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Eee PC brings remote attendee to Green ICT Symposium

An Eee PC 701's built in camera and microphone supplemented with a set of external speakers combined well with the free but not open source Skype software, to bring a remote presenter from Cooroy (north of Brisbane) to the Green ICT Symposium at the ANU in Canberra on 14 November 2008.

701 model of Eee PC displaying the Green ICT (Moodle) Webpage

The EeePC 701 came pre-configured with Open Office, Skype, Firefox Web Browser running on a graphical Linux Desktop. The Eee PC runs the Xandros distribution of Linux.

The EeePC has a VGA out, for connecting a projector or external monitor as well as a Microphone and a Speaker (or Headset) port. It also has a built in camera, microphone and speakers.

The ANU has a 10Gbs link to the Internet and the Eee PC was connected to the ANU LAN, via an ethernet cable.

The presentation was in the form of a (Windows Media Video (WMV) format) clip which had to be downloaded and run on a MSWindows computer. However, it could just as easily been in the open Ogg Theora format which would have been playable on the EEE PC (and the EEEPC may have supported the format but this wasn't tried).

The skype link worked well, to bring the presenter into the room and enable them to take questions. The built in camera enabled the presenter to see the room, which prompted a comment, that there were more people present than expected. The Skype window displayed both the remote presenter and what the remote presenter could see of the symposium room and was projected which allowed those present at the symposium to see the speaker. The remote presenter used a microphone and headset.

With the Eee PC facing anyone speaking at the symposium, the built in microphone on the EEE PC worked well enough for people to ask questions from a few metres away. The EEE PCs built in speakers worked quite well, and using some cheap (AUD50) external speakers made it very easy for everyone in the room to hear the remote presenter's answers. An external Microphone may have been useful to save one of the questioners from the floor having to get closer to the Eee PC and may possibly have reduced the load on the EeePC.

However, the audio did break up and may have been better, if the video link was replaced by a still photograph of the remote presenter. The sound quality problems may have been related to the speed of the link or the processing power of the eee PC. Either way, it would be useful if the audio quality of service had priority over the video quality of service.

From a green ICT perspective, the eeePC screensaver would turn off the monitor, though the skype connection remained operational.

Recommended Configuration © Ramin Communications 2008. Last modified 7 May 2015.