Sunday, November 26, 2006

Freemasons talk about technology

Tim Bryce, who writes the "Freemasonry from the EDGE" column on the "Freemason Information" web site, has another post that I think should be of interest to Sig Eps and fraternities in general.

He notes the general availability of VoIP (Voice over IP), or "internet telephony" now allows for free or nearly free communication between individuals and groups.
So what does VoIP mean to Freemasonry? A lot. Here is a new technology that can be useful for communicating to the Craft, particularly those living in remote locations (such as those with sickness or distress, or our soldier-Brothers in Iraq). It can also be used to hold conference calls. Here is another idea for you: recently I participated in a "Wardens Workshop" to help prepare officers for their year in the East. It was fairly well attended, but there were some Brothers who couldn't attend. How about opening a VoIP line to allow selected people (Masons) to watch the seminar remotely? When you think about it, the potential is enormous.
Using VoIP, you are no longer concerned with "roaming fees," nor are you shackled to a small network of friends and family in a specific geographical area. Now, your network is the Internet, which is accessed by millions of people around the world, at incredibly reduced rates, making the possibilities for communications staggering. Now you know why the telecommunications giants are worried about VoIP. They ought to be.
Pretty interesting idea, eh? Chapters could use this concept to make it easier for far-away alumni to participate in the AVC meetings. HQ could open up some of the CLA or Conclave breakout sessions for dial-in access.

Taking the idea one step further, how about using internet streaming to make the Conclave opening sessions, keynote speakers, and other general interest events available to those who cannot attend? We already are taping them for the DVD, how much extra effort would be involved in sending the video out to the web?

Comments pro and con from the technology committee, HQ, or anyone else are welcome.

Freemason Information - VoIP

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