There has been some discussion among the members about the notion of including an online component to our in-person club meetings. I for one think this would be an excellent idea and would open us to some opportunities for both members and prospective members as well as including some potential outside speakers/presenters.
There are however a few challenges to doing this.
- The meeting room we normally use does not have accessible Wifi. The hotspot provided does not appear to work, as no one seems to be able to join it. Even if it did work it has very limited bandwidth (I have one like it, so I know) and would likely not provide us good service.
- The meeting room does not have an accessible PC or video conferencing system. In days gone by this was no big deal, as no one thought about or cared about video conferencing for club activities. The club does not own suitable equipment (computer, camera, microphone etc…) to setup our own videoconferencing solution. During the pandemic everyone used their own PC/tablet/phone so this was not required.
- If we overcome #2 by obtaining such a system for the club it would have to be setup and taken down at every meeting, and at least two people who come to all the meetings would have to know how to do this and how to run/troubleshoot the setup.
I seem to recall setting up my own laptop to function as the videoconferencing system, but I don’t think the resulting solution was really useful. There were connection issues with participants, people at the meeting couldn’t see or hear the people online and overall it wasn’t satisfactory. If this is something we really want, then we need to brainstorm as to how it would work and try to sort out how many people would actually want to attend the meetings virtually, and who would manage the video conferencing system.