As ICANN’s Virtual Meetings Evolve, YouTube Livestream Added For ICANN69

With ICANN, like many other organisations, forced to move their meetings into the virtual space, there has been a lot of learning about what works, and doesn’t. About what people want. And don’t. So for ICANN69 there was a demand from the community for YouTube streaming, to which ICANN has acquiesced for a limited number of sessions. There have also been protections added to prevent malicious disruptions that have occurred in previous virtual meetings.

In a post on the ICANN blog, Ashwin Rangan, the organisation’s Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer writes “one request we received loud and clear was the need to provide an alternate live stream option to increase accessibility, similar to what was previously available for high-interest sessions. To address this request from our community, we are pleased to announce a pilot effort to stream select ICANN69 sessions, live on YouTube. By providing view-only live streams on YouTube, we are increasing the availability and accessibility of ICANN69 sessions. YouTube has a broader global reach and provides a low-bandwidth alternative for attendees. This live streaming option will be available with five high-interest ICANN69 sessions. This will allow us to evaluate the use and make improvements for future meetings, if demand warrants it.”

But as Rangan writes, there will be a few key differences between watching the live stream on YouTube compared to participating via Zoom. YouTube, will have the following differences:

  • There will be a 20- to 30-second delay.
  • Only the original floor audio, without interpretation, will be available. This is due to the delay and the nature of the stream. Interpreted audio is available through the Congress Rental Network app, as it was during ICANN68.
  • It is a view or listen-only option. Comments will be turned off and there will be no opportunity to engage.

There are benefits with Zoom though with the community preferring “the open, collaborative nature of Zoom meetings. However, Zoom webinars offer a much more secure and structured format, with less potential for disruptions. Given the appetite for both formats, ICANN org has left this choice up to each meeting organiser.”

There have also been changes to the Public Meeting schedule and how participation links are accessed. All participants must register for ICANN69, which was originally scheduled to be held in Hamburg, Germany, but due to the global COVID-19 pandemic has been turned into a virtual meeting. In order to access the ICANN69 schedule section of the event website. The session participation links are only available via the schedule. Mandatory meeting registration is intended to increase the security of our sessions. To further secure sessions meetings, participation links will only be published one day prior to the session, with a unique passcode embedded link. Links to the YouTube live streams for the select sessions will also be available via the ICANN69 schedule.

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