13 September 2011
ITU Pioneers New Remote Participation Platform

Source: International Telecommunications Union

ITU-D Study Group Members Can Now Collaborate in Several Languages, From Just About Anywhere in the World

ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau is pioneering a cutting-edge remote participation platform that will allow the members of ITU-D Study Groups to join meetings remotely and collaborate in the six official ITU languages, with full simultaneous interpretation.
The new platform is based around the Adobe Connect software suite, with compatible pods provided by Refined Data Solutions Inc. in partnership with ZipDX (multilingual functionality) and Caption First (captioning). It will be offered for the first time at the next round of ITU-D Study Group meetings taking place from 5-16 September.
Participants in Study Group 1 on Enabling environment, cybersecurity, ICT applications and Internet-related issues, and in Study Group 2 on Information and communication infrastructure and technology development, emergency telecommunications and climate-change adaptation, simply need log on using a standard web browser to join the meeting from any location that has a good quality high-speed connection.
Logging onto the system will take participants into a ‘virtual meeting room’, where they can see a list of participants, interact with others via online chat and video links, and view PowerPoint presentations and other meeting documents. ITU interpretation services mean verbal interventions can be made in any of the supported languages. For the first round of meetings, the system will support Chinese, English and French.

The new platform will greatly enrich the quality of discussions at ITU-D Study Group meetings, narrowing the ‘participation gap’ which tends to favour participants from wealthier nations, and allowing many more people from different countries and cultures to join the discussion. For the first time, remote experts who may not be regular members of a national delegation can also to be called upon to give advice on complex topics.

The innovation also represents a significant milestone in ITU’s efforts to become carbon neutral, reducing or even eliminating the need for delegates to travel to and from meetings.

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