How did I use WebRTC to Speak Remotely at IIT RTC Conference?

October 28, 2013

Remote conferencing is cool.

Two weeks ago I participated in the IIT RTC Conference in Chicago. Only I wasn’t in Chicago at all – I was sitting at my desk in my non-equipped room, giving a full session about WebRTC to an audience. It is something that is quite hard to do, as you can’t really gauge the feelings of the people in the room.

I was asked to participate, and didn’t want to say no, so I thought, why not speak about doing conferences remotely with WebRTC? This is what I had to do anyway to get things done, so why not dogfood it live?

Talk about WebRTC

Planning for the session got me to understand several things:

  1. There are a lot of WebRTC services out there
  2. These services are different from one another
  3. The services that I like don’t necessarily fit the kind of a session I had in mind

I had it all figured out in my head: I start off with something like OpenVRI – do a ad-hoc session – show off how a simple video chat can be different than what people are used for – move to tawk.com which I am using a lot (the background feels homey) – and from there, go on and use another WebRTC service that actually allows to do some decent screen sharing.

The problems I had…

  • Try using a service that requires random, ad-hoc URLs in a live conference
  • Or for that matter, a service that once in a couple of times just doesn’t work for you
  • Oh – and I do need to do something about the crap lighting I have in my room

I ended up going through about 10 different services until I finally closed on on the following “scenario”:

  1. Start off over Skype, chatting in text. You can always rely on Skype to provide presence information and pass text messages. And yes – I know it isn’t WebRTC – never thought I was a purist in that
  2. From there move on to tawk.com – I have a nice “private” room in there that I use for chatting with people every now and a gain
  3. And then shift to FACEmeeting, where screen sharing works well – session at a conference without powerpoint isn’t a real session

You can find the result here:

[slideshare id=27305320&doc=iitrtc-webrtc-remotely-131017130343-phpapp01]


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