Belnet saves the Euro-IX conference thanks to E-collaboration

When Belnet together with BNIX (Belgian National Internet eXchange) hosted the “16th Euro-IX Conference” in Brussels from 18-20 April, little did we know what Mother Nature had in store for us.
 
118 guests had registered, representing 40 different Internet nodes in Europe, Japan, the US and even Nepal. However, only 58 participants were able to find their way to Brussels. The other 60 were hindered in their travel when airports throughout Europe closed in response to the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland.
 
 “It wasn’t until Thursday that we were informed that airports would be closing”, says Jan Torreele, technical director at Belnet. “On Friday we took the decision to stream the conference so that all who were hindered could still follow the conference. We were able to set up an E‑collaboration Platform with Elluminate in just one day’s time. While a number of speakers had never before worked with the tool, they were able to make presentations from home without any problem. This shows that the tool, which we are also offering our customers in a pilot phase, can be very useful in times of great need: when there are rail or airline strikes or, in this case, when the air space is polluted by volcanic ash."
 
Serge Radovcic of Euro-IX can confirm this. “With the travel restrictions due to the volcanic eruption in Iceland, our biannual forum – which usually attracts participants from approximately 30 countries worldwide – was endangered. More than half of the expected invited guests were stranded”, he noted. “This unforeseen situation called for a quick and effective solution to bring those who couldn’t physically attend in contact with those who could. Belnet was able to call upon its experience with E-collaboration to make it happen.”
 
“In a relatively short amount of time, still before the conference would be starting, we had the software ready for a test, and the E-collaboration Platform seemed to perform flawlessly”, adds Radovcic. “The remote participants experienced little or no hindrance delivering their presentations, while those present were able to follow the conference remotely via webcast and ask questions through a chat window.”
 
“All were impressed with the quality of the sound and video, and the desk-sharing options also proved to be very useful. The E-collaboration Platform helped us to save the conference, which was severely affected by this unprecedented event.”