Over the past few years throughout the pandemic and major societal changes that followed, the Research and Education (R&E) community has seen a huge increase in videoconferencing demand. With a global shift towards remote work, online education, and virtual collaboration, eduMEET – the open-source videoconferencing platform developed within the GÉANT project – has emerged as an increasingly attractive and cost-effective videoconferencing solution, tailored for the needs of R&E, and highly focused on security and privacy.
In response to this increased demand and the needs of the community, we are delighted to announce that eduMEET is now evolving into a completely new and improved version, with re-built architecture and a series of innovative features. This release, combined with the ongoing process to launch eduMEET as a community-supported solution, opens the way towards many opportunities and possible scenarios for the future of eduMEET.
The new eduMEET version 4 is completely rewritten from scratch, simplifying its code (thus making it easier for volunteer developers to familiarise with it), using the latest implementation standards, and refreshing its look and feel.
With the release of its latest version, eduMEET moves past being limited only to small and medium meetings. In version 4, new, distributed, and scalable architecture now allows collaboration of distant media nodes to serve big and very big meeting rooms.
Furthermore, eduMEET’s user interface has been refreshed and simplified, resulting in a clean and intuitive layout and a smoother user experience. Developers also worked to introduce a set of new features, which now bring eduMEET on par with the most popular commercial offerings. These include:
- Breakout rooms – Facilitating discussions in smaller groups and collaboration
- Transcription engines – A nearly unique feature in the context of free videoconferencing software
- Background blur – Providing a professional and polished look for your videoconferences, while at the same time enhancing security by removing unnecessary elements in the background
- Dynamic user-controlled layout – Up to 49 visible participants
- Improved performance – Faster load times and flawless streaming experience
In the backend, a dedicated service for eduMEET instance management was developed to facilitate administration of large deployments. Among the functionalities of the management service, it’s worth noting:
- Multi tenancy support
- Complete individual configuration per room (owners, available modules, background, access control)
- PBRC (Policy Based Role-set Control) per room
- Management-server-client for administration (Web-UI)
Finally, the scalability of the media-backbone was improved, and as such the maximal size of rooms can now be scaled just by adding media-nodes.
These features add to the already delivered advancements such as the synchronous playback of high quality videos (VoDsync), which was funded via the GÉANT Innovation Programme and of particular interest for use cases in the areas of telemedicine, education and performing arts. Read how eduMEET’s high quality and low-latency streaming enabled a live performance of music from seismographic data recorded in real time: https://impact.geant.org/music-storytelling/
What’s next for eduMEET?
Supported by the service incubator in the GN5-1 project, further developments of eduMEET are currently ongoing, with two more versions planned for release at 6-month intervals, in Q2 2024 and at the end of the GN5-1 project in Q4 2024. The development process will be based on requests from the community and on market analysis, and is set to focus mostly on the release of new features, on continuous improvement of stability and security aspects, and on keeping the software up-to-date in line with new browser versions and new standards.
eduMEET’s future however will not be solely limited to its technical developments. The release of version 4 aligns with the ongoing work to spin-out eduMEET from a project-based and project-funded initiative into a self-sustaining, community-financed open-source software. Currently being progressed in collaboration with The Commons Conservancy foundation and planned by 2024, the spin-out of eduMEET aims to provide a solid base for future efforts, and attract external funding and new participants.
In this context, eduMEET invites all interested developers and institutions to contribute by joining eduMEET team on the GitHub: https://github.com/edumeet
Would you like to try the new version? Take a test drive at https://edumeet-v4-demo.geant.org
Finally, keep an eye on our channels for future developments and news on eduMEET: we will be soon announcing more!
Interested in knowing more about eduMEET’s focus on security and privacy and the status of its deployment across Europe? We recently covered this in the context of the GÉANT Cyber Security Month and on CONNECT 44, the latest issue of the GÉANT CONNECT Magazine: https://connect.geant.org/2023/10/06/video-conferencing-security-and-privacy-by-design-meet-edumeet