[[DRAFT]] Minutes of the 1st RCTF meeting 21 March 2006 - 14:00
Participants are: Steven Goldfarb (SG), Roger Jones (RJ), Sheldon Stone (SS), Werner Jank (WJ), Peter Hristov (PH), Joao Fernandes (JF) and Thomas Baron (TB).
TB welcomes the participants and explains that unfortunately Tim Smith cannot attend the meeting. TB says that the RCTF will allow to coordinate the efforts in CERN remote collaboration services between the IT division and users (experiments). In order to better understand what IT (and more particularly the AVC section) activities are in this domain TB says this first meeting will be mostly dedicated to presenting AVC activities and projects.
The goal of the RCTF is discussed. What is the relation between RCTF and other user-oriented working groups (ACCU, Desktop Forum). It is said that the RCTF is expected to become the primary forum for dialogue between CERN and the collaborations on the planning and development of collaborative tools at CERN.
TB starts presenting AVC activities (audiovisual, videoconference, event management softwares, webcasting and retransmission between amphitheatres) then ongoing projects (videoconference room equipment, auditoria equipment, recording of events and the SMAC lecture creation system, webcasting, Indico, HERMES, desktop videoconference standardisation). A description of the human ressources in AVC is given.
Regarding Indico software, WJ says that some user feedback was already received and that minor points will be dealt with internally while major ones will be forwarded to the Indico support. TB says feedback has already been received from already migrated users (mainly LHCb) and is currently being tackled.
WJ asks which auditoria will be equiped for recording events. TB answers that AVC plans to equip first the Council Chamber with a time scale of one month. Then will follow the TH amphitheatre and Technical Training room, and more if requested.
WJ asks when the HERMES will be in production. JF says it is since January. TB says he will send a URL to the CERN HERMES pages.
SG asks when it is planned to integrate the functionality of CRBS with the reservation of events and VRVS. TB answers that it is in the plans but would need a rewrite of CRBS and doesn't know who should do this. JF says it could be developed as a module of Indico. TB says there is currently not enough ressources for this. TB says a link could be added from Indico to a pre-filled CRBS booking page.
Concerning the simplification of the remote meeting interfaces, WJ evoques the "turn key" model; JF says that's precisely what AVC wants to achieve.
JF then presents the vision of AVC with regards to videoconference. He starts by presenting the current (poor) state of the remote collaboration facilities at CERN, then shows the growing number of remote meetings from the experiments. He then presents AVC "dream" in 3 points: - high quality endpoints in all CERN VC rooms, which can be used both for video and phone conferences, with 100% compatibility with all current services. - Automation of the VC rooms equipement (CMF for NICE PCs, management framework for H323 endpoints, online projectors) - Focus on local facilities
SG asks whether slides can be sent directly to ethernet-connected Projectors. TB says this is possible on some models. More information should be given later.
RJ emphasizes the importance of the phone services in the global infrastructure that is discussed. TB says either AVC can do the link between the task force and IT-CS or a member of IT-CS could be invited in the taskforce.
Concerning PABX and phone conferencing, SG states that he'd like to see a "call me" button in the management interface. This is not a problem for free calls (Videoconference over IP) but may lead to troubles for paying calls (phone, ISDN). The meeting chair should be able to provide a team code on which all communications could be billed.
Follows a discussion about desktop videoconference. WJ and PH say that users mostly use Linux in the experiments, hence any videoconference software, or video player should be compatible with this platform as well as with Windows and MacOS. JF says that Polycom PVX H323 software is only available on Windows, and this is a shame since it is the only such high-quality soft available. [The RCWG has already contacted Polycom on this precise topic requesting that a linux version should be released]
RJ mentions voice over IP products. Skype is still banned from CERN although used anyway. [It should be noted that the security team in IT is still looking for alternatives]. The VoIP products should be part of the subjects discussed by the RCTF
SG says we have to find a way to finance the service. CERN should probably have his share in the infrastructure investment, but the experiments should also contribute. He says ATLAS has a line item in its budget for 2006 for collaborative tools. WJ says CMS also plans to have a budget line on this topic but cannot give figures. SS says it will be difficult to have LHCb invest any money in the service. WJ adds that if CMS is to invest money in the room refurbishing project it would be normal to keep a priority on the financed rooms. In case of a package deal, a solution should be found.
SG raises the problem of the connection of the RCTF with the world. TB answers that he's already in contact with the RCWG. All agree that it would be worth doing some outreach, first to inform collaboration institutes of the work and recommendations done by the task force and also collaborating directly with other remote collaboration services like ESNet. TB says AVC is already in contact with ESNet on the subject of the interconnection between HERMES and ESNet service. PH says the major priority should remain CERN.
SG raises the question of advertising the work of the RCTF to CERN at large. A website should be created that summarizes our discussions. Possibly other groups of users at CERN should be involved. TB says that he was already contacted by the training group (Mick Storr) and that enlarging the task force membership could be envisaged in the medium term.
JF mentions that AVC is currently mandated by ATLAS to reequip 40-4-C01. WJ asks when the demo room will be ready. JF answers probably end of April [This will mainly depend on the speed of the purchasing service]. WJ says CMS would like to see another room refurbished with the "small-room" scheme. TB says no problem, AVC could start working on this right away.
TB asks the participants for a possible date for next meeting. It seems the week after Easter would suit everybody. All experiment representatives are invited to provide in the meantime their list of priorities regarding needed services as well as the list of rooms that they would like to see (re)-equipped by the global refurbishing project.
PH says the most important room for ALICE is in building 160 and will probably be the only one used by the collaboration.
The meeting is ajourned at 15:30.
There are minutes attached to this event.