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[802SEC] Status on Whitespace Electronic Participation Experiment

EC and Whitespace Members,


The electronic participation experiment is not over yet.  It will be
running for two more days but here are some early observations.


Overall I felt one participant best summed it up saying 'it works, but
the pace is that of a large meeting with a couple of hundred people'.  I
agreed with this opinion, but others may feel differently.  We were able
to make study progress, but it felt like we were in a larger 802.11 or
802.16 session.  In actuality we had about 90 people in the room and 20
on the webex.  


The hybrid device which allows the phone line to couple to the PA system
and vice versa I feel is essential for any large in-person meeting.  It
seems to generally work well.  Installing it wasn't very difficult, but
I did need to request some cables from the hotels A/V staff to get it
plugged in.  We had some initial leveling problems when we started the
meeting today.  I believe these were all resolved within about 15
minutes and hope to have no start up issues when we start tomorrow.


It was strongly recommended that we use Microphones with switches on
them.  I did try everything out last night and requested the hotel staff
to switch out the mikes in the room (which had no switches) with mikes
that did.  This was slightly problematic since they don't normally use
mikes with switches, but they eventually found a couple of older mikes
with switches that worked fine.  In the end, we left the mikes on all
the time.  There did not seem to be a need to switch them on and off.
But since different hotels will have different equipment, it might not
be a bad idea in general.


Steve Shellhammer chaired the meeting, and I focused on making sure the
electronic participation ran as smoothly as possible.  Unfortunately,
Steve and I weren't quite prepared enough.  We had some connectivity
problems that had nothing to do with the experiment, and we had to
switch rolls a couple of times so I could present documents.  This was a
bit awkward with us occasionally having the wrong screen projected, and
some dead time while we switched roles.  It wasn't a show killer, but it
make for some slightly awkward moments.  We understand the issues a
little better now, so we should be better prepared for tomorrow.  My
take away was that we don't really need two people to run the show.
Rather we need one person with two screens.  There is too much info to
monitor it all on a single screen, but it isn't really that bad to
monitor if you have two screens.  I started monitoring both Steve's
screen and mine, and it didn't seem that hard to follow the
presentations and still monitor the webex.  However, I only have one
screen on my computer right now (no one seems to have brought a spare
monitor) so I can't try running the show from a single computer.


We did not get a chance to run any straw polls today, but we will
tomorrow.  Also, the room we are in only has bandwidth (and seating)
provisioned for 75 people, and we were close to 100 at points.  I wanted
to pull everyone in the room onto the webex to see what would happen to
the network but not everyone had access to the webex info, so we didn't
try.  I will post it more widely for tomorrow.


Overall, we had one presenter who was fully remote.  While they couldn't
always get feedback from the crowd, overall I felt the presentation went
well.  It was very interactive, with dialogue from both the floor and
the webex.  We did some local presentations with substantial dialogue
across the webex and from the floor and that worked well too.  Everyone
on the webex did a great job of sticking with the etiquettes we
established.  We used the chat window to request the floor, and it
worked very well.  A number of participants would send private messages
to me.  This was a bit un-nerving since you wanted to respond privately
but were always a little concerned you'd accidently broadcast to
everyone.  Not that anything really need to be private, so in generally
I'd encourage everyone to use the public chat and only send private
messages when absolutely necessary.


So we aren't done yet, but we seemed to have survived the first day
okay.  I'll provide incremental feedback as we go.


Regards to all,




Matthew Sherman, Ph.D. 
Engineering Fellow 
BAE Systems -  Network Systems (NS) 
Office: +1 973.633.6344 
Cell: +1 973.229.9520 


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