EVERY evening this week I am attending a conference in South America. Yes, through the wonder of the Internet, I am able to work during the day and then from 17:00 to 01:00 I am attending live conference sessions and interacting with other delegates at the EduOnline2007 Conference.

This is the second online conference that I have attended and the previous one was about a year ago. Things have changed quite a bit. The quality of the audio and video has increased unbelievably. This has all happened not only because of the improvement of the infrastructure of the Internet world­wide, but also the software and compression techniques used to manage the delegates and their connections to the main venue.

When I was first invited to attend this conference I was worried about the bandwidth that would be used each day as it is quite a few hours that I will be receiving audio and video over the Internet.

The reality, however, is that the bandwidth usage was very low. How they manage it will be a topic for another column.

Another first for this conference is that each presentation is presented simultaneously in three different languages. The presenter presents his talk in English and two other presenters translate it live into the other languages. The delegates have no idea that it is not the presenter giving the presentation in the other languages. When entering the virtual conference venue you choose your preferred language and off you go.

This medium for presenting conferences is in my opinion so effective that it may reduce the need to physically attend conferences considerably, and may reduce the expenses to attend conferences to such a degree that more conferences could be attended. This in turn will increase our ability to interact with specialists worldwide.