The Town recently requested that we look into a way to provide more citizen access to our meetings and information. In an effort to do so staff looked at options available at the most frugal price point in today's economy. We first upgraded our website by providing an in-house solution for content management that put updates back into the hands of our departments. This allows for more timely updates and fresh content as determined by each department rather than through a potential bottleneck within Information Technology not knowing all priorities. We then began to evaluate different ways to supplement our audio/video coverage and delivery. Several different software packages and delivery methods were investigated and assessments based on:
- Service Provided
We elected to use Ustream.tv and YouTube as our platforms of choice. Both services combined provided a live stream of our meetings through your computer or with certain home devices (like AppleTV or Roku) directly to the living room using different freely subscribed channels. Material can be archived for at least 25 hrs and possibly more material in the future. Capabilities to download for offline viewing or additional archiving is possible with a low cost software for publishing and no recurring service cost for our estimated viewer participation.
Our setup consists of the following cameras and one license of Ustream Producer Studio:
What worked were the goals of simplicity and time while making multiple delivery points possible. At the same time we have allowed more access to our citizens and businesses for information on meetings they are unable to attend. Future growth will allow us to concentrate more on content to engage the public rather than delivery. We will also continue to work on a solution that easily and more closely resembles other software packages at a considerable cost.
Our first meeting was recorded on May 14, 2012 as a test where adjustments were made to audio/video sources. We learned that some ideas worked out of the box while some preconceived ideas of what works needed tweaks. Another trial run was recorded at our June 2012 Town Council meeting that went well. The July 2012 meeting was the first true broadcast and demonstration to our Council of the final product.
You can find the following items on our website to access the material or find us direct at the two service providers if so desired.
Please stay tuned for other events and meetings that will be shared in the future through these outlets.
As with all systems there will be kinks to work out and we value our citizens and businesses input on changes you would like to see call the Manager's Office at (252) 215-2340 or email Amy Parker Barrow at firstname.lastname@example.org.