Wednesday, July 07, 2004

The G8 Summit "sherpas"

Fascinating comments from Michael Helfrich's weblog on how World Leaders and their accompanying "sherpas" used Groove Networks for secure encrypted communication and ink chat support.

Earlier this week, a couple of us traveled to Savannah Georgia to the site of the Press Center for the G8 Summit. The security was mindblowing, and rightly so, given that the world's most powerful leaders would be assembling on an island 80 miles to the south to discuss world issues. Barry Bennett, communications director for the G-8 summit is shown above with a tablet.

Groove was selected as one of the IT innovations that would be used by the delegations and their research staffs. Each leader (i.e., President Bush) has a policy advisor, who is referred to as a "sherpa". The sherpa is given a Motion Computing tablet loaded with Microsoft OneNote and Groove. During the negotiation sessions, the sherpa can use the ink chat to securely connect with their research support staff who are in a room some 3000 feet away. Groove was selected because of the secure, encrypted communications between peers, as well as because of the ink chat support. Clicky keyboards have made too much noise at the table in years past, and runners with handwritten notes is low tech.

The Wall Street Journal picked up on the story this morning in their "Digits" section (B4):

"But at the G-8 summit in Sea Island, Ga., this week, in many sessions each leader worked with just one principal policy analyst -- known as a sherpa -- in the room. Each sherpa was issued a Motion Computing tablet PC, equipped with Microsoft OneNote for organizing handwritten information as well as encrypted collaboration software from Groove Networks Inc."


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