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City integrates in-house live meeting technology with archived streaming media

 

Problem

Los Angeles City Council wanted to increase access to government meetings beyond live streaming and offer an archived, indexed, and searchable meeting record. The challenge was finding a vendor who could offer the streaming architecture and integrate with their existing live meeting system (DOVS).

Solution

Los Angeles partnered with Granicus to provide a hosted streaming media solution and leveraged the Open Platform API to connect Granicus to the city’s in-house system.

Benefits

The city provided residents with free and accessible city council meeting archives, eliminating the need for citizens to pay a fee for a recorded video. Los Angeles fully integrated meeting recordings with their in-house live meeting system without disrupting the clerk’s standard workflow.

Fast Facts

Agency Type
Local Government
Population
3,800,000
Client Since
2006

Los Angeles is the second most populated city in the U.S. and its airport (LAX) is the fifth busiest in the world. The city is home to over 80 stage theaters and 300 museums, more than any other city in the nation.

The City of Los Angeles wanted to add archived streaming to its website without changing current workflows

The City of Los Angeles broadcasted city council meetings live on cable and through its website for several years. But, if a citizen was interested in obtaining a copy of a meeting video, that resident had to pay a fee and wait at least seven days for the request to be fulfilled. “Our council wanted to stay visible and remain cutting edge, so we were tasked with finding a solution that could offer a live, archived, indexed, and searchable meeting record,” recalls Karen Rodriguez, Senior Systems Analyst II, City Clerk Systems Division.

Los Angeles’ Information Technology Agency (ITA) built an in-house live meeting and voting system, Discussion Organizer and Voting System (DOVS), to streamline their meeting procedures. Both the clerk and council members operated in this system; the clerk to keep the official record and council members to cast electronic votes and make requests to speak. “We had resistance from members of our staff who did not want to change their in-meeting process, so we needed to make sure that any integration we built was as seamless as possible and did not affect workflows,” says Rodriguez.

With three meetings a week, they needed to avoid duplicating work to transfer data from one system to the other. It was important that they find an enterprise solution capable of integrating with the system already in place. Replacing the home-grown technology was not an option.

Los Angeles integrated its in-house voting system with Granicus through the Open Platform API

Through the Granicus API, the city fully integrated their in-house system with Granicus’ streaming media platform to meet both user and developer needs. Los Angeles leveraged Granicus’ start, stop, indexing, and publishing features to create a custom solution.

The Integrated Workflow

Before a meeting, Los Angeles creates and uploads an agenda into their in-house system. “We created a macro that saves the agenda as an html file and stores it on the server where Granicus accesses it. Instead of us having to load the html file manually, Granicus automatically grabs the data,” says Rodriguez.

Through the clerk’s routine live meeting workflow, she records actions in DOVS and creates archive files of the meeting in Granicus. “When the clerk hits the start button in our system, she simultaneously starts the Granicus system. And, when she activates an agenda item it inserts the item into the Granicus archive and indexes the video,” explains Rodriguez. Once a meeting is complete, the indexed recording is automatically published to the city’s website.

City retains its in-meeting workflow and offers residents a complete public record

Through the Open Platform API, Los Angeles leveraged Granicus’ technology to stream archived meetings. “Now, we can publish indexed meeting archives to the Web and fulfill our Council’s request to remain transparent without changing our workflow,” says Rodriguez.

All archive recordings are searchable and contain agendas hyper-linked to the video and supporting materials, furthering the city’s commitment to government transparency.

Additional Benefits to the Granicus Solution

  • Brought 19 council committees online with Granicus
  • Ranked as Granicus’ Top Performing Client in 2009 with more than 117,000 archived views
  • Archived more than 4,200 webcasts (2nd most archived webcasts of all Granicus clients)
  • Won the 2008 Los Angeles Quality and Productivity Award for enhancing the quality of life, leveraging existing resources, and making government more accessible
  • Eliminated the need for citizens to pay a fee for recorded videos
  • Saved countless hours of work for staff members tasked with creating committee reports
  • Integrated closed captioning with archived videos
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