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What you need to know about the new 508 Closed Captioning Requirements

Using a smartphone or webcam and free streaming app to broadcast your public meetings? With increasing demand for accessible digital content, never before has there been a better time to consider an enterprise solution for video streaming public meetings.

In an age of indecision by the federal government, there is one area where they have been and continue to be abundantly clear:  any state or local government must provide equal access to digital services for people with sensory, cognitive, or physical disabilities.  New Section 508 standards went into effect Thursday, January 18, requiring all federal organizations and states that receive funding from the federal government to become compliant. Even if an organization doesn’t receive federal funds, many states also require compliance.

As before, the goal of the guidelines is to allow people with disabilities greater access to the critical information available on government websites and digital communications. This revision is focused on reducing the compliance exemptions for hardware and software found in the 2001 amendment of the Workforce Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

If you’ve been trying to justify the purchase of an enterprise video solution for public meetings, the updated standards are your reason.  Governments live streaming or recording public meetings now need closed captioning to be compliant with the new Section 508 requirements.  Gone are the short-lived days where anyone with a smart phone or webcam and free streaming app can broadcast their meetings and sufficiently reach those with disabilities.

Granicus’ Video with Closed Captioning offers agencies an easy and seamless way to become and stay compliant. The software allows captions to be recorded in real time or added to archived events and can be completely configured to meet Section 508, ADA and FCC accessibility standards. Our captions meet the industry standard of 98 percent understandability rating and archived video and can transcribe up to 200 words per minute. Additionally, Closed Captioning makes it easier to search the captioned text, allowing both officials and citizens to quickly find sections of a meeting that they need.

Does your agency need help becoming 508 compliant? Contact us and we’ll work with you to ensure the important information your organization provides can be accessed by everyone.