Mission, BC – Mission residents can now log in at home or wherever they are to watch the district’s public council meetings in all their colourful detail.

Anyone with Internet can watch the meetings streamed live, and will also be able to view them as archived recordings.

The online broadcasts began recently as part of a district plan first presented in February to upgrade the technology in the council chambers, said Paul Gipps, deputy chief administrative officer, who is overseeing the project along with the district’s project co-ordinator, Shaun Greene.

The sound was a little inconsistent for various speakers during early attempts, but Gipps said they are tweaking the system.

“We’re trying to get the councillors to speak into the microphones. There are a few bugs to work out,” he said.

“We’ve just increased the bandwidth, so the

should be a bit better,” added Greene, who explained the quality may also depend on the receiving technology – generally a desktop computer will have better quality than a laptop.

The new technology includes a webcam, the relevant hard wiring and supports, computer software, and a large screen in the lobby for overflow crowds.

The overall cost to the district for going online is $25,000 until the end of December, said Gipps.

The package also includes services provided by external government data management firm, Swagit Productions, that is responsible for upkeeping the archives. Mission will pay a yearly fee of just under $15,000 to Swagit.

“The company that we work with monitors the feed and then posts the agenda the next day, and it’s all broken down to agenda items,” said Greene. The program they use is quite complex, and is better handled by the outside source, he said.

The archived meetings are broken down by item, complete with graphics and presentation information relevant to each discussion.

“We’re quite happy with it so far,” said Greene.

The innovation is part of an overall technology overhaul for the council chambers, which hasn’t seen any upgrades for a decade, said Gipps.

Earlier this year, the council table was moved from the floor level back up to the council dais. The district also brought in new microphones and sound systems for the room, at a cost of $15,000.

The agendas are processed with new software that makes the information easier to manage, said Gipps.

Six of the seven councillors and two administrators received new iPads – Coun. Jenny Stevens, who is blind, received a new laptop with talking software – for a total cost of $13,000.

The communications equipment was long due for an upgrade, said Gipps.

“Nothing’s been done in the council chambers for 10 years. And [the councillors’] laptops were five years old or more,” he said.

To watch the council webcasts, go to www. mission.ca.

Posted on 10/11/2012 by CHRISTINA TOTH, THE TIMES



Swagit Productions, LLC is a leading video production company specializing in providing streaming media solutions to television stations, newspapers and local government agencies. Swagit pioneered the ‘Hands-Free’ fully automated streaming service plan. This eliminates 100% of the labor required in producing professional and easily accessible streaming videos for meetings and newscasts. For more information about Swagit, please visit: www.swagit.com or call 1-800-573-3160.