COVID19 and the Club:
What on Earth do we do?
Video Conferencing is the way forward!
During the Covid19 virus outbreak, all club face-to-face meetings are suspended. However, because the committee acknowledges that most members can't do without their Thursday night 'Fix', we are intending to continue by using video-conferencing, wherever possible.
The software we have chosen to use is 'Zoom'
.... which is a well-used and respected suite suitable to our purpose. It allows pretty much any kind of interaction short of breaching the two-metre rule. All future room bookings at the Vale have been cancelled and we have invested £150 in a licence for Zoom instead, which allows for up to 100 people to be present (virtually!) for a meeting, regardless of their location.
Zoom has two modes: Full, two-way interaction and view-only
Two-way - as its name suggests, this lets all 'present' engage in a discussion using either or both of sound and video. Naturally, this requires that the user possesses a device which had both a camera and a microphone attached. This type of meeting will be typically used by SIG's and committee meetings.
View-only - the user can see/hear the presentation, but cannot be seen or heard by the presenter/chairman of the meeting. This will be a little like a normal Thursday night meeting. It is possible that the host will be able to enable cameras and microphones at the end of a meeting so as to take Q&A, but this is not certain just yet.
The equipment you need can be a suitably-equipped desktop; a laptop (most of which have cameras and mics theses days); a tablet, or a smartphone. If a PC/laptop, joining the meeting will provide access to the software needed to view things correctly on the computer screen. Simple instructions are provided for this at the time of joining a meeting. For tablets and smartphones, it will be necessary beforehand to install the free Zoom meeting software from the Android or Apple store.
Will I need super-fast broadband to join a meeting?
No, Zoom is incredibly efficient in using bandwidth. The company states that 2 or 3 Mbits/sec is enough, and most of us around here have way more than that, so we don't expect it to be a problem.
To join a meeting the user will receive an email invitation from the host which will include a link to the Zoom website: clicking this will log-in the user and allow the meeting to be viewed (at the very least). The log-in code will be unique to the recipient and cannot be used by more than one user at a time. Remember, therefore, to ensure that you email address is up-to-date (via your forum control panel editor) otherwise you won't receive the invitation.
What's the Club Programme looking like?
Hard work is being put into this to verify that presenters we have booked are prepared (physically and electronically) to work in this way. There may well be major changes, so keep an eye on the club's programme page.
What About The AGM?
.... we hear you say.... well, it seems that Zoom has a facility for receiving votes from remote users but we need to dig deeper to ensure that this is possible on the plan we have purchased, so watch this space. Also, the AGM demands a certain quorum (=minimum number of members present) so if we think that this is impossible to achieve working in this way, the AGM may well have to be postponed with exisiting committee posts continuing until a normal meeting becomes possible.
COMPETITIONS - how will they work?
We're thinking about getting the usual Critic to use Zoom to deliver his/her opinions, but this is not certain yet. We can run the competition image sequence exactly as we would at the Vale for everyone to see (trials have been successful!), and our Critic could give real-time comment, much as normal. More soon.
Print competitions aren't practical, as you might expect.
DPI competitions are easier: all images can be viewed on the club gallery competition preview pages and our judging panel can score them from there.
Charlie Willams Trophy will continue as is, except that the de-brief meeting will use Zoom .
Any other competition planned can continue, but using DPI only, of course.
I'm a SIG leader, how do I organise a Zoom meeting?
You must speak to our chairman, who will sort things for you. Do remember, though, that we have only one licence for Zoom, so the usual rules of 'no overlap' will apply.
And the Future?....
...by which we mean 'Life after Covid19' ... this video-conferencing stuff offers many possibilities which may well be advantageous to the club. For instance, acquiring more 'remote' members who can be involved in a more intimate way with us, at a higher subscription rate, we suppose.