Saturday, November 18, 2006
Technology supported meetings at the ACS Council
While there is a lot of hype about technology for supporting decision making, little is said about the reality. One practical example is the Australian Computer Society, which has extensive computer support for its National Council.
Meetings are held twice a year with about thirty people present. Previously a telephone book size set of papers was sent by courier out to councillors. Now there is a web page on the ACS intranet with all papers on it. Meetings are held in conference centers and the ACS staff bring a wireless base station and video projector with them. Most attendees have their own laptop computer in front of them and use the wireless to obtain last-minute updates to the agenda and researching proposals during debates.
The delegates sit around a horseshoe shaped table. The chair sit at the top of the table and the projector is placed at the other end. Those making presentations tend to sit at their usual seat, or stand at a podium near the screen. They can run presentations from their own computer, or have support staff do this.
It is not pretty, with cables run across the floor and desks, but this arrangement works well, is easy to set up and all the equipment packs into a few cases.