MSIAC to host Web-Enabled Virtual Meetings and Presentations
Over the next year MSIAC will be testing a number of digital meeting enhancements to increase the availability, frequency, and ease of access to our meetings and reports. Chief among these will be an Internet-enabled virtual meeting capability which will be used to exchange information and provide briefings.
Many of MSIAC’s staff and our colleagues throughout the international munitions safety community have participated in, organized, or chaired virtual meetings over the past few years. The technology offers a number of advantages and our community has been eager to embrace these, all the while recognizing shortcomings and security issues. We have been investigating the options available and discussing the security and access concerns with relevant NATO and national representatives. We believe that we have addressed the primary concerns and will begin testing the capability among some groups within our community in the coming months.
The virtual meetings we are pursuing will most often be one of these forms:
- Small groups (5-15 participants) with a shared desktop and highly interactive verbal, text, and video among participants and a moderator. This form is similar to a very interactive in-person meeting or teleconference.
- Large groups (50+) where a host’s presentation material, audio, and video is available to participants (so-called one-way communication), and there is potential for participants to submit questions to the chair/moderator via a text-messaging style interface. This form is similar to a formal presentation or lecture, with more limited interaction from the audience due to the size of the group. Most participants are simply listening or attending, as opposed to actively participating.
For example, MSIAC’s Science of Cook Off workshop in April brought together more than 70 of the leading technical performers working on munitions cook off in 10 of our member nations. During the final day of the workshop, the participants went over the most obvious technical conclusions, contributions, and gaps, but there were significant additional observations compiled in the two-to-four weeks after the workshop that the participants were not privy to.
While all of this and more will be included in the final report (tentatively to be published at the end of 2016), we have recognized the value in a quick-look summary which could be issued in the next month or two.
To increase the availability and reach of this quick-look report, we are planning to hold a virtual meeting for workshop participants and other invited guests. This Internet-hosted meeting will take the form of the large group meeting described above. Participants may interact by asking questions via a text-messaging-type interface, and the MSIAC presenters can respond either verbally or via text reply.
We are also planning to utilize this same structure to host a handful of invited presentations from leaders throughout the munitions safety and IM communities. We have a number of volunteers already, and are always looking for more! If interested, please contact TSO Wade Babcock (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information and scheduling.
The virtual meetings described here will not replace our reports, tailored presentations available through MSIAC national visits, or MSIAC invited talks at relevant technical meetings. Our intent is to find new and effective ways to get munitions safety and IM information into the hands of the community.