the following principles:

*A more standardised approach* – we’ve divided up the different sessions
into classes, and then given each class of meeting a set of basic services
in common. We’ve ensured flexibility by adding to this a set of additional
services available on request. Where that doesn’t provide enough flexibility
and where special needs exist, additional services can be requested.

For example, where a key presenter at a session is unable to attend the
physical meeting, we’ve had good results with them attending via Skype, with
their audio connected to the public address system and video displayed

This standardisation provides participants with advance notice of what they
can expect as remote participants (and as a result they can then plan their
attendance further in advance) and allows ICANN to announce remote
participation for all meetings much earlier.
If you are interested in seeing the matrix of services to see how different
classes of sessions’ remote participation needs have been accommodated, you
can retrieve it in PDF format here:

*A more level playing field for participants irrespective of the bandwidth
they have.* Both those with high bandwidth connections and those with more
limited connections will find tools available to help them participate
remotely. We’ve also reduced the bandwidth required for many services and
provided more flexible choices for remote participants. For example,
participants are able to choose a low-bandwidth streaming audio feed (for
those sessions that support streaming audio) that requires 75% less
bandwidth than it did at previous meetings.

*Work to create a more equivalent experience between those participating ‘in
the room’ at a session and those outside.* Several measures have been taken
to help integrate remote participants on a more equal level to those in the
room. Everyone knows that there are many elements to a meeting that cannot
be experienced remotely but ICANN is working to ‘narrow the gap’ between
those in the room and those who are not.

*Services should be designed in a way that does not require the installation
of  software on the remote participant’s computer or device, and which
provides the same features on all supported operating systems or platforms.*
 **This is for several reasons, amongst them being: the need to allow people
on devices as diverse as mobile handhelds, office computers, the use of many
different operating systems across the ICANN community – and most
importantly, so that everyone is treated equally. Wherever possible and
reasonable, we look for open source / open standards-based products and

*In order to create a more coherent virtual attendance experience, all
services will be setup per room, not per session*. Amongst other benefits,
this makes it easier for participants to bookmark URLs for remote
participation services. It also helps give remote participation an
underlying relationship to the physical meeting, as the remote participation
‘rooms’ in Adobe Connect, for example, have the same names as the physical
meeting rooms do.

*Monitoring Services during Sessions*. A key part of ensuring the remote
participation experience works well is ensuring that services are monitored
– from a technical perspective but also in respect of the participants’
experience. In order to do this, technical staff in-room will be connected
to the chatroom for meetings with chat facilities so that remote
participants can identify problems they experience (for example, that audio
volume is too low for certain speakers on audio streams).
 Services Offered

For details on the services available in Nairobi, look at the Remote
Participation Services page at
participation <http://nbo.icann.org/remote-participation>.

It is worth noting that remote participation depends upon the Internet to
work, in much the same way as the work of ICANN depends upon it day in and
day out.  If there is an Internet service outage at the venue, for example,
that will mean an outage for all remote participants until connectivity is
 How Everyone Can Help

The best technical provisions can only get us so far. Remote participation
requires those in the room to be a part of making remote participants’
contributions valuable:

   - *Leading or organising a session in Nairobi?* Ensure you remember to
   include remote participants’ questions and comments on an equal basis to
   in-room participants

   - *Presenting at a session?* Ensure your materials are sent to the
Staff <mtg-presentations at icann.org>48
   hours in advance, so remote participants can retrieve them and so they are
   ready for presentation in the Adobe Connect ‘virtual meeting’.

   - *Attending sessions, either remotely or in person?* Join the chatroom
   for all the sessions you attend – engage with the other attendees. If you
   are physically present, help bring the views of remote participants to the
   attention of those in the room, especially if that room doesn’t have a
   member of staff tasked with attending the chatroom to raise remote
   participants’ perspectives.

Resources and Links

We’ve put together a selection of resources related to remote participation,
with more to come. Here’s a selection of URLs that should be useful

   - Remote Participation Services Matrix:
   - Explanation of Remote Participation Services and Concepts:
   http://nbo.icann.org/remote- <http://nbo.icann.org/remote-participation>
   participation <http://nbo.icann.org/remote-participation>
   - Feedback address for participants: remote-participation at icann.org
   - Remote Participation Summary in presentation format: Nairobi Remote

Stay tuned, there will be more details coming soon.
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