eyeson is adding value when climate scientists are recommending ways to boost the value of virtual conferences and reduce carbon footprints even when travel curbs ease.
Webinars promote inclusiveness
We have had a very successful cooperation with EBUS Webinars, where the participants were using our low-bandwidth video-conferencing software and livestreaming the video chat on YouTube.
EBUS Webinars was created by a group of early-career ocean scientists in 2018 to make the scientific knowledge exchange on eastern boundary upwelling systems (EBUS) more inclusive and sustainable.
We spoke with Sören Thomsen on behalf of the whole EBUS Webinars team, ocean and climate scientist at LOCEAN in Paris, who initiated the EBUS Webinars project. They bring together researchers from Africa, South America and Asia to exchange knowledge about coastal ecosystems. Thomsen designed the programme with scientists from around the world, including Senegalese and Indian researchers who had never met in person. Sören coordinates all efforts, contributes by moderating sessions, and also organizes the streaming in his lab.
Virtual meetings to boost diversity
At eyeson, we aim to keep the hardware and bandwidth barriers as low as possible. EBUS Webinars designed a project with scientists worldwide, including researchers who had never met in person. Being a global project, the tools EBUS Webinars are using have to meet some criteria: low needs both in terms of hardware and bandwidth consumption. They needed a solution which connects easily to public available streaming services and tools. From an European perspective, the hunger for bandwidth of the most video meetings solutions might be negligible, but if you are working in an area with an expensive data plan or slow connection, every bit counts.
According to Thomsen, it is important to note that many of the participants had never been to an international conference, adding that the programme is their only way to connect to the global scientific community.
eyeson provides also a low bandwidth mode allowing participants to save data by consuming only 10-20 Megabyte per hour, independent of the number of participants in a video meeting. If you have a slow or unreliable internet connection, video lags or the connection drops, you might want to participate in Audio-Only mode. Thus it is possible to participate in a meeting, even though your internet does not satisfy the network environment needed.
Trying to lower entry barriers is one of the key elements for us. Virtual conferences are a boost of diversity because no one needs to travel, so we should keep the hardware and band-with barriers as low as possible.
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