Legislative video software specialist Sliq Media Technologies is strengthening the North Dakota Legislative Assembly’s connection to citizens through a fully integrated, turnkey webcasting system. The solution marries a rich, centralized off the shelf content management system featuring multi-format streaming of live government meetings with an existing custom-built legislative bill tracking solution. Operationally, it maximizes efficiency and reduces costs by automating the ingestion, presentation and management of streaming content that the Legislative Assembly ultimately delivers to desktop and mobile consumer devices.
The Sliq solution is particularly unique on the market given the depth and integration flexibility provided to customers. Notably, it is the only solution on the market that can be hosted partially or fully in the cloud or on premises in any combination desired. Furthermore, a rich set of open interfaces interoperates with voting, scheduling and other workflow systems to leverage existing trapped data.
The North Dakota Legislative Assembly fully benefits from a business perspective. The flexible Sliq architecture allows the Legislative Assembly to self-host the solution and leverage existing IT infrastructure slashing costs by approximately two thirds in comparison to competitive solutions.
Jason Steckler, Administrative Services Director for the North Dakota Legislative Council, notes that the flexibility of the system has brought a newfound efficiency to his digital media operation. While approximately 80 percent of the system runs in an automated manner, the Sliq solution also provides his team with easy-to-learn, manual override features that allow staff members to control start and stop times for meetings, as well as adjust for human errors.
“Sliq was able to build the custom integrated solution that we specified, allowing us to self-host and operate the system to our requirements,” said Steckler. “At the same time, we have made it easier for more of our citizens to follow our Legislative Assembly.
Two key components comprise the North Dakota Legislative Assembly project: Sliq Harmony, the central, web-based digital content management system; and Sliq Razorback for multi-channel video/audio encoding and recording. Harmony delivers multiple user benefits, from automating recordings to interfacing with International Roll Call (IRC) touchscreen voting boards. Its ability to pull voting and scheduling data in real-time from multiple sources simplifies video indexing and automatically populates its built-in program guide. Additionally, the Sliq PowerBrowser Quality Control Module provides staff with a visual tool to review indexed content, and easily remove unusable data.
Razorback’s multi-channel encoding captures every discussion and vote on legislative bills, ensuring that every legislator’s participation on behalf of their constituencies is available. Additionally, support for multiple video and audio formats ensures that citizens can access floor sessions from a variety of devices, including desktop and laptop computers, mobile phones and tablets, and virtually any playback device supporting mainstream streaming protocols.
Working together, Harmony and Razorback ensures that content is never lost. The Razorback encoders record content in a loop on a 24/7 basis, and incorporate a “ring buffer” that allows Harmony to flexibly extract recorded content and retain an archive for streaming. Missed recordings are never an issue as the loop record feature allows archive recordings for floor sessions that have already passed as long as they are still in the ring buffer. Built-in redundancy across both components assures high availability of live streams, with automatic failover to backup streams.
The initial deployment includes a single two-channel Razorback encoder to support two state chambers. The Sliq architecture enables a hassle-free growth path by simply deploying and provisioning new encoders to the central system on-demand as required.
Nic Cote, VP, Customer Engagement for Sliq Media, adds that while it’s simple to setup and launch a streaming encoder, there is greater value in bringing in rich data to enhance the experience for members and viewers alike. Sliq’s turnkey Harmony solution accomplishes this through hooks that allow deep integration into customer business workflows and help them to unleash trapped value.
“We’re delivering information that goes far deeper than before for the North Dakota Legislative Assembly and our other government customers,” said Cote. “We can provide links to and from video and audio, from floor session calendars down to bill and member references. The power of correlating this data back and forth with the video in real time is astounding and this is what citizens are demanding. These data relationships have always existed; they were just never properly unleashed. North Dakota Legislative Assembly and its citizens are now taking full advantage of this value in an exceptionally easy to use manner.”