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Versions: 00 01 02 03 04 05 rfc4597                                     
XCON                                                             R. Even
Internet-Draft                                                   Polycom
Expires: November 30, 2004                                     N. Ismail
                                                    Cisco Systems, Inc.
                                                              June 2004

                        Conferencing Scenarios

Status of this Memo

  By submitting this Internet-Draft, I certify that any applicable
  patent or other IPR claims of which I am aware have been disclosed,
  and any of which I become aware will be disclosed, in accordance with
  RFC 3668.

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  The list of current Internet-Drafts can be accessed at

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  This Internet-Draft will expire on November 30, 2004.

Copyright Notice

  Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2004).  All Rights Reserved.


  This document describes multimedia conferencing scenarios.  It
  describes both basic and advance conferencing scenarios involving
  voice, video, text and interactive text sessions.  These conferencing
  scenarios will help with the definition and evaluation of the
  protocols being developed in the centralized conferencing XCON
  working group.

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Table of Contents

  1.   Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
  2.   Simple Conferencing scenarios  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
    2.1  Ad-hoc conference  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
    2.2  Extension of a Point to point calls to a multipoint call .   4
    2.3  Reserved conference  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
  3.   Advanced Conferencing scenarios  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
    3.1  Extending a point-to-point call to a multipoint call . . .   5
    3.2  Lecture mode conferences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
    3.3  Conference with simple and advanced participants . . . . .   5
    3.4  A reserved or ad-hoc conference with conference aware
         participants.  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
    3.5  Advanced conference features . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
  4.   Scenarios for media policy control . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
    4.1  Video mixing scenarios . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
    4.2  Typical video conferencing scenario  . . . . . . . . . . .  10
    4.3  Conference Sidebar scenario  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
    4.4  Coaching scenario  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  11
    4.5  Presentation and QA session  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  11
    4.6  Presence enabled ad-hoc conference . . . . . . . . . . . .  12
    4.7  Group chat text conferencing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  12
    4.8  Interactive text . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  12
    4.9  Moderated group chat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  13
    4.10   Text sidebars  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  13
    4.11   Advanced media control features  . . . . . . . . . . . .  13
  5.   Security Considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  13
  6.   IANA Considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  14
  7.   Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  14
  8.   Informative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  14
       Authors' Addresses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  14
       Intellectual Property and Copyright Statements . . . . . . .  15

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1.  Introduction

  This document describes multimedia conferencing scenarios.  The
  development of these conferencing scenarios is intended to help with
  definition and evaluation of the requirements for the centralized
  conferencing (XCON) working group.  Although this document uses
  definitions, conventions and architectures described in the SIP
  Conferencing Framework document[1], these scenarios are not
  SIP-specific.  The document describes basic and advance conferencing
  scenarios.  The advanced scenarios will assume that the endpoint
  functionality is based on the future set of XCON protocols that will
  be needed in order to participate in the conference and take
  advantage of the conference functionality.  However, note that many
  of these features can be implemented today using an IVR or web
  interface to control the conferencing application.

  The entities comprising the conference will be the "focus" that is
  the center point for signaling and the participants.  A special
  participant is the participant who initiated the conference.  The
  scenarios described are to demonstrate different conferencing
  services that can be offered in a multimedia environment that will
  benefit from having some support in the endpoints that will enable
  more robust and easier to use conferencing services.  It will be up
  to the conferencing bridge manufacturers and the service provider to
  decide what services can be built and which services will be offered
  to the end users.

  The scenarios will describe multimedia examples but they are
  applicable to audio only as well as for audio and video conferences.

  Multimedia conferences may include any combination of different media
  types like audio, video, text, interactive text, or presentations
  graphics.  The conference scenarios are similar but the media
  handling may be dependent on the media type.

2.  Simple Conferencing scenarios

  These scenarios enable a basic endpoint without any specific
  conferencing extensions to create, join and participate in a
  conference.  The endpoint may use out of band signaling to
  participate in a conference but this is not a mandatory requirement.
  The focus will have all the functionality it needs in order to supply
  the service offered to the participants.  A typical minimum
  requirement is that the participant support DTMF tones/signal or
  provide voice responses to an IVR system.

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2.1  Ad-hoc conference

  A user has a service provisioned to him that enables him to start an
  ad-hoc conference when he calls the focus.  When the participant
  wants to start a conference he calls the conference service.  The
  participant may be identified by different means including request
  destination, authenticated identity, or an IVR system  using DTMF.
  The conference is created automatically with the predefined
  functionality.  The participant who has such a service notifies the
  other participants how to call the conference via external means such
  as instant message or email.  The participant may have the
  functionality of a focus and thus can create ad-hoc conference using
  his own endpoint functionality.  An example of such a conference is
  an audio conference initiated by one of the participants who has a
  conference service that enables him to start a conference when he
  calls a specific URI.  The conference may be created by the first
  person calling this URI or it may be created only after the owner is
  authenticated using an IVR system, the other participants may get an
  announcement and are placed on hold if they call the conference
  before the owner.

2.2  Extension of a Point to point calls to a multipoint call

  This is a simple case.  The initiating participant is in a call with
  one party and wants to add another party to the call.  The initiating
  participant cannot provide the focus functionality on his endpoint
  nor can the other participant.  If neither also support call
  transfer, the only way to create this conference is by disconnecting
  and using the methods described in 2.1.  The information about the
  conference will be conveyed in the point-to-point call.  The focus
  may support dial out allowing the initiating participant to call the
  third party.

2.3  Reserved conference

  The reservation for this type of conference is typically done by an
  out of band mechanism and in advance of the actual conference time.
  The conference identification, which may be a URI or a phone number
  with a  pin number, is allocated by the reservation system.  It is
  sent to all participants using email, IM, etc.  The participants join
  using the conference identification.  The conference identification
  must be routable enabling the allocation of a focus with free
  resources at the time when the conference will actually run.  The
  focus can also dial out to the conference participants.  The
  endpoints may not be aware that they are in a conference.  The
  participants may know via announcement from the conference that they
  are in a conference and who are the other participants.

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3.  Advanced Conferencing scenarios

  These scenarios will assume endpoints that support at least call
  transfer service and a way to communicate information on events from
  the focus to the endpoint.  The focus has the ability to discover the
  capabilities of the participants, to identify if they support the
  call transfer.  This section will specify in each scenario the
  dependencies.  An advance conference can be initiated by a endpoint
  that has advanced features but some endpoints in the conference may
  have less functionality.

3.1  Extending a point-to-point call to a multipoint call

  The initiating participant is in a point-to-point call and want to
  add a third participant.  The initiating participant can start a
  multipoint call on a conferencing bridge known to him.  The extension
  can be without consultation, which means that he moves the
  point-to-point call to the focus and then adds the third party (this
  can be done in various ways).  The extension can be done with
  consultation, which means that he puts his current party on hold
  calls, the third party and asks him to join the conference and then
  transfers all the participants to the conferencing bridge.

3.2  Lecture mode conferences

  This conference scenario enables a conference with a lecturer that
  present a topic and can allow questions.  The lecturer needs to know
  who are the participants and to be able to give them the right to
  speak.  The right to speak can be based on floor control but can also
  be based on an out of band mechanism.

  In general, the lecturer will be seen/heard by the conference
  participants and often will share a presentation  or application with
  the other participants.

  A participant joining this type of conference can get the identity of
  the lecturer and often the identities of the audience participants.

  This type of conference may have multiple media streams.  For
  example, if simultaneous language translation is available, a
  participant will have the option of selecting the appropriate
  language audio stream.  Multiple video streams could include the
  speaker's face and a whiteboard/demonstration stream.

3.3  Conference with simple and advanced participants

  A focus can include participants that are a mix of simple and
  advanced participants.  Those participants may be basic participants

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  or the GW function may proxy the advanced functionality between the
  different protocols and the focus.  For example, an IVR system or a
  web page interface can be used to provide additional functionality.

3.4  A reserved or ad-hoc conference with conference aware participants.

  The initiating participant will call the focus using for example a
  unique identifier in order to start the conference.  The focus may
  use some authenticating method to qualify the participant.  The other
  participants may call the focus and join the conference.  The focus
  will be able to find the capabilities of the participants.  In case
  of a reserved conference the focus will start the conference at the
  scheduled time.  The participants may join by call the conference URI
  or the focus may call them.  The conference may have privilege levels
  associated with a specific conference or participant.  The privileges
  will be for the initiating participant and for a regular participant;
  the initiating participant may delegate privileges to the other
  participants.  The privileges will allow functionality as defined in
  the next section.

3.5  Advanced conference features

  The following scenarios can be used in all the advance conferencing
  scenarios.  In the examples given in this section, when referring to
  a participant that has a functionality it means a participant with
  the right privileges.  These scenarios may be available in the
  advanced conferencing scenarios and are common in many conferencing
  applications.  This is not a requirement list but some examples of
  how specific functionality are being used in a conference.

  Add Participants - A participant may add a new participant to the
  focus.  This can be done, for example, by instructing the focus to
  call the participant or by the participant calling the new
  participant and pointing him to the conference.  The participant may
  delete participants from the focus if he can identify them.

  Changing Devices/Modes - During the course of a conference, a
  participant may switch between devices with different capabilities
  while still remaining part of the conference.  For example, a
  participant may initially join using a mobile phone and then switch
  to a desk top phone.  Or a participant may join with a phone,
  discover that the conference has video streams available, and switch
  to a video phone.

  Changing Media - During the conference a participant may be able to
  select different media streams than the one he had when he joined the
  conference.  An example is a participant that initially joined the
  conference as an audio participant.  The participant was not able to

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  understand the conversation properly and he learned that there is
  also an interactive text available, the participant asked to get also
  the text stream.  The text sidebar may be using RFC 2973 interactive

  Authenticate participants - A participant can authenticate other
  participants that want to join the focus.  This can be done
  implicitly by assigning a password to the conference and letting the
  focus authenticate the new participants or explicitly by directing
  the authentication requests to the initiating participant who will
  authenticate each user.

  Controlling the presentation of media - during the conference the
  participant may be able to manage whose media is being sent to each
  participant.  For example the participant may be able to decide that
  he wants to be the speaker and all the rest are listeners he may also
  specify whose media he wants to receive.  The participant may be able
  to mute a media stream during the conference.

  Giving privileges - the participant may want, during the conference,
  to give a privilege to another participant.  The assigning of
  privileges may be implicit when requested or explicit by asking the
  participant to grant a privilege.

  Side conferences or sidebars - the participant may want to create a
  side conference that include some of the participants.  When the side
  conference is done the participants will return to the main
  conference.  A side bar may have the same functionality as the main
  conference.  There can be some sidebars scenarios.  The simple one
  will be based on capabilities of two participants to have two calls
  at the same time and they will have a point to point call in parallel
  to the main conference, it is an end point implementation to decide
  if to mix both calls streams or to enable the user to switch between
  them.  The sidebar scenario that will use the focus will use the same
  call he is in and let the focus create the sidebar and compose the
  relevant sidebar stream mixes.  These mixes can include the main
  conference as an incoming stream to the mix.  A way to signal the
  creation of the sidebar and how to invite participants and control
  the mixes should be available.  For example, participants in an audio
  sidebar can generally not be heard by the rest of the conference.
  However, the main conference audio may be mixed in the sidebar, but
  at a low volume, or in a different channel.  A sidebar can have a
  different media type from the main conference - a video call can have
  an audio sidebar where the other participants can see the sidebar
  participants talking but can not hear them.  Or an audio or video
  conference may have a text sidebar.

  Focus information - When a participant joins the focus he is

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  announced to the participants.  An announcement may be available when
  he leaves the focus.  The participants may query the focus for its
  current participants.  This presence information can be used by

  Extending of a conference - Reserved conferences and ad-hoc
  conferences may have a time limit.  The focus will inform the
  participants when the limit is close and may allow the extension of
  the conference.

  Adding and removing a media type to the conference - a participant
  may want to start a power point presentation during a conference.  He
  may want to distribute this new media to all the participants.  The
  participant will request from the focus to start the new media
  channel and to allow him to send data in the new channel.

  Audio only participants - In a multimedia conference some of the
  users who want to join has no way to send and receive all the media
  types.  Typically they can send and receive audio.  Such participants
  will join the conference as audio only participants.  The general
  case is that users may send and receive only part of the media
  streams available in the multi media conference.

  Passive participants - In a conference some participants may be
  listeners to all or part of the media streams.  They may be invisible
  to all the other participants.

  Recorders - A recorder can be added to the conference.  A recorder
  can record all streams or a subset of the streams.  A recorder is a
  case of a passive participant.

  Whisper/Private Message - A participant can send one way message
  (text, audio, or even some other media) to another participant that
  is immediately rendered.  This differs from a sidebar in that it is
  immediate and creates no long-lived session.

4.  Scenarios for media policy control

  During a conference media streams may be controlled by authorized
  users using either a media control protocol or a third party
  application.  This section will describe some typical media control
  scenarios.  The conference can be of any size starting from small
  conferences (3-5 participants) through medium size of up to 16
  participants and large conferences.  Some of the media control
  scenarios are typical to specific conference size.  As a general rule
  larger conferences scenarios tend to be more centrally managed or

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  The scenarios apply to audio conferences as well as to multimedia
  conferences.  There are some specific information about the mixed
  video layout and about interactive text discussed bellow.

4.1  Video mixing scenarios

  For video the user selects one of a set of pre-defined video
  presentations offered by the server.  Each video presentation is
  identified by a textual description as well as an image specifying
  how the presentation looks like on the screen.  In this scenario by
  choosing a video presentation the user chooses how many video streams
  (participants) will be viewed at once and the layout of these video
  streams on the screen.

  The contents of each sub-window can be defined by a conference policy
  or controlled by authorized participants.  In other aspects like
  number of different mixes in the conference and a custom mix for each
  user, these functionality are similar to audio mixing and are based
  on server capabilities and authorization.

  Note that for non-centralized mixing if the endpoint mixer does not
  support the media presentation of the conference, the participant can
  get the default media presentation offered by the endpoint mixer.

  The following are a list of typical video presentations; there are
  other layouts available today in commercial products:

  - Single view: This presentation typically shows the video of the
  loudest speaker

  - Dual View: This presentation shows two streams.  If the streams are
  to be multiplexed in one image (typical of centralized servers) the
  multiplexing can be:

  1.  Side by side with no altered aspect ratio and hence blanking of
  parts of the image might be necessary if the streams are to be
  combined as one image.

  2.  Side by side windows with altered aspect ratios and hence
  blanking parts of the image is not necessary.  The mixer handles the
  cropping of the images.

  3.  One above the other windows with no altered aspect ratio

  4.  One above the other windows with altered aspect ratio

  - Quadrate view: This presentation shows 4 streams.  If the streams
  are to be multiplexed into one image (centralized server) they will

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  be arranged in a 2x2 style.  Note that in this style the aspect
  ratios are maintained.

  - 9 sub-picture view: This presentation shows 9 streams.  If the
  streams are to be multiplexed in one image they will be arranged in a
  3x3 style.  In the multiplexing case cropping is performed under the
  discretion of the mixer.

  - 16 sub-picture view: This presentation shows 16 streams.  If the
  streams are to be multiplexed into one image they will be arranged in
  a 4x4 style.  In this style the aspect ratios are maintained and no
  cropping or blanking is needed.

  - 5+1 sub-picture view: This presentation shows 6 streams.  If the
  streams are to be multiplexed into one image then the pictures are
  laid so that one sub-window occupies four ninth of the screen while
  the other five occupy a ninth of the screen each.

4.2  Typical video conferencing scenario

  In this scenario the audio is typically an n-1 audio mixing.  Every
  participant will get a mixed audio of N loudest participants but his
  own audio will not be part of the received mix.  All the participants
  will see the current speaker and he will see the previous speaker.
  This mode is typical to small conference.

  User with correct authorization can exclude one or more users from
  the audio or video mix.  An indication might be displayed to the
  affected users indicating that they are not being seen/heard.

  User with correct authorization can manipulate the gain level
  associated with one or more audio streams in the mix.

4.3  Conference Sidebar scenario

  An authorized user creates a side bar.  The user selects whether the
  sidebar should include the media from the main conference or not and
  the audio gain level associated with the main conference audio.

  A user invites participants to the sidebar and upon acceptance they
  start receiving the sidebar media as specified by the sidebar
  creator.  If the new participant is not a participant of the
  conference but rather just the sidebar the participant will only
  receive the sidebar media without the media of the main conference
  being mixed.

  A user with the right authorization can move another participant into
  the sidebar with no indication in which case the user will suddenly

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  start receiving the sidebar media.

  Sidebar participants with the right authorization can select to hear
  or not hear the main conference audio mixed with the sidebar audio

  A participant can be a participant to more than one sidebar but can
  only actively participate in one.

  A participant can jump back and forth between the main conference and
  one or more sidebars to actively participate.

4.4  Coaching scenario

  This is a call center or a remote training session where there is a
  supervisor that can monitor.  There are the supervised users that may
  be the call center operators or the teachers

  The supervisor will be a hidden participant and will not be part of
  the participant roster.

  The supervised users might get an announcement/tone indicating that
  the supervisor has joined.  The other participants do not hear the

  Supervisor listens/sees to the session but can only be heard/seen by
  the supervised user.

  Supervisor can become a normal participant in which case the
  participants will see the supervisor as part of the roster and will
  start hearing and seeing him.

4.5  Presentation and QA session

  An example is a panel earning call scenario in which a group of
  presenters deliver material to a group of people.  After the
  presentation is finished a QA session is opened.

  The conference is created as a panel and the panel participants are
  identified.  Only their streams will be mixed.

  After the end of the presentation the session chair changes the
  conference type to normal and now streams from all users may be

  A floor control protocol can be used instead of changing the
  conference type.  The chair can grant the right to speak by adding
  just the participant whose turn is to ask a question to the
  conference mix.

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4.6  Presence enabled ad-hoc conference

  A presence enabled ad-hoc conference, sometimes described as "walkie
  talkie" service is a scenario in which a participant sends media to
  the other participants of the conference after receiving a
  confirmation of the other participants availability.  For example, a
  participant presses a talk button which checks the presence of the
  participants to see if they are available for communication.  If they
  are, a confirmation tone is played and the participant can then talk,
  which results in the media being sent to the other participants in
  the conference.  These types of conferences tend to be long lived,
  hence the need for presence to ensure that the other participants are
  still available.  The ad-hoc nature of the conference means that the
  participant list can be changed at any time.  Floor control can be
  used to allow other participants to speak, as the conference is
  usually half-duplex in nature.

4.7  Group chat text conferencing

  Group chat is a common scenario for text messaging in which a
  participant joins (or enters) a chat room in which text messages from
  participants are rendered in a single window and attributed to the
  participant that sent the message.  Changes in conference membership
  are often announced in the text window itself (e.g.  "Alice has just
  entered the room.  Bob has just departed.")  Note that a real-time
  transcription/closed captioning service can provide a similar window
  in which audio media is converted into interactive text.  "Nick
  names" or aliases are often chosen by participants or assigned by the
  focus and used as handles within the room.

4.8  Interactive text

  Interactive text is using RTP to carry text one character at a time
  providing real-time interactivity, as described in RFC2793.  [2] The
  interactive text session may be the main conference itself, or it may
  be used in conjunction with other media types.  Interactive text may
  serve as text stream representing the audio in the conference using
  some translation services.  There can be more then one such stream
  where each text stream is in a different language.  These text
  streams may be used as subtitles to the audio stream.  The
  translation from to text to speech and back is done by transcoders.
  Those transcoder have similar functionality to transcoders between
  different audio or video algorithms.

  The conference participants should be able to select to receive those
  text streams with the conference audio or without it.

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4.9  Moderated group chat

  A moderated group chat scenario for text messaging is similar to
  group chat but with all text messages sent to the group being
  filtered/approved by a moderator.  Note that the moderator can be a
  human or an application.  The moderator also often has the ability to
  remove participants and provide feedback on their submissions (e.g.
  provide warnings before removal).

4.10  Text sidebars

  Interactive text or instant messaging sidebars are perhaps the most
  common sidebars in conferences today.  Often the text sessions are
  separate from the conference.  However, there are some advantages to
  having text sessions be a sidebar and as a result a part of the main
  conference.  For example, a conference which is providing anonymity/
  aliases to participants can also provide anonymous/alias sidebars.  A
  text sidebar can also benefit from other security/logging/recording
  services provided by the focus.

  Another use of a text sidebar is a text only conversation/discussion
  between two or more conference participants while at the same time
  following the main conference without being distracted by additional

4.11  Advanced media control features

  The following features can be used in all the conferencing scenarios.

  Announcement - The conference moderator may be able to play
  announcements to all the conference participants.  The announcement
  may be pre-recorded or composed by the moderator before sending them.
  The announcements may be text, audio or audio visual.  An example is
  a conference with several audio break out sessions going on.  At some
  point in the time, the moderator wants to record an audio message
  like "in 5 minutes, everyone please come back to the main meeting"
  and then play that message to all of the breakout sessions.

5.  Security Considerations

  Conferences generally have authorization rules about who may or may
  not join a conference, what type of media may or may not be used,
  etc.  This information, sometimes called the conference policy, is
  used by the focus to admit or deny participation in a conference.
  For the conference policy to be implemented, the focus needs to be
  able to authenticate potential participants.  The methods used will
  depend on the signaling protocols used by the focus.  This can
  include a challenge/response mechanism, certificates, shared secret,

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  asserted identity, etc.  These conference specific security
  requirements are discussed further in the XCON requirements and
  framework documents.

6.  IANA Considerations

  There are no IANA considerations associated with this specification.

7.  Acknowledgements

  Thanks to Brian Rosen for contributing conferencing scenarios.

  Thanks to Alan Johnston for going over the document and adding some
  more scenarios.

8  Informative References

  [1]  Rosenberg, J., "A Framework  for Conferencing with the Session
       Initiation Protocol", draft-
       ietf-sipping-conferencing-framework-01 (work in progress),
       October 2003.

  [2]  Hellstrom, G., "RTP Payload for Text Conversation", RFC 2793,
       May 2000.

Authors' Addresses

  Roni Even
  94 Derech Em Hamoshavot
  Petach Tikva  49130

  EMail: roni.even@polycom.co.il

  Nermeen Ismail
  Cisco Systems, Inc.
  170 West Tasman Drive
  San Jose  95134

  EMail: nismail@cisco.com

Even & Ismail          Expires November 30, 2004               [Page 14]

Internet-Draft            Conference Scenarios                 June 2004

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