The following are the outputs of the real-time captioning taken during the Tenth Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in João Pessoa, Brazil, from 10 to 13 November 2015. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the event, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
>> BERTRAND: I don't know if we need the mics. Yeah. No, so this is ‑‑ first of all, this is a new format for the IGF. I don't think it has been located as such ‑‑ Joe? It has been located as such. It is supposed to be raising the flag saying there's a topic. Anybody who's interested can come. I suppose that we're the last day and that there is a lot of overlapping workshops, but the goal of this session is basically to explore just a little bit problem that I'm trying to phrase as follows: We're talking about Internet Governance. We're talking about issues that are largely transnational, that are discussed when we gather everybody together in the watering hole that the IGF is every year. And we are all confronted with the problem of how do we work on an ongoing basis? How do we organise the work of Working Group?
And I was discussing with David Cake yesterday, and we were saying: It's fascinating that we're still using tools that have more than 20 years, if not more, we're still using mainly mailing lists. We have made tremendous progress with easy conferencing software, be it Skype, Hangout, Zoom or any other, but the methodology of working together is still in its infancy for groups that are distributed around the world.
And the other element is that the more we practice those things, the more we understand that when there are real, very good quality video conferencing capacities, it changes the nature of the it's the moment where you don't think about the technology anymore, it is there and you work.
And so the idea was just to explore first what are the current practices for people like us who either organise or participate in Working Group?
What are the key problems?
And what are the possible ways forward?
And one of the things is that today international corporation in physical rooms is mostly done in international organizations who have the buildings and the spaces. And one of the ideas is: Why wouldn't it be possible to think about networking those physical facilities that the international organizations have around the world, have very good equipment for video conferencing and allowing working groups that are working on Internet Governance to leverage some of those spaces? That's one of the ideas to explore.
But first maybe let's start with just the practical experience.
James, you're at ISOC in charge of communications in general. Can you tell me more, tell us more about the practice and how you do the online work? And also you organise the intercommunity which was a big event that gathered people really around the world in a collaborative manner. How's the practice and the problems?
>> JAMES: So as Bertrand said I look out for communications at the Internet Society. We have begun an exercise and project this year in using video conferencing tools more effectively. And I think it's fair to say that this has been hugely successful for us. And it has redefined the way we work as an organisation around the world. To give you an idea, we started out in January/February with 150 or so meetings over the course of a month. And now we've climbed to increase to nearly 500.
>> Bertrand: Sorry. When you say 150 meetings, Bob, please come over there. Anne, if you want to come here, you are highly welcome, really. It's a perfect addition.
Yeah, you say you started with 150 video conferencing and moved to ‑‑
>> James: Yeah, at this point the vast majority of our work is happening via collaborative work. Video conferencing and one in particular, you mentioned Zoom, that's really driving the way we are working from this point. But from my perspective, I am a user of the tool, and I can tell you that I find it very difficult now to have a phone conversation. Zoom and video conferencing and working in that virtual environment has become second nature to me. And that happened very fast.
>> Bertrand: So that's maybe the moment to make a distinction between two types of tools or practices. One is the video conferencing in general, which is just the equivalent of a physical meeting where people are exchanging.
The other side, which is slightly different, and can be done at the same time, but anything that is related to the production of something, like the drafting, the drafting of documents.
But as far as video conferencing is concerned, Miguel?
>> I can talk.
>> I'm Michael Nelson, I work for cloud flare which is a web security company in San Francisco. I'm based in Washington, so I spent a lot of time online with my colleagues. But my experience comes partly from academia where I was working at Georgetown and also from the Internet Society D. C. chapter, which has been very innovative in doing webcasts and trying to make them more than just a broadcast medium. So we have brought people into the room as presenters and we've done a lot of Q & A. We don't do lectures. We do discussions. We don't have panelists. We have discussion starters. People typically talk for three or four minutes and then engage with the audience and the audience is in the room and remote just like this conference. I mean, I think this is actually the most important session of the whole IGF.
>> Michael: Because it could really spark a lot of good ideas and change the way we do things going forward. And I do hope ‑‑ I'm almost certain there are more people watching than are around the table. But the distinction has to be made, as you just did, are you broadcasting content? Or are you trying to get people to work together to create something, whether it's a document, a programme, a PowerPoint presentation?
The IETF, of course, is the oldest and in many ways the most successful virtual organisation. And they rely on 20‑year‑old tools called listserves and email. And because the community is familiar with that and they've all grown up with it, that works very well.
But for many people who don't know each other, where you don't know each other and don't get together every four months to make those contacts, face‑to‑face is incredibly important.
When I was at CSC as a consultant, every , our small team of 7 people got on a Google Hangout and just hung out. It was the hour where we just shared how our week went. And that spontaneous kind of sharing is really important.
When we design interconferences, the intercommunity, we usually don't think about the equivalent of a hallway conversation of the but if we really want to do this right, we have the big broadcast mode like we've been having in the main meeting hall. We have the smaller sessions like this where people are talking back and forth. And then we have a push here to step in the hallway button. And we can now do that.
>> Bertrand: The water cooler equivalent.
>> Michael: Right. But just having us meet at the most sophisticated facilities and all sharing the same experience is about 30 percent of what we could do. I think in the end this is going to have to be something where we want it on the desktop and on the laptop. The challenge is going to be getting enough connectivity and training for the people we really want to bring to the meeting who can't afford to come here. And those are the people in the developing countries or the NGOs who don't have the travel budget but might also not have 110 megs. I know that when ISOC first started doing these video conferences for the Board about five years ago, they had a member who was on a south Pacific island. He consumed the entire country's bandwidth when he got on these board calls. And luckily it was at in the morning, but it still was a problem.
>> I think you raised some really interesting points. I want to cover some of what you said, and you, too.
I think a lot of the meetings that we've had and the reason for the growth and the increase in our use of them has been exactly that kind of spontaneous water cooler meeting. And we do use it. I know on my team, people will hop on Zoom without thinking about it. My team is extremely distributed. We are a global organisation in a physical sense, as well. And people use Zoom to chat with each other as and when it suits them. We don't need to schedule. And it's important sometimes to have meetings that don't necessarily have an agenda.
I think there are some important considerations to bear in mind when thinking about any of these kinds of things. This really is an initiative or IT business. And they've approached this extremely rationally, understanding that the tool needs to be extremely easy for everybody to use.
Adoption will only happen because people aren't intimidated by the technology.
And in decision to that, you touched on the need to differentiate between video conferencing and broadcasting and collaborative working. Something like Zoom will allow you to collaborate around a document. You can share your screen. You can record the meeting. You can make edits. You can actually work within the platform to achieve your objectives. And on the technology front, we find that overall bandwidth required per individual is no more than about 3 megabits per second now. And if you turn video off, that will go down to one.
>> Michael: One other feature we should think about. And I think we could generate a lot of attention by using online polling during talks to bring people into the experience to make sure they're paying attention but also to generate real interesting insights in a big meeting. If you're doing the broadcast, it's nice to have a place where the speaker can say: Okay, I've explained to you my position on X. Do you agree or disagree? The most effective use of this was the old agenda meetings where they used clickers. Everybody had wireless clickers. And they would do a survey of like five questions with the top people in the industry, and who thought Microsoft would beat Apple, this was during the 90s. This was during the talks, but during the meetings, you could vote more time for the speaker or cut him off. If he got lots of rankings, the clock would speed up.
>> Bertrand: I would like to ask Bob with Cisco. Cisco has a range of products from very different capacities, including the very top range that used to be called, I don't know if it's still the name, teleconference. The question of the band width capacity and the capacity of the technology to make it not something that has to be fine‑tuned every time, but that becomes so self‑evident that you don't even think about it, how do you proceed that? Without making a competition between the different tools?
>> Bob: No. It's very similar. We used to have separate tools that now have been integrated. So we used to have.
>> Bertrand: That's important.
>> We used to have telepresence very high end video conferencing. Essentially it's like sitting in a conference room anywhere in the world, life size, face‑to‑face. You can see if somebody blinks or if there was an eye lash, you could see it.
>> Bertrand: I understand that one of the defining differences was the size, the fact that you saw people more life size.
>> Bob: We still have that. It's the high end telepresence rooms in which all of the rooms are the same, the furniture is the same, you have multiple screens. And it's voice activated. So if somebody, we could have 50, 60 different locations in which you're in that conference room and it would be as though the two of you were sitting in Paris, two more in Washington, to more in Pessoa. You had the feeling of everybody being in the same room.
We also had WebEx, which was a collaborative tool, sharing documents. And then the jabber tool.
And all of these now have become integrated. So we still have the high‑end telepresence, which is the same experience, but now what we've done is integrated video into Jabber and WebEx. And I can use my laptop, my Galaxy or iPad and enter a telepresence room through a bridge. And so for me, I'll be looking at my screen, but using the camera, which is high definition now on my Mac, I will appear full size in a telepresence room. All of these are integrated.
Now going back to your question which is the bandwidth, it's rate adaptive. It didn't used to be. So the notion of rate adaptive ‑‑ and there are times also, similar where like with Zoom, I turn off the video. Because if I'm, frankly, in a hotel in João Pessoa, my bandwidth isn't great, so what I basically do is I don't enable the video. And it's just voice. But then collaboration. Sharing of the documents, editing together and so on. And that takes much, much less band width.
But the point is the way the technology and the system, the collaborative systems are being built, a number of different ones, as well. Adobe has something. There's Zoom. But we've done and they're all basically doing them is making them rate adaptive.
And then what you can do what we're doing is integrating everything from high‑end video to voice and document sharing only based upon what you have to do. But even with the video it's rate adaptive. So if I'm in WebEx and have video in WebEx, it will appear automatically in telepresence. And what it does it changes behavior. Because, Mike, as you said, we don't think about it. That's what we do. We don't use telephones.
>> Bob: In Jabber if you see somebody in instability messaging, you click and say you can initiate within Jabber a WebEx video collaboration session.
>> Bertrand: Without going on a different track, just a side notion. It's interesting to see that we had the computer, the evolution that led to the laptops and now we're doing a lot of things on a very, very small thing. You think that there is another trend that will evolve, when you look at the price of a flat screen about that size, you think that our desks are going to contain that sort of thing to have a much stronger life size?
>> Bob: Mike says no. I actually think the answer ‑‑
>> Bertrand: Just a question.
>> Bob: When I'm at my desk at home, I have ‑‑ we number of years bought ten berg and they developed really great technology. So it's a flat panel that I use. It's essentially just plug in my laptop and so I have the big screen when I'm doing the documents. That screen also has a really very high resolution camera built into it and I use that if I'm doing telepresence.
>> Bertrand: That's what I think.
>> I can go from WebEx, to the video, for the telepresence. It will appear to me because I'm close to it life size and I will appear in telepresence.
I think it's all of the above, not either/or. The answer is yes.
>> Michael: That's why I was nodding my head. Bob is not revealing the fact that he's only home about two days a month and we have to subdivide. The mobile workers, the people who are who use their phone because 80 percent of the time that's all they got. And then there are the people, maybe a stockbroker, who sits in front of a screen all day and will want to do exactly what you talk about, push a button and talk to Malaysia.
>> Bertrand: We have 8 minutes left because I know you have the OECD Forum. Can you share the OECD both in the use of those tools but also on the more collaborative part of editing and producing documents and the methodology? Because that's another aspect. On the conferencing tools, I think there has been tremendous progress made, but on the collaboration tool themselves, I'm not sure that we have evolved yet so much.
>> We have experience in the OECD with these tools, but what I'm going to say is from user point of view. I speak just as my lawyer next to me.
So first of all before I tell you what we have in terms of collaborative tools and what of our video conferencing system, I would like to say that in terms of streams, what is ideal, in fact, is to have two or three screens.
For instance, when we work on developing a legal instrument or a report, you can have different sets of comments. Or you can have your email and then two documents. It's extremely easy to drag and drop from one to the other. That's essential. The one screen ‑‑ increasingly we have two screens on our desks just to make it easier. We're going back to I would say the physical environment where you could have papers on the table.
Okay. Our experience with conferencing, we use both WebEx and GoToMeeting. It's better than nothing but it doesn't work well. For many reasons some people join by phone. The sound can be, you know, the voice can be terribly bad. You have a lot of noise. There's only one screen, that is the master screen, that can share something. It would be wonderful if this would be improved because in an intergovernmental organisation like the OECD, we move twice a year I don't know how many, 200, we have 200 committees and bodies, multiplied by 4 plus the partners, all these people are taking a plane to come to these meetings twice a year. We've never calculated the print on the environment. But that would be tremendously useful. That would make the work also more linear intercessions.
>> Michael: You bring out the most important point which is that you're subject to the worst connection among the 50 or 100 people that are on there. You're always at the mercy of some poor person who's on a really bad.
>> It bothering everybody else. I don't know how to solve that. But the day we make progress there, it will be absolutely wonderful.
And the last thing for sharing documents, we use e‑share. So it allows several people to work on a document, but it's quite heavy, in fact. It's quite heavy. We're not yet there.
>> Bertrand: One question I wanted to ask and I'll give it to ‑‑ Internet organizations actually are very interesting test case because you have both internal staff. I don't know if OECD has a lot of offices that are distributed. Probably less than some other structures. But the committees and the groups that have to produce something, they are confronted with this problem that if you want to have the expert Working Group meeting, it's the cost of bringing people. It's the time to find the slot in the agenda and so on.
And so at the moment, the possibility of telling people, okay, you go to a hub there and have the equivalent of a telepresence or very high quality standardised system regional does not exist.
Is it something that would be interesting? And if I throw an idea like just as a hypothesis, when you look at the facilities that all international organizations have, you have some in Paris, but there are other organizations that are based in other places, would there be something that could be explored that would bring basically a very good installation in at least one or two rooms in those different organizations and allow them to network so that if for instance in Internet Governance, you have a group of 10 people, one could be in UNESCO one in OECD and so on and work together. Is that a dream?
>> I don't know whether it's a dream, but that would be wonderful if we could have at least to start with regional places where people would travel, possibly. But it would be less long.
>> Michael: We have three minutes. So make it quick.
>> James: The idea of hubs or nodes is an excellent one. To some extent I think we've proved that concept with our intercommunity event that Michael referenced beforehand. We set up 15 nodes around the world, across Africa, Latin America, Asia, Europe, and we had a thousand plus people participating in those nodes, all for the cost of one license in Zoom, which is $19.99.
So we could have had another thousand.
We've not actually really touched on costs nor have we touched on the capacity of the system. And I think these two are very clearly important factors. But for us something like this tool works really, really well. It's got so much flexibility and adaptability built in. You can take it mobile. You can probably equip a fixed conference room for around about $3,000 with high definition, enough for 20, 25 people. And you could take that around the world. It's sufficiently adaptable to move it around. So if you wanted to change the node location, you could do that easily.
>> Bertrand: One brief sentence.
>> Just to say that I'm happy to be in contact with whom ever is willing to help us. We can experiment. We have 90 departments. And in any case, if we can improve and lessen the cost of those virtual two meetings a year, that would be great.
>> James: We're talking to Zoom and we're collaborating with them in real terms to help them improve and build in even more features. They are already feature‑rich. And this is an important factor. But they're doing more work, which is great.
>> Michael: I wanted to finish with one thought, which is I boycotted the first seven IGFs because I thought that the whole process should be done online. And instead of going to the meetings, I stayed up at in the morning to watch the session so at least one person was part of the virtual community.
But we have a huge barrier. And it's not cost of the it's not bandwidth. It's DIGHATIC. This is what forces us to come: Diplomatic Internet Governance, Hotel, Airline, Taxi Industry Complex.
>> That's quite an acronym.
>> Michael: That's why we won't be able to ever get rid of having personal meetings.
>> Bertrand: Anyway, I have 55 seconds, which is absolutely perfect to say that, one, I wanted to test whether the virtual concept was a good idea. As far as I'm concerned, it worked exactly the way I hoped. I think it has identified a certain number of sub‑elements and confirmed that this is actually an issue and that there's some evolution that exists.
If you are okay, I'd be happy to try to continue this discussion maybe online.
>> Michael: Ask if those people are here for the session.
>> Bertrand: I think the people who are here came for the OECD Forum which is actually starting in 10 seconds. 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.