Rhode Island Legislature Streams The People's Business
How Enterprise Video Servers Make the Legislative Process Accessible to All
The Rhode Island legislature leverages DiscoverVideo’s enterprise video content management ecosystem to bring transparency to state government.
Open Government Directive
Rhode Island subscribes to “open government” doctrine, guaranteeing citizens access to the proceedings of the government, ensuring effective public oversight.
Open government puts the camera in the meeting chamber, showing what the government is doing in real time.
Cable TV helps with that access. But today’s cable-cutting viewers favor watching on smartphones, PCs, tablets, and over-the-top boxes like Roku.
The Rhode Island government was committed to open government, and needed a quick, easy, and affordable upgrade to their broadcasting methods.
Capital TV Broadcast
Capitol TV is the broadcasting channel of the Rhode Island Legislature. They stream all the activities of the House, Senate, committee meetings, and special events. Capitol TV is a conventional TV station and shares a statewide cable channel with other local broadcasters.
Capitol TV produces hundreds of interview programs, such as “Straight From The Gavel,” and “Capitol Spotlight.” Elected officials explain the background and details of issues important to citizens.
However, this great service began to experience a major issue: representative sessions were not available during “primetime” viewing or on demand.
“Our cable TV schedule made it difficult to broadcast live sessions rerun interviews when citizens wanted to view” said Derek Hayes, Capitol TV General Manager. “But with streaming we have the capability to provide up to five live events and unlimited video-on-demand”.
The main challenge of the RI state capitol was distributing its live video of legislative sessions inside and outside the capitol building.
Additionally, they needed to record legislative sessions and make them available via a website for on-demand viewing on any device.
There were locations in the Capitol building where TV coax cable was not available, and no way to deliver live video from these locations. Getting a stream to these rooms was highly desirable.
The IP-based video distribution system had to work over the existing Capitol wired and wireless Ethernet network, and not impact bandwidth usage.
An Easy Streaming Solution
Capitol TV deployed a DEVOS enterprise video content management system from DiscoverVideo to deliver live and video-on-demand streams.
It consists of a DEVOS Cloud service and multiple HD Video Encoders (Spirit and Rover). The DEVOS cloud media server receives live streams from the Spirit and Rover encoders for the five live Capitol TV channels.
Two fixed Spirit live encoders and two laptop ‘Rover’ encoders stream content to the control room. This allows RI Capital TV to produce live content from virtually anywhere. The streams are optimized for speed and quality on any screen size and location.
“We simply start the encoders and we are on the air. The system simultaneously records, and automatically uploads, the session for video-on-demand viewing. Then we add titles, descriptions, and other metadata to make searching fast and easy for our users,” reported Mr. Hayes. “The Capitol TV staff were purely TV broadcasters before, but with a little onsite training and support from DiscoverVideo, they found the system remarkably easy to use.”
Additionally, videos are easily embedded into the Rhode Island Legislator’s website, and developers can link directly to individual videos and channels.
The ROI of the system has been rewarding. Giving the RI legislature better distribution and freedom from a regular TV schedule, cost less than half of the cost of one staff member, (approximately $40K). This integration included all the necessary software, hardware, encoders, servers, services, and installation.
Economical Access for Everyone
The DEVOS video server allows the RI legislatures and staffers to keep track of key sessions from their offices or the outside the capitol building.
To view a live session, they just go the RI Capitol TV webpage and select a channel. All live sessions are archived as video on demand.
As a result, Rhode Island citizens, press, and anyone with Internet access, can view any session from any location or device. RI Capitol TV also allows anyone with a Roku box to watch the live or recorded content.
“You can’t put a price tag on government transparency,” said Mr. Hayes, “However, the DEVOS system certainly makes the job of of the Capital TV broadcasting team a heck of a lot easier, and that’s worth a lot. In that regard, I’d say it’s definitely been cost effective.”
Today the RI Capital TV system has more than 10,000 VOD assets with new content added almost every day. Between interest in legislative seasons, and daily COVID-19 briefings, Capital TV regularly reaches upwards of 15,000 daily viewers.
And Rhode Island isn’t alone in their simple and economical streaming broadcast solution; North Dakota, Oregon, and Arizona state governments also use Discover Video.
About DiscoverVideo, LLC
DiscoverVideo is a leading software, hardware, and services provider of end-to-end turnkey streaming solutions. Their enterprise streaming video content management platform is used to broadcast and deliver live and on-demand video, presentations, and digital signage to employees, students, and the general public. Their clients include large and small enterprises in educational institutions, schools, corporations, and governments. DiscoverVideo products and services provide a complete enterprise streaming ecosystem.
Mike Savic, Discover Video, LLC
(860) 800-9922 | firstname.lastname@example.org