The following presentation, given at the Vidyo launch events hosted at Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town from 24-27th March, highlighted what can be expected of the service:
The SANReN Competency Area, within the CSIR (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research) has been investigating a suitable web-conferencing system to offer the South African Research and Education (R&E) community. This service will assist in research collaboration and learning.
Mconf is an open source multiconference system, developed by the Brazilian NREN, RNP. The service will be hosted on TENET’s VMWare infrastructure and connected into the SANREN Network for resilience and performance and we intend offering it as a production service from 1 July 2015.
Available Exploratory services
Exploratory services, indicated below, are currently available for use and we would greatly appreciate feedback on these services. (Please email email@example.com for questions or feedback)
1. Mconf portal hosted at mconf-fid.sanren.ac.za
• Integrated with SA federation (SAFIRE)
• Currently only IPv4 compatibly
2. Mconf portal hosted at mconf.c4.csir.co.za
• Self-registration option
SA video conferencing solutions
We believe that, together Mconf web conferencing and Vidyo desktop and room based conferencing systems offered by TENET will cater for the majority of virtual collaboration needs of the South African Research and Education community.
Popular features of Mconf web conferencing are:
• Real-time communication with audio and video
• Screen and presentation sharing, whiteboard, chat, and shared notes during a session
• A web portal – to start and participate in web conferences easily
• Document sharing
• Support for all modern web browsers and operating systems
• Federated Identity integration
• Meeting recording
• Is a scalable solution
• Usage and capacity monitoring
• Compatibility with mobile clients
• Possibility of integration with web applications, such as Moodle
Mconf aims to aid the R&E community in achieve their distance education, remote meeting and broadcasting event needs. The web conferencing software is based on Big Blue Button. The client runs with Adobe Flash Player and offers roles of viewer or moderator during a meeting session.
Replacement for Adobe Connect trial
Mconf web conferencing compares well with Adobe Connect use and features and will therefore replace current Adobe Connect trial installation hosted by SANReN Competency Area. Although Adobe Connect was determined popular amongst the R&E community through means of a survey conducted, it was not viable to cost recover from the R&E community which makes Mconf more favourable as an open source web conferencing service.
Register with SAFIRE Federation
The SA NREN hope to use this Mconf webconferencing service to promote and encourage institutions to register with the SAFIRE federation as this is the easiest way to gain access to future upcoming services. For more information on SAFIRE, please visit the SAFIRE website (http://www.safire.ac.za/) or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org .
SANReN, TENET and ASAUDIT successfully hosted the second Federated Identity Workshop in Pretoria on the 27th February 2015. This workshop was attended by 18 Universities and 7 science and research institutions. Further details on the outcomes of the workshop can be found at http://www.safire.ac.za/events-and-articles/2015-safire-workshop/