Posts Tagged ‘online_conferencing’
Yesterday some of the RSC NW team went to see the team based at the University of Manchester who make up the Janet Access Grid Support Centre (AGSC). I must admit that I went along not knowing an awful lot about it, but had a suspicion that a number of years ago I attended a meeting that was held in “The Grid” (sounds ominous). Following the meeting I was absolutely amazed by the potential for the technology.
The Access Grid (AG); according to the AGSC website (http://www.agsc.ja.net) is:
“… in simple terms is an advanced videoconferencing application that uses audio and video tools allowing people in different locations worldwide to meet in a virtual venue (virtual meeting room). In these virtual venues participants can see and speak to each other in realtime, use online chat and share applications simultaneously.”
There’s very little needed to get started in the AG and it can be quite cheap. Don’t get me wrong, I think that the AG would definitely be overkill for an awful lot of what could easily be done in a Web Conferencing tool such as Dimdim or Adobe Connect, but for a collaborative meeting I suspect you couldn’t get a better service – especially with the free 9-5 support provided by the AGSC team.
I’ve just had a look at free software that was shown to us yesterday called Evo http://evo.caltech.edu/evoGate/. It’s easy to install, free, and; just using a microphone and web cam; I easily went into one of the virtual venues on the grid. Didn’t cost me a bean :) There’s a beginners guide to setting it up on the AGSC website http://www.ja.net/services/video/agsc/services/evo.html There are other software packages available to get onto the Grid, but I thought I’d start here. The other free one is the Access Grid Toolkit.
I could really get into this for meetings and it’s a way of being green. It’s a real shame though at present that all attendees need to install software before accessing the grid so at present it restricts how we can use it. We always try wherever possible to use technology that doesn’t require installs to ensure that any restrictions to installing software do not impede anyone taking part.
If you would like to join me in the grid to see how it works, then drop me a line. I think the potential for meetings with this technology is huge and I would like to keep testing it for while to see what we can do. Maybe, at some point, we should try piloting it for a meeting with one of the library circles? What do others think?