Feb. 12, 2021 - 11 million. That's the number of virtual meetings taking place each day for US businesses in 2021. Whether it's for personal or professional use, we've all come to depend on the video teleconferencing (VTC) tools that make remote collaboration possible. Where certain workplaces are concerned, however, mainstream solutions just can't check all the boxes. Few seem to have encountered more obstacles in this respect than the policy makers we rely on at a city, state, or federal level.
Specialized industries require specialized tools.
At Media Vision, we know thanks to our long history of government AV solutions that the functions of a council chamber or courtroom are numerous. In the absence of physical meetings, a system whereby participants can simply see and hear each other was only ever going to be a part of the solution for this sector. And we won't start on the accidental triggering of cat filters or moonscape backgrounds, which seem to be recurring features of amusement in local news.
Policy making demands a more sophisticated communication platform than the tools through which family catch-ups and virtual drinking games take place. That's why we created Virtual Council, an all-in-one meeting and voting platform designed for government use. Our custom solution transforms any computer or laptop into a portable council chamber, and to give you a better idea of how, here are five of its features that you won't find in most commercial video conferencing options:
1. Audio fallback.
In a remote or hybrid conference situation, nothing is more important to ensure efficient communication than sound quality. We don't contest that it's helpful to see your colleagues' faces via their webcam, but frankly, the only thing more disruptive than hearing the words "you're on mute" is the complaint that your voice is breaking up every few seconds. The audio fallback feature prioritizes your device's sound transmission when your bandwidth is struggling, allowing the other members of your chamber to continue hearing you properly, regardless of how grainy your video might be.
Find out more about audio fallback.
2. Online voting.
It's unfair to expect all VTC solutions to include Yes/No/Abstain voting capabilities by default given how few industries require this function, but an integrated solution just means one fewer app or service for policy makers to add to their list. Lack of specialization in software since March of 2020, in fact, has led to reports of councils using as five unique vendors in parallel to carry out the full functions of their work. Virtual Council's voting feature includes the ability to display named vote results, as well as assign voting privileges.
Find out more about online voting.
Participants raising their hand to speak might work in a physical council meeting, but as soon as cameras are involved, it can become difficult to maintain an orderly system. Until now, most moderators have asked that members write their request in the chat box of whichever VTC tool they are using. With a dedicated request-to-speak function in front of you, it's as easy as clicking a button to be added to the moderator's list, making the process effortless for all parties.
Find out more about request-to-speak.
4. Camera and microphone control.
It's never been more important for government organizations to communicate with members of the public. The ability to do so in a safe and controlled way, however, is not promised by all video conferencing platforms. Horror stories of explicit images finding their way into Zoom or Teams calls have been rampant since the start of the pandemic. With a camera and microphone control function, council members retain full control over every participant's sound and image, stamping out the risk of unwanted content disrupting meetings.
Find out more about camera and microphone control.
5. Enhanced security and accessibility.
Additional security measures like end-to-end encryption have started to be rolled out by some VTC solutions, but this isn't the case for all. In addition to heightened data protection, Virtual Council offers a feature to download meeting reports safely, so you can access our platform with total peace of mind. For people with hearing impairments, we also provide sign language support to ensure total inclusivity, whether participants are in the council chamber or sitting behind their laptop.