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Re: 5th and 6th f2f locations

From: Peter F. Patel-Schneider <pfps@research.bell-labs.com>
Date: Thu, 29 Aug 2002 09:25:50 -0400 (EDT)
Message-Id: <20020829.092550.111949544.pfps@research.bell-labs.com>
To: dlm@KSL.Stanford.EDU
Cc: welty@us.ibm.com, www-webont-wg@w3.org

From: Deborah McGuinness <dlm@KSL.Stanford.EDU>
Subject: Re: 5th and 6th f2f locations
Date: Wed, 28 Aug 2002 23:19:30 -0700

[...]

> In the spirit of compromise, let me provide a few data points that I have
> participated in large meetings via videolink (from stanford's video
> teleconferencing facility) that have worked well, small meetings via video as
> well (via stanford's facility as well as kinko's).  Kinko's was extremely
> professional and very effective.
> Also we have used white board pens effectively for remote work.
> with a good speakerphone, irc, wireless lan, and some way to see a white board
> (pens or video),
> I think this could work well.

[...]

I too have had experience in video conferencing.  I find them uniformly
less productive than a face-to-face meeting.  The only situation that I
have experienced where video conferencing comes close to the productivity
of a face-to-face meeting is where the meeting consists almost entirely of
long presentations, with only limited questions of the speaker.  If the
meeting is small and well-run (like a staff meeting) then video
conferencing is noticeably worse than a face-to-face meeting, but not too
far off.

However, if the meeting has a significant number of participants, many of
the participants will be presenting, discussion is expected to be
free-form, and the group may break up into smaller groups, a standard
video conference is dramatically less efficient than a face-to-face
meeting.  As I would hope that our 5th meeting will have all of these
aspects, I would vote against having a split meeting with standard
videoconferencing services.

The above comments do not apply for an advanced videoconferencing setup,
where arbitrary subgroups can set up separate videoconferencing channels,
including shared marking spaces.  I have no experience with such setups and
thus have no idea of their effectiveness. 


Peter F. Patel-Schneider
Bell Labs Research
Received on Thursday, 29 August 2002 09:26:02 GMT

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