4 Ways Technology Can Improve Your Council Meetings

Council meetings have a long tradition in America, going all the way back to the colonial days. Local representatives would have meetings in places where the public could hear what was being discussed, where they could offer their views, and ask questions. It ensured a transparent system of government, and let everyone see how the machinery worked.

However, things have changed since then. While the idea of keeping council meetings open to the public is certainly good, we live in a much faster-paced world than we used to. A world where people can’t stop everything they’re doing to drive across town spending several hours listening to a council meeting. Fortunately, our technology allows us to improve our meetings in a variety of ways.

1. Improve Accessibility

People lead busy lives in the modern age. We work around the clock, we go to school, and we try to better ourselves and our situations. Even if we have an interest in government, we can’t always block out an hour or three in the middle of a Thursday to go attend a meeting. What we can do, though, is watch that meeting on our smartphones, leave comments in a live chat, and interact with politicians that way.

All it takes is a camera and Sliq software to take a meeting that only a few people could attend, if they chose, and open it up to everyone who has an interest in finding out what’s happening in their constituency.

2. Save Time

Another reason old-fashioned meetings might not be attended with the same regularity that they once were is that they take time. Both council members and members of the public have to block out the time, they have to travel, find parking, and go through a dozen other hassles. Technology can cut all of those hoops out of the process, and allow everyone to get right down to business. Council members could log in straight from their offices, and have digital meetings in an online space. Constituents can tune-in from wherever they are to watch. And no one has to leave their house, or cancel their evening plans, to see what’s going on.

3. Encourage Engagement

When you take down barriers to attending an event, the result is that more people tend to show interest in that event. Council meetings that take place at 6:30 on a Friday night might be convenient for some people, but those who have work, or who can’t beat traffic, or who otherwise can’t make that time can’t participate. People who are free, but who don’t want to go through the hassle of physically attending would also be turned off. But by removing those barriers and taking a meeting digital, more people would engage with it. Because taking out your phone and watching a meeting, whether live or recorded, is a lot easier than trying to fit in into an already busy schedule.

Additionally, technology can be used to let people know when and where meetings are taking place with greater ease. Instead of burying the details in a website, it’s now possible to put meetings up on the council’s social media pages, and to blast links to anyone who cares to watch. Technology can actively reach out to people who would otherwise not even be involved.

4. Go Green

Another of the great benefits of integrating technology into your council meetings is that they become more green. Most of the time, though, this happens in subtle ways.

For example, say that meetings are largely attended digitally instead of in-person. Ask how many people are no longer driving across town, burning fuel to attend. How many resources are saved by using a smaller room that doesn’t take as much energy to heat or cool, and how much less power it takes to communicate digitally.

To read more about how technology can improve your council meetings, read GovTech’s article entitled “How Technology is Giving Town Hall Meetings a Modern Twist“.

Sliq Welcomes Their First Canadian Municipal Customers

Municipalities across Canada adopt the popular legislative streaming software Harmony Freedom Advantage.

One year ago Sliq made Harmony Freedom Advantage (HFA) available to municipalities across Canada. Since then, nearly a dozen cities have signed up to give Sliq streaming a try.

Sliq software is used by some of the world’s most prestigious legislatures including the Canadian House of Commons and the UK House of Commons. After years of evaluating and refining HFA, Sliq is thrilled to provide municipalities with access to a top tier streaming solution. The District of West Vancouver and the City of Sarnia are just two examples of municipalities that jumped at the chance to get the same great software for a fraction of the cost.

Understanding the frustration of legislatures, Sliq created a software solution that would enable governments to manage vast quantities of audio and video content. While many governments are lagging in mobile friendly and responsive web video, Sliq strives to close the gap by providing effective solutions that are affordable. With HFA, municipalities are able to schedule, index and post videos online all from one application. Citizens can watch meetings live and on-demand directly through their municipality’s website. Moreover, citizens can use video indexes to skip to the points of the meeting that are relevant to them.

With one-step agenda importation, short cut indexing and automatic video uploads, Sliq has been able to deliver an unsurpassable level of functionality to their customers.

Getting started with Sliq is not only quick and easy but it is also an affordable and all-inclusive monthly service with no startup fees. Get in touch with Sliq to learn how HFA can meet the needs of your government.

Sliq is offering a free trial to qualified municipalities. “We are happy to offer potential customers a free trial. It’s an opportunity for them to try our software, interact with our support team and see what makes our offerings so superior,” said Nic Côté, VP Business Development. The trial is straight forward: Sliq will send you an encoder with their software installed, the encoder will stream the audio/video from your meeting, send it to the cloud and place it on your website. After two months, if you are not satisfied, just send the encoder back.