Transitioning ICANN's Remote Participation Platform to Zoom
After careful consideration, ICANN org has decided to transition our official remote participation platform from Adobe Connect to Zoom. In January 2019, we entered into a contract with Zoom to license its product for widespread deployment. Plans are being executed now so that we can completely replace Adobe Connect & PGi by ICANN65 in Marrakech, Morocco. Our intent is to run ICANN65 using Zoom as our sole web conference platform.
This decision comes as the result of a comprehensive evaluation of alternative remote participation and collaboration tools. The evaluation began in March 2018, after a security researcher brought several issues with Adobe Connect to ICANN's attention. This resulted in ICANN suspending services until multiple forensic investigations were completed. ICANN reinstated Adobe Connect, but some of the fixes made behind the scenes to increase security and data privacy came at the cost of flexibility.
ICANN org is committed to providing the community with the best, safest tools that scale globally. Our tests have shown that Zoom handles ICANN's information security considerations well, while providing nearly all of the same features as Adobe Connect. More security-sensitive groups, such as the Security and Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC) and Board Operations, chose to continue using Zoom even after Adobe Connect was restored to service.
ICANN org is currently spending nearly $500,000 a year to support telephone bridges for Adobe Connect sessions. Zoom provides a built-in Voice-Over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP) solution as well as integrated telephony, allowing us to retire PGi as a supported telephony platform. Our tests have reflected that this solution scales well, with high voice-quality even when extended globally. At this stage, switching to Zoom promises to save over US $100,000 in recurring annual expenses – yet another reason to make the switch.
Early adopters of Zoom have been enthusiastic about its features and ease of use, especially when they participate from a mobile phone or while in transit. Based on feedback, Zoom's voice connectivity and overall experience seem to be superior to equivalent Adobe Connect experiences.
Change isn't always easy or smooth – especially when it's a platform we've all gotten used to. The ICANN org is committed to ensuring that everyone in the community is fully equipped with the tools necessary to make full use of Zoom and its features. We will offer training resources in conjunction with the Zoom team, so please keep an eye out for more information. In the meantime, please take a look at the Zoom Help Center, with some FAQs and a wealth of support articles, as well as this table showing all of the familiar features from Adobe Connect, and how they translate to Zoom.