Granicus’ 2020 Citizen Engagement Benchmarks: Video Increases Access
Technology played a major role in helping keep day-to-day activities moving in 2020. Once seen as a convenience to business travelers and remote workers, video streaming technology became a standard tool not only in the global workplace, but for everything from family gatherings to education.
The impact of live and on-demand streaming solutions is evident in the second of our 2020 Civic Engagement Benchmarks: Meetings.
Video: Solutions Put to the Test in Demanding Times
Throughout 2020, governments relied on Granicus’ govMeetings solution to continue encouraging citizen involvement during open-session meetings. Despite the presence of COVID restrictions—and often because of them—residents were keenly interested in knowing more about policy decisions over the last year.
More than just staying engaged with how their tax dollars were being spent, many governmental meetings dealt with issues of public health that would have immediate effects for residents. The inability to attend meetings in person put a greater pressure on resources that created more access online. To meet that need, state and local officials leveraged the power of video and live streaming.
Thanks to govMeetings’ ability to publish comprehensive public records, including videos that are easily navigated with hyperlinked agendas and minutes, citizens were able to maintain their involvement and connect with their government.
With more than 160,000 hours of video uploaded last year, averaging almost one per day and over 11,000 per month, it’s clear that governments are seeing live streaming as a valuable tool for their meetings not only during the pandemic, but moving forward in a new world where video streaming has become both more prevalent and accepted as a regular communications tool.
As part of this growth, the importance of creating a structure to broadcast remote meetings proved vital to successful engagement. Providing easy ways for citizens to actively participate in meetings through timely and relevant commenting capabilities also played a large role in building successful video meetings for governments.
Flexibility and Transparency to Build Public Trust
Especially in a year where residents were more likely to reach out to government services for information and assistance, providing flexible digital resources was a necessity for government agencies that, even before the COVID pandemic, were constantly looking for efficiencies.
Providing interactive streaming of meetings is one thing. Creating a verbatim meeting record without the need for long-form minutes is another. Empowering citizens with the flexibility to search videos by keyword, allowing them to find the exact point when a topic is discussed, helps build trust while alleviating the time and staff resources used on fulfilling research requests.
With almost 100,000 hours of video indexed to cross-link with agendas and meeting minutes, citizens have even more ways to bypass government clerks and find the information they need. And with the digital flexibility of indexed videos, researchers have the freedom to access information through the tool of their choice, including with mobile devices.
Indexing videos also allows previously unavailable methods of monitoring public engagement. Thanks to in-depth video analytics and social media sharing, governments can look at long-term and immediate impact created by video of their meetings, ultimately reaching, and engaging with, a broader audience.
Making Meeting Videos Accessible to More Citizens
Digital technology has not only created the means to provide the experience of attending a meeting remotely, but done so in a way with tools that make information more accessible to those who may otherwise not be able to participate.
Live and on-demand meeting video captioning allows for agendas and information to be easily tracked through the course of a meeting. It also expands the accessibility of the vital public conversation to those who are deaf or hearing impaired. The digital commenting also allows an easier way to provide a voice to citizens in a way that is ADA compliant.
Despite the rise in number of government meetings being streamed over the last year, the number of videos using captioning continues to lag behind the pace in 2020. With only roughly one out of every seven videos streamed by govMeetings clients using captioning, the opportunity to more fully connect with a broad group of citizens is there for the taking in 2021.
Leveraging the Power of the Cloud
Cloud computing continued to develop as a dominant factor of digital communications in 2020. Moving into 2021, cloud computing, and the benefits that come with the accessibility it brings, has become an indispensable tool for communicators going forward.
For government clients using the govMeetings Peak tool, the innovative collaboration and seamless integration with Boards and Commissions, Video, Meeting Efficiency, VoteCast, govDelivery, and other tools continued to build both time efficiencies and help create a unified approach to delivering meeting information to both board members and citizens alike.
Using Peak’s centralized cloud-based management made it easier for a number of clients to generate custom agendas and minutes documents through a built-in template system, and then conveniently route items for sequential or concurrent approval processes.
Efficiently managing agendas, resolutions, contracts, ordinances and other common meeting-related forms from a centralized cloud hub will continue to help organizations save time and money, but also create a unified process to help knock down silos across departments in their agencies.
While 2020’s pandemic may have created the environment that necessitated an increase in video streaming for government meetings, the increased accessibility for citizens, and the efficiencies that automating meeting agendas and videos bring agencies, will continue long into the future.
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