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Re: [802SEC] Status on Whitespace Electronic Participation Experiment (Update 2)


My opinion remains.

The best that can be hoped for with remote participation at this level of tools is somewhat handicapped observation.

Doing presentations from afar is pretty ineffective, if not hopeless in terms of convincing a body of people in a room about something, much less entering into a true interactive discussion.


At 08:48 PM 1/25/2009 , Sherman, Matthew J. (US SSA) wrote:
EC and Whitespace Members,

I just wanted to give some feedback on the experiment. It closed out on Thursday, but given my redeye flight and other commitments I haven't been able to report out till now.

Overall, Thursday wasn't much different then Wednesday. The basic teleconference and webex presentation facilities worked well. Occasionally people needed slight reminders to talk louder, etc. But it was very workable.

Things got a bit flustered when a participant made a couple of surprise motions. Per prior agreement, the webex participants were not allowed to vote. So we had traditional hand votes which went fine but required a little explanation to the electronic participants.

The one clear failure in the experiment was the polling facility. We tried it Wednesday, and had operating difficulties. We tried it again Thursday for strawpolls to collect data for the experiment. Again we were caught by the need to change presenters and who was projecting, etc. It is very cumbersome if you don't keep all that interaction on one machine. We got farther along this time. We pre-prepared the polling questions, and actually did launch the polls. Unfortunately the questions had not been saved properly and there was an error in one of the questions. Also, we invited all the in-room participants to take the stawpoll via the webex. This did not work well at all. Some participants were still unsure of how to get into the webex. Others started the process, but required downloads that were going to take '40 minutes'. In the end, we were only able to collect partial data, so I feel it better to just call the poll invalid, and run the stawpolls again to collect the data. I will give participants the option of doing it electronically on the next call, or in written form.

I will provide a more formal slide set to the EC for the March meetings. My personal view is that electronic participation is very workable for teleconference and presentations, but the polling facility needs no work. I'd like to have an electronic voting capability at meetings anyway, so in my opinion the next experiment should be to try out a web based voting system that could be accessed from inside and outside of the meeting. I don't think I have the time to purse this in the near future. I do believe that any formal electronic participation at interims will require payment of attendance fees, so we'd need to establish a way of doing that as well. Obviously much more discussion is required prior to us formally allowing this (if at all).

Best regards,


Matthew Sherman
Chair, IEEE802 Whitespace ECSG
BAE Systems -  Network Systems (NS)
Office: +1 973.633.6344
Cell: +1 973.229.9520


From: Sherman, Matthew J. (US SSA)
Sent: Thursday, January 22, 2009 11:21 AM
Subject: RE: Status on Whitespace Electronic Participation Experiment
(Update 1)

EC and Whitespace Members:

Here is a quick update on the Electronic Participation Experiment.
Yesterday was a smaller crowd.  I estimate 60 in the room (there was
flux and not everyone registers attendance), and 16 on the webex.  We
tried to run things less formally to see what would happen.  There were
a couple of hiccups with one or two individuals on the teleconference
forgetting the established etiquettes and ultimately requiring
reminders.  But it was not particularly disruptive.  I would say most of
the meeting went smoothly.  I felt it moved a little faster than the
prior day by that is very subjective and other might not agree.

We completed our agenda a bit early and went to experiment with the
electronic stawpolls.  We had a problem in that I had to be presenter
rather than Steve to compose the stawpolls. In retrospect I probably
should have ask Steve to compose them.  When I did take control of the
presentations on my PC, I needed to project the screen for the room as
well, and that caused my screen format to change which prevented me from
finding some of the buttons I needed. So I couldn't set up the
stawpolls.  Eventually I figured out that when I disconnect the
projector from my computer I can find all the right buttons and compose
the poll.  By the time I got the poll composed, at least one individual
had gone to the mike and complained that this was a waste of people's
time and money.  I don't recall if the person was referring to the
nature of the question being polled, or the general process itself (I
think he was mostly objecting to the question being polled).
Regardless, the polling did not go smoothly.

We will attempt the polling process again today and be better prepared.
Yesterday was a good warm-up!



Matthew Sherman
Chair, IEEE802 Whitespace ECSG
BAE Systems -  Network Systems (NS)
Office: +1 973.633.6344
Cell: +1 973.229.9520


From: Sherman, Matthew J. (US SSA)
Sent: Wednesday, January 21, 2009 12:58 AM
Subject: [WHITESPACE] Status on Whitespace Electronic Participation

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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