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My organization is looking towards next year and the prospect of not being able to meet (200 members) in person. I have been tasked with finding an online solution. Cost is a serious consideration as well as technical challenges. Remember we are an organization that for the most part is very happy with navy shirts.

I use Jitsi personally, but it is limited to 75 participants before service degrades. I also read about the leadership do a Jitsi meeting that is broadcast over YouTube live.

I'm not a fan of Facebook for all the normal reasons.

What experience have you had?

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Our Zoom meetings go anywhere from an hour to two hours. We have used Zoom for trainings, especially when we rolled out our COVID mechanics and then started reviewing and revising those mechanics as t

As someone whose day job is using and supporting IT hardware/solutions ...    Seriously, the problem with Zoom was not anything they did. It was what they claimed[1]. I've had over 200 people

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24 minutes ago, LMSANS said:

My organization is looking towards next year and the prospect of not being able to meet (200 members) in person. I have been tasked with finding an online solution. Cost is a serious consideration as well as technical challenges. Remember we are an organization that for the most part is very happy with navy shirts.

I use Jitsi personally, but it is limited to 75 participants before service degrades. I also read about the leadership do a Jitsi meeting that is broadcast over YouTube live.

I'm not a fan of Facebook for all the normal reasons.

What experience have you had?

I hear Zoom is not secure. We have been happy with Cisco Webex. ButI don't know what it costs.

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My soccer chapter used GoToMeeting and my basketball chapter uses Zoom; no problems with either one. Neither a password nor admittance by the host (I think) was required: we are sent an email with a link, which, when clicked on, gets you in.

Correction: no password required, but we are admitted by the host. 

In addition, when you open Zoom's chat feature, it obscures much of the full screen. If someone is presenting and screen-sharing, the chat window will prevent you from seeing all of the screen.

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@LMSANS, my association is slightly larger than yours and we have been using Zoom since March for all of our meetings. There have been some hiccups but, nothing serious. The key as mentioned above is to tell members to make sure they have their first and last names entered as their screen name in advance and to designate someone to manage the waiting room who can then let people into the main presentation room. Publish your start time about 5-10 minutes before your actual presentation begins to give people time to "arrive" and admitted from the waiting room. Finally, be sure to mute all those not presenting.

~Dog

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1 hour ago, SeeingEyeDog said:

Finally, be sure to mute all those not presenting.

This is the most important advice. Otherwise, you hear people eating, dogs barking, kids talking, all kinds of distracting noises. It's helpful if the program allows the host to mute everyone, with participants having to unmute themselves individually.

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2 hours ago, SeeingEyeDog said:

@LMSANS, my association is slightly larger than yours and we have been using Zoom since March for all of our meetings. There have been some hiccups but, nothing serious. The key as mentioned above is to tell members to make sure they have their first and last names entered as their screen name in advance and to designate someone to manage the waiting room who can then let people into the main presentation room. Publish your start time about 5-10 minutes before your actual presentation begins to give people time to "arrive" and admitted from the waiting room. Finally, be sure to mute all those not presenting.

~Dog

Dog, How long are your meetings and is there any cost for 200 participants?

 

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As someone's whose day job is selling IT hardware/solutions I will say the security concern has a lot to do with free vs paid for products. The paid services will give you a better level of security as they will allow some enhanced features vs an open public cloud. 
My company uses Team and Zoom as some of our client use WebEx and all have plusses and minuses in terms of how they look and feel. 
I Know I have talked to my local association about purchasing a web meeting host in order to have the features to record and be able to offer replays of meetings and trainings longer than 30 days, we well as the enhanced security. 

 

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As someone whose day job is using and supporting IT hardware/solutions ...   :wacko:

Seriously, the problem with Zoom was not anything they did. It was what they claimed[1].

I've had over 200 people in a Zoom meeting (all other techies, no less) with no issues. I haven't had that big of a group with Teams, but I'd be surprised if it couldn't handle it. I haven't used Google Meet, but have heard rumblings that it degrades with a large number of users.

WebEx ... ewww. Just ... don't. It will work, but its UI is horrible and will occasionally just do the opposite of what's obvious. I had to uninstall the client from my phone because it kept popping up with notifications even when I hadn't been using it since the last reboot.

Jitsi: Also has all sorts of interface issues. Probably the most secure of the bunch listed if you were discussing national secrets. Again ... don't.

[1] They claimed end-to-end encryption. That means that vendor V lets person A talk to person B without V being able to see what's going on. That's pretty easy to do. A talks to B, and B talks to A. But now you add person C. Now
- A needs to talk to B
- A needs to talk to C
- B needs to talk to A
- B needs to talk to C
- C needs to talk to A
- C needs to talk to B
You've just tripled the number of connections you need to make by adding one more person. It's a snowball effect when you start adding in more people. Zoom just claimed it's servers was "an endpoint", so everybody just needed to talk to V, and V would talk to the others on your behalf. Reasonably secure and scales well. BUT that's not what end-to-end encryption means. Nobody[2] does conferences with end-to-end encryption, so they're still no worse than anybody else.

[2] Not completely true, but true for any organization that doesn't have a federal government-sized software budget.

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14 hours ago, kylehutson said:

As someone whose day job is using and supporting IT hardware/solutions ...   :wacko:

Seriously, the problem with Zoom was not anything they did. It was what they claimed[1].

I've had over 200 people in a Zoom meeting (all other techies, no less) with no issues. I haven't had that big of a group with Teams, but I'd be surprised if it couldn't handle it. I haven't used Google Meet, but have heard rumblings that it degrades with a large number of users.

WebEx ... ewww. Just ... don't. It will work, but its UI is horrible and will occasionally just do the opposite of what's obvious. I had to uninstall the client from my phone because it kept popping up with notifications even when I hadn't been using it since the last reboot.

Jitsi: Also has all sorts of interface issues. Probably the most secure of the bunch listed if you were discussing national secrets. Again ... don't.

[1] They claimed end-to-end encryption. That means that vendor V lets person A talk to person B without V being able to see what's going on. That's pretty easy to do. A talks to B, and B talks to A. But now you add person C. Now
- A needs to talk to B
- A needs to talk to C
- B needs to talk to A
- B needs to talk to C
- C needs to talk to A
- C needs to talk to B
You've just tripled the number of connections you need to make by adding one more person. It's a snowball effect when you start adding in more people. Zoom just claimed it's servers was "an endpoint", so everybody just needed to talk to V, and V would talk to the others on your behalf. Reasonably secure and scales well. BUT that's not what end-to-end encryption means. Nobody[2] does conferences with end-to-end encryption, so they're still no worse than anybody else.

[2] Not completely true, but true for any organization that doesn't have a federal government-sized software budget.

…………… oh

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On 11/16/2020 at 2:36 PM, LMSANS said:

Dog, How long are your meetings and is there any cost for 200 participants?

 

Our Zoom meetings go anywhere from an hour to two hours. We have used Zoom for trainings, especially when we rolled out our COVID mechanics and then started reviewing and revising those mechanics as they were put into play, gathering feedback from people. We had originally thought we would move PU back from the catcher but, safety became an immediate concern so we went with PU at either 1B line extended or 3B line extended depending on the hitter. All of this took a few games to work out and then we disseminated it down once we got it comfortable.

I do not know what the charges were or if someone was using their previously paid-for corporate account. We have a lot of guys who own their own businesses or whose companies might allow them to use their accounts for association business. I really don't know how that was handled. @LRZ posted Zoom's pricing schedule link above which should illustrate that further.

You also need to consider what and how you are using this software for. I have been on A LOT of teleconferencing calls during COVID where there is no media being presented to people. It's just a group of people getting together to teleconference and talking. And hey, that's ok! But, if you are not going to be sharing screens and presenting videos or PowerPoint presentations, etc...then you may want to consider a good ol' fashioned voice only conference call. I have used freeconferencecall.com for several years for audio only conference calls and have found it very reliable. I'm not sure what their restrictions may be and or it no longer being free if you have 200 participants, however.

 @LMSANS, I would also strongly encourage you to have a pre-conference call with your presenters and hosts. Run everyone through their paces so to speak. After many months of teleconferencing, we humans are all pretty weary of sitting down in like front of screen for yet another teleconference, even if it is for something we enjoy like umpiring. Talk big picture well in advance of the conference...what specific topics are you wanting to cover? What overall message or messages do you want to covey? What is the true PURPOSE of this meeting? What do you want people walking away from this conference to know about? Encourage your presenters and hosts to have an "up" level of energy when presenting without being hyper. There is nothing worse than a droning, boring presenter. We have all been through that. It's tough. You could have the best, most helpful, most important information for your association. If it's not being presenting well, people won't absorb it.

Finally, once you have worked out what the purpose of your meeting is and who is presenting what, then you'll want to work on your agenda. At the start of the call, have the host present the run through of the agenda. For example, "We're very pleased to have Fred Jones talking with us tonight about the new substitution rule. Tom Smith is going to review some important points about working the plate..." And so on, you get the idea. You are mentally preparing everyone on the call for what is going to happen on the call. If you can send out the agenda to the participants with the presenter's contact info in advance? Even better. Do NOT allow you presenter to go off script and sandbag the whole event! Umpires love to talk umpiring. War stories lead to war stories. That's fine. Allow for a general share session at the end. But, during a presentation, keep the presenter and everyone on point! Lastly, like a good documentary, news broadcast or live TV show...when it's time to "throw it" or transition to another presenter do that with some flair. "Ok, well once again, I'm Fred Jones and that's the information you'll need on substitutions. Now let's say hello to Tom Smith and his chat on the strike zone..." Alternatively, your host can also handle these transitions. Survey your membership and see if you have anyone who has experience using your selected platform and/or any TV news or TV production people.

~Dog 

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