Sara Mason

Encourage Active Civic Participation with Video-on-Demand Streaming
By Sara Mason

For many communities and local governments, one of the most common requests they get from their constituency is the ability to watch municipal videos online. The public may not use buzzwords like the cloud, video-on-demand (VOD), or streaming¸ but the request is the same, they want to watch meetings and other community-based videos on their computer, whenever they want. In addition to being extremely convenient, streaming helps residents stay informed and encourages active civic participation. With a more informed and engaged constituency, the lines of communication between local governments and residents open up.

Access for Those Who Can’t Attend

By providing viewers with meetings and other content on-demand via the Internet, communities will have a better informed constituency with increased participation. In every community there are residents who want to attend meetings but have scheduling conflicts. Most municipal and school board meetings take place on weekday evenings. However, for many residents, this time of day is often filled with family obligations, work schedules or other commitments that conflict with meeting times. There may also be residents who are not physically able to leave their homes to attend meetings or other community events, but who would like to see them. A resident may want to actively follow the progress of their community, but without a video-on-demand solution it may not be feasible. However, residents can easily fit into their busy schedules the ability to view a meeting or other community event online at a time that’s convenient to them. With an online VOD solution, a community can engage and inform many more citizens than they can without one.

For communities with a “snowbird” population, or part-time residents who live in southern states in the colder months and northern states in the warmer ones, an Internet VOD solution helps keep those citizens engaged while they are away. These residents can access meetings in which taxes or other relevant issues are discussed or keep up to date on local sports and community events.

Video-on-demand also caters to those who only need information on a single subject and would rather not attend an entire meeting. When residents are concerned about just one topic, they’re often reluctant to sit through an entire meeting when only a few minutes of that meeting may be dedicated to the subject they are interested in. With the indexing capabilities of many online VOD services, residents can quickly find the portion of the meeting that pertains to them and watch it at their convenience.

Added Benefits for Attendees

Video-on-demand streaming is also a benefit to those citizens who are able to attend meetings or events. After a meeting, an attendee may want to review a particular agenda item to gain a better understanding of what was discussed, or they may want to re-watch a community event they attended that they particularly enjoyed.

Internet VOD also allows residents to share a meeting with others who may have missed it. If a meeting covers a topic that is of interest to a particular person who did not attend, a VOD solution allows an attendee to share the meeting with that person. By allowing attendees to share video of the actual meeting, communities can ensure that attendees are passing along accurate information. Sharing the video with other residents may also engage them and prompt them to become more involved in the community as a result.

Increased Engagement

Video-on-demand streaming is often implemented in conjunction with a broadcast channel as a way to make content that is not currently being aired accessible. VOD streaming can also be a huge benefit for communities that do not have a cable channel. Many communities use their broadcast channels as an avenue to share past and upcoming events, broadcast meetings, and engage their community. Without a broadcast channel from the local cable provider, a good way to accomplish the same connection is to stream content online.

Decreased FOIA Requests

Streaming meetings online helps cut down on Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, and allows residents to stay informed. Giving residents access to an online VOD website provides them with a place to find consistent updates on local news, events, and other video content specific to their community, and gives them a resource they know they can use when they are looking for the latest information on any local issue or event. Many VOD services even offer the ability to link meeting agendas and other documents covered in each meeting alongside the videos. These types of digital services associated with VOD services not only increase convenience and accessibility, but also reduce the staff time needed to disseminate hard copies of documents and meeting minutes to the public.

Providing access as convenient as visiting a website at any time, allows local governments to engage residents while making it easy for them to take an interest in their community. To help communities implement streaming solutions into their workflow, LEIGHTRONIX offers both online video-on-demand and live streaming solutions. Learn more about LEIGHTRONIX streaming solutions at leightronix.com/streaming. With these services, communities can engage their residents, keep them informed, and encourage them to participate more actively in the community.

Sara, a vital member of the LEIGHTRONIX sales team for over 13 years, manages the inside sales team and works on key accounts. She has also provided the invaluable service of regular webinars, teaching both customers and dealers how to best utilize LEIGHTRONIX products and services.

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