streaming versus two-way conferencing

Conversations around originating a webcast for conference, including cameras and mixers.
pwhiting-p40
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streaming versus two-way conferencing

Postby pwhiting-p40 » Fri Jan 19, 2007 10:04 pm

The problem we are focused on with the current building-to-building effort is to allow site-to-multisite one-way streams. Yesterday someone voiced a strong opinion that we instead should be providing multisite-to-multisite two-way interactive communications (video conferencing) - allowing speakers to be in each of the participating buildings. The tradeoff involves some quality (smaller buffers due to real-time constraints) and perhaps some reliability (due to the added complexity). I'm interested in your opinions/views wrt this tradeoff. How important is it to have multiple source locations?

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Postby WelchTC » Sat Jan 20, 2007 4:28 am

I personally find it distracting if the video is not smooth or is grainy. I then tend to lean towards having audio only.

Tom

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Postby aclawson » Sat Jan 20, 2007 7:47 am

Two-way streaming is nice, but not necessary at this time. The critical aspect is to be able to send from the stake center to a distant ward building during stake conferences, not necessarily the other way around.

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Postby russellhltn » Sat Jan 20, 2007 3:51 pm

What's the application? I've heard of stakes in the US that are hundreds of miles across. Being able to hold leadership meetings in different buildings connected together would greatly help the HC and other leaders by reducing the amount of time spent on the road going to/from their regular meetings.

Obviously, the quality settings for such an application are going to be different then for a stake conference where it's one-way.

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Postby pwhiting-p40 » Sun Jan 21, 2007 8:09 pm

RussellHltn wrote:What's the application?


The application we are focused on is stake meetings - both in stakes where the members can't fit in a single building and in stakes where travel makes it difficult for all members to gather to a single location. As a general rule, the number of participants in an event influences the need for interactivity. If only a few people are involved the need for interactivity is high - if several thousand are involved then the only way to manage the event is to make it non-interactive. For stake conferences there are enough participants that the venue doesn't need to be interactive, but the specific question we are talking about here is even if the event isn't going to be interactive, do we need to support speakers from each participating building? This could be useful if the core problem is travel and not capacity - in such situations the speakers may experience the same travel hardship the general membership does. On the flip side - forcing a few speakers to travel an hour or two is different than asking a few hundred members to do the same.

For the smaller stake events, like a high council meeting, where interactivity is important we need to remember there are more simple solutions that may meet the need (audio conferencing comes to mind.)

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Postby russellhltn » Mon Jan 22, 2007 1:49 am

pwhiting wrote:For stake conferences there are enough participants that the venue doesn't need to be interactive, but the specific question we are talking about here is even if the event isn't going to be interactive, do we need to support speakers from each participating building? This could be useful if the core problem is travel and not capacity - in such situations the speakers may experience the same travel hardship the general membership does. On the flip side - forcing a few speakers to travel an hour or two is different than asking a few hundred members to do the same.


Well, let's think about the complexity of allowing this kind of "interactivity". (Not really interactive, but allowing the changing of where the speaker is located.): I would expect that at the two sites that are changing roles, the audio/video feed would need to be changed between "remote" to "local" as the audio/video delay introduced at the live site would be unacceptable if the screen and sound system were still being fed by the broadcast system. In fact, the delay could make the handoff itself a bit awkward - how much time is buffered in the digital system? One second or ten? Plus there may be lighting changes needed as the sites change from live speaker with TV camera lighting to a video screen.

If you're running a direct stream, the other sites that are not changing roles would need to change their "source". -OR- both sites would be sending the video and someone at a head-end reflector would be doing the switching (sounds like a paid employee). Keep in mind this needs to be a system simple enough to allow others to duplicate and for replacement geeks to be found among the membership as the experienced geeks move on in life or callings.

All in all, it sounds like a lot of things to have happen and it's leaving a big opening for Murphy to make a cameo appearance. So in my opinion, it would be best to stick to a non-interactive format. If it's really a problem for the speakers, they can pre-tape their talks. Having the broadcast site change from camera to VCR is a lot simpler the the stuff I described above.

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Postby aclawson » Mon Jan 22, 2007 7:16 pm

For HC meetings get a decent speakerphone and network the old fashioned way with AT&T.

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For the smaller, interactive meetings...

Postby JamesAnderson » Tue Jan 23, 2007 2:34 pm

Someone mentioned wanting something for rather small, interactive meetings. Here's what the Utah Valley PAF User's Group board did when two of their board members could not attend the meeting earlier this month or late last. It's an odd workaround, but it worked in this case.

Thanks to Renee Zamora for the information on what was done. This was in her genealogy blog.

"I wasn't able to make it to the meeting again this month so I attended remotely by Skype. There were two other board members that attended by Skype too. I felt like I took better notes being able to hear the board members at the meeting and also the comments from those on Skype. To bad I don't have a laptop to sign into Skype while at the meeting. We also had two other board members not at the meeting that talked to us over the phone. One member at the meeting used his cell phone and put it on speaker phone so everyone could hear. Even though I was on Skype I could hear the member over the speaker phone with no problem. It is just amazing what technology can do for us."

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quick question on this thread

Postby jfabiano-p40 » Thu Jan 25, 2007 5:00 am

What are the assumptions regarding infrastructure available to solve this problem? Current infrastructure I'm aware of at stake and ward buildings are:
- voice line(s)
- satellite downlink (dish & receiver)
- Is there assumed budget for anything else?
It seems to me that without some additional equipment/infrastructure that there are some limits to what can be done to solve this beyond a phone conference as discussed earlier in the blog. If there were a reasonably sized internet connection (T1 upload speeds) then a gateway to the church's satelilte broadcast system could be set up so the satellite receive dish could be used at the remote buildings for one-way meeting sharing. The same could be done with a high-speed internet connection at both ends and leave the satellite system out of it, but the budget costs start to mount then. The satellite bandwidth is already "sunk" and is not used that heavily. Also I agree with earlier posts that interactive sessions between buildings are not that practical for large meetings such as stake conference. However, if there were a practical need that justfied the effort video conferencing systems available now will allow for participation from multiple locations without requiring a human at the switch, but you do have to purchase switching equipment to conduct these sessions. It would be expensive for the budget of a single stake but centrally operated at the church and fed through the satellite bandwidth as the outbound link to the participating buildings so each unit had only the last mile cost of their internet connection it would not be that bad. However, it would probably be more reasonable to just have the stake use an internet link to a gateway on the church's satellite system, book a 1.5 Mb slice of bandwidth for their conference and keep the conference on a one-way link for now would be far more affordable and save a lot of travel.

Is it possible to start a thread on some suggestions I have for how to improve things for general conference distribution? Or is it best to post those to this thread?

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Postby thedqs » Thu Jan 25, 2007 7:28 am

jfabiano wrote:What are the assumptions regarding infrastructure available to solve this problem? Current infrastructure I'm aware of at stake and ward buildings are:
- voice line(s)
- satellite downlink (dish & receiver)
- Is there assumed budget for anything else?

In most of of Utah Stake Centers there is a DSL connection that goes to the Family History Center in the building.

jfabiano wrote:Is it possible to start a thread on some suggestions I have for how to improve things for general conference distribution? Or is it best to post those to this thread?


Start another Thread, different topic, different thread.
- David


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