End the accursed roving mic at conferences


These days a lot of conferences are being recorded and even live broadcast on the net. So they make a rule that people asking questions must wait for the microphone, causing long pauses that ruin the momentum of a debate or discussion.

I recommend conferences doing this get one of those small parabolic microphones if they can (mount it on the video camera if there is operator controlled video) or give it to an assistant. They can point it at the asker, and then they can talk until a better microphone arrives.

Another option (which might actually be good for coordinating questions) would be to tell question askers to phone a special number on their cell phone. When they are acknowledged to talk, they would press a key, and the sound mixer guy could unmute their channel. They could talk, at low fidelity until the wireless mic arrives. This could also be a way to line up for questions. The moderator could announce a the last few digits in the participant's phone number (enough to be unique) and allow that phone into the sound system.

People with laptops could also use a voice app (perhaps even through the non-connected AP described in the prior blog post) if they had a microphone on their laptop!


Especially for audiocasts and for a whole room. Fairly sensitive directional mics do need to get used.

If you've been to an APNIC or APRICOT meeting where there's an open mike forum, you'll see a mike between every two rows of chairs, and people can queue up at each mike to ask questions.

No need for a guy to walk up and down the aisles waving a wireless mic. That just doesnt scale for a lively discussion.

You happier with that option?

But only for the webcast/recording, and only until the better mic can make its way to the speaker. I think they would be OK for the purpose of getting the meeting recorded. So would the cell phones, and they are of course low quality.

Cell phones would need fancy echo cancel if put on the loudspeakers, but I don't think we need that.

Sure, lining up at the mic works also, but for whatever reason that is not how some conferences want to do it. Also does not allow the moderator to pick people to call on based on knowledge of who they are. With cell phones with caller-id (which is coming) the moderator could get a queue like a phone-in show.

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