This morning I gave a remote talk to a summer school in Sweden named “RaukR”. It is the first time I have felt completely satisfied by the video conference equipment. The audio quality was amazing: I was able to clearly hear everyone in the room (they use a wireless microphone), and I feel it is even better than when I physically stand on a podium (in which case I sometimes cannot hear the audience clearly). There was a camera presumably on the ceiling in the front of the room, so I was able to see everyone in the room, too. The visual feedback is important when giving a remote talk. In the past, I often felt I was talking to a brick wall by myself in my room, and half an hour later, I had no idea whether the audience was still listening or even if the Internet connection was still good. Then their video conference system also showed me on a separate screen, so we could actually see each other during the talk (it was a little weird to see myself on an entire screen, though).
For someone who usually does not prefer traveling (and cannot travel too far in a couple of years), I have to say this system is just perfect. I’d like to thank Marcin Kierczak for the invite, and also thank their wonderful tech help desk (in particular, Svante Agnestig).
BTW, my talk was titled “Some Lesser Known Features of knitr”, and slides are available here.