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Paperless Meeting Technologies for Local Governments

Multimedia conference systems are an efficient response to paperless government mandates. Integrating various technologies into one unit, they reduce the need for multiple devices and documents at the conference table. 

 

In this age of environmental consciousness, more and more local governments have mandates to “go paperless” and are now in search of innovative ideas and technologies to achieve their goal. One of their primary areas of interest is how to acquire paperless meeting technologies.

Go Paperless!

In some city council chambers, documents such as the meeting’s agenda, voting resolutions, featured speeches, and other presentation materials are still being printed and distributed to the council members and the audience. While some other chambers have digitized their documents and display them on a screen – they are often very difficult to read.

Today, the tools exist to help council members prepare, store, retrieve, and display this information digitally and securely – while displaying the documents on personal screens for easy viewing.  As a result of this new technology, we are now starting to see paperless multimedia systems that integrate multiple meeting technologies into one unit, which greatly reduces the need for multiple devices on the conference table, such as laptops or monitors. These multimedia units also include audio, video, and electronic voting capabilities, and allow the council chambers to achieve their paperless goal.

Upgrades for Televised Councils

Local governments often discover these new paperless meeting technologies as they encounter issues with their council chamber audio and video systems. As more and more chambers have incorporated audio recording, teleconferencing equipment, or are required to broadcast their proceedings on local cable TV or live stream them on the web, they are discovering the weaknesses of their existing boundary mic/auto-mix system that deliver unwanted noise to the far end and restrict the level of amplification inside the chamber.  The good news is that an easy solution exists to fix all of these issues - while moving towards achieving paperless council meetings. 

The optimum solution for council chamber applications is a conference system. A conference system is an all-in-one technology that provides a controllable microphone unit to each council member with a built-in speaker for improving sound quality, and an optional voting interface. The quality of the audio is greatly improved both in the chamber and on the recordings, teleconferences, or broadcasts. 

Conference systems can also allow you to capture, organize, and store valuable meeting data by using basic system software. Information such as who spoke, when they spoke, how long they spoke, what agenda item they were speaking to, and how they voted on that agenda item, attendance, and voting totals can be archived for access and review at a later date. You can choose to display information such as agenda, speaker lists, or voting results or keep them private.

Facilitating Council Members’ Work

Digital recording of the proceedings is also possible with attached metadata that allows you to search a recorded meeting for when a specific person spoke. This means you can go back in time, pull up a meeting folder by date, and search the recordings by the participant’s name. The recording is done digitally in standard mp3 or wav format and can be saved down to your pc hard drive or a secured network drive. By organizing agendas and recordings for current and future meetings, this type of software is a great help to chamber administrative staff. Conference systems greatly facilitate the work of the council members and will bring your council chambers up to date with the current standards for paperless meeting technologies.

This year, one conference system manufacturer has gone a step further by releasing a conference microphone system with a built-in monitor or touch screen. With this new system, council members have the ability to access, view, edit, and share documents on their own personal 10” or 14” screen. Beyond the document display, you can also push any video source to this screen for personal viewing. Even better: the unit has an on-board camera, which activates whenever the microphone is turned on. Think about it – no more having to mount cameras on the wall and try to get a good shot of someone on a curved table. Want more?? how about an on-screen teleprompter? Yes – you can bring up a copy of your speech and deliver it right there, in front of the microphone and looking into the on-board video camera. Everything council members need is in one compact unit; this is the ultimate technology for paperless council meetings.

In politics, image is everything - and the aesthetics of your council chamber reflect your effectiveness as a public leader. With an all-in-one concept, guaranteeing a simple and cost-effective installation, conference systems provide the latest in meeting technologies. The end result is a meeting with less paper and no personal laptop required, and with a built-in video camera and conference microphone (with optional electronic voting feature) provided. In short, a clean multimedia machine!

Media Vision
Media Vision is a leading provider of professional audio solutions that improve intelligibility and participation for effective meetings

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