Last Modified: 2004-10-28
Summary of the IETF-TV BoF
BoF Chair: Ole Jacobsen
Notes taken by: Aaron Falk
The purpose of the IETF-TV BoF was to discuss in what way multimedia capture of IETF meetings would best serve the community. Multicast was used by volunteers to provide audio and digital whiteboard tools starting in 1992. Tools and encoding formats evolved over the years until the present day where two rooms at each IETF are covered using MPEG-1 video and H.261/PCM audio four additional rooms with MP3 audio only. The streams are made available using ASM and SSM multicast (some individuals provide unicast reflectors) and the files are post-processed and stored in an online repository for viewing after the meeting.
At IETF-60, there were about 20 "viewers" per meeting (ed: IETF or wg meeting?) with a peak of about 70. Feedback from the audio-only sessions was that it was hard to follow the meeting without some visual feedback, preferably the ability to view the slides. There have been 100's to 1000's of downloads of online files.
The staffing and travel and equipment expenses have been borne by University of Oregon (UofO) with some assistance from Cisco and the IETF Chair fund. Typical requirements are 6 weeks/year for preparation; staffing and post-processing, 4-6 people (historically students) to operate the equipment during the IETF meeting; $10k for shipping (ed: per meeting? per year?); bandwidth for streaming and download (broadband, real-time bandwidth and server requirements are non-trivial). However, most of the expense is associated with the video capture: camera operators (labor and travel) and specialized equipment are required. The UofO is unwilling to shoulder staffing, and has run out of Cisco-provided funding that allowed their staff to travel and ship their equipment. The UofO never provided any significant financial support outside of staff. Several questions therefore arise:
What problem is being solved by this service? Remote participation? Broadcast to a remote (non-participatory) audience? Creating a public record?
It is estimated that a professional staff would cost about ~$50k/meeting (based on similar hotel events). Various strategies of cost recovery were discussed including increasing meeting fees (~$25), charging online viewers ($100), selling CDs (~$100ea) or finding sponsors (~$25k/yr). There was a general conclusion that some form of service is useful and of interest but there were no clear recommendations identifying a primary audience or of cost recovery.
No working group will be created from this BoF.