Usergroup: A big thanks and webcasting points

We had a fantastic reception to our usergroup on Friday, which was attended well in person and online. This was probably partly down to the fact that we’ve looked to widen the network of who we bring into the usergroup, inviting a number of people (clients and non-clients alike) on Twitter in the days preceding the usergroup. This helped to generate a really good online discussion, which really helped the conversation in the room. Thanks to everyone who came along or got involved in the conversation on CoveritLive. It was really good fun and very interesting.

In the afternoon the discussion was given over to Networked Councillor, the project we’ve run with the East of England LGA to scope out the skills for councillors to operate in a digital world. In this post I’m just going to cover some of the main points raised throughout that first half of the meeting. We’ll be writing separately about the product developments and case studies later this week. And there will also be a post about the Networked Councillor session in the afternoon, by someone who was actually there!

First of all Lewis told us about some of the really big developments recently. They included:-

  • We heard from Lewis that we have now integrated with CMIS, committe management system. There will be more about this and our thoughts on integrating with other document management systems later!
  • We have been testing widescreen (and the webcast was streamed and recorded in 16:9). We’re testing it and will be capturing the LGA conference and after that will start to roll it out to all clients – by the end of July.
  • We have developed dual-language encoding for Connect and Connect Social. Read the blog post about this development here.
  • We have changed our content capture (Studio) software to run on 64-bit machines.
  • At Christmas we told you that we’d moved our services to the cloud – to make them more robust. Lewis told us that we’re now very happy with how this has worked out.

Next Lewis took questions on Connect and Connect Social. Some of the highlights were:-

  • Slide control – Lewis told us that we are working to ensure that the interface is more friendly
  • HD webcasts: We’ve introduced wide screen and will be introducing HD cameras and HD streaming.
  • We’ll be removing Windows media streaming. If you’re still using this we’ll be in touch soon to move you to the new codec.
  • Timeline: There was consensus that this was hard to navigate through the jump points. We are looking at that and will be in touch wiht some clients to work out a better way of working this.
  • CMS usability – people felt it was out of date and tricky to navigate. Over the last year we have been building the prototype of the new admin system which was demo’ed at the usergroup.
  • Auto-generating tweets when a meeting is archived: Lewis said that this is now in the development roadmap
  • Widget listing of webcasts: Lots of people felt this was in the wrong order. Lewis said he’d be communicating with people to find out more from clients.
  • Twitter API: This has already been covered with communications to clients, so many of you will already know that thanks to changes in the Twitter API, we can no longer accommodate Twitter content (via a hashtag) in the Connect player (the service is still available for those using Connect Social).

Questions: Next Lewis fielded questions from the floor and Coveritlive. They included:-

  • Damian Beaumont asked for more information about our work to update the R600 mobile kit. Lewis said that we were currently working on this and hoped a prototype of our new kit would be revealed by the end of the year. We are looking at a beta group for helping us to develop this.
  • We were asked why links to webcasts are only available 24 hours before the webcast starts. We’re looking into dealing with this, but there is a way to access these from the CMS that we can cover with clients if they need them.
  • Remote speakers: We were asked about how we could accommodate using Skype to do this and Lewis said that we are working with some Welsh clients to deal with remote attendance. Catherine said that we’re keen to see how we can go beyond this and accomodate direct streaming from any device.
  • Downloading webcasts: Lewis said that while we don’t offer the service, but Catherine said we would like to make webcasts downloadable – and we’d like to talk to clients more about this.
  • YouTube: We were asked by James Cattell if it would be possible to move webcasts straight to YouTube. Lewis explained that this is available to the client – but not to the public. He said we’d be happy to talk about doing this.
  • Auto-archiving: Lewis explained that this is being tested at the moment. This will allow clients to publish a webcast (in archive) when they want to, rather than this being essentially a request to Public-i.

I should point out this isn’t an exhaustive list – I’ve just tried to pick out some of the main points and if you want to see everything please watch the webcast. Please shout if there’s anything here that deserves more explanation or ask some more questions that you’d like answered!

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