Jackson, WY. On November 13th the Town of Jackson will launch a new website including video streaming of Town Council meetings to the public.
The Website will offer new services including live video streaming of Town Council meetings as well as indexed video archiving after meetings have concluded allowing for ease of review and retrieval. Other services being offered on the new site include by-design accessibility from smartphones and tablets, improved organization of information, locally-submitted photos and engaging and up-to-date content. Online bill pay for utility billings will be live by the end of the year. Electronic payment of citations and improved electronic submittal of applications for permits will follow shortly thereafter.
“The needs in the community have really evolved with smart phones and mobile technology,” Mayor Barron commented. “We want to be responsive to requests for information and services and because people will be able to get instant information from their mobile devices we think this is one way to provide better service.”
Director of Information Technology, Michael “Zolo” Palazzolo, is hopeful the new platform will be attractive to users and believes video streaming was overdue. “The new site and video streaming are pieces of a larger vision for responsibly contemporizing technology in the Town,” he said. “Mayor Barron and the Town Council have shown their support for this vision by instructing our team to make streaming a reality.”
For Website design, The Town enlisted local firm Focus43. Tasked with a mobile-first approach, the firm has employed responsive Web design to create a single site that looks and feels at home on any device from phone to tablet to desktop. Jason Wright, Town Network Engineer and project manager for the Website overhaul said, “We wanted a site that would perform like an app on mobile devices and feel natural on a large desktop screen, all in one seamless experience.” Palazzolo added, “This design delivers a truly platform and device-agnostic solution without the ongoing costs of app development across those same proprietary environments.” According to Palazzolo and Wright, Focus43 “hit the nail on the head” with their design.
The Town of Jackson worked with a company called Swagit Productions for video streaming, which offered a turnkey, cost-effective solution. The system consists of cameras and production and encoding equipment, with content distributed and archived via a hosted “cloud” environment.
Town staff has been testing the site as well as testing the new video streaming system in an effort to ensure a smooth rollout. The Town Council meetings scheduled for 3:00 P.M. and 6:00 P.M. on November 18, 2013 will be the first meetings video streamed to the public.