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Jul 22

Next Generation Wireless Service Is Coming

By |2020-07-22T09:04:12-08:00July 22nd, 2020|City Clerks, Court hearings, government, judicial, Live Streamng, Local Government, State Government, Technology Innovations|0 Comments

As we now enter the 6th month of quarantine and social distancing, our cell phones have been a lifeline to keep us working, in touch, informed, and provide a level of security. 

For local governments, this has put a strain on their wireless bandwidth as more business is conducted via wireless phones, tablets, and laptops. As city governments adopt a virtual council meeting environment, either in whole or in part, being able to keep connectivity with citizens, has become crucial.

What has quickly become clear is that many local governments are facing how to keep up with the technology demand by going virtual. Smaller local governments do not have the bandwidth necessary to work remotely and provide all the services mandated.

This is highlighted by recent events and political protests that typically overload available capacity on cellular networks.  To add to the stress on cellular towers, sudden peaks in data usage that takes place in disasters and crowed events further causes 3G, 4G, and LTE cellular networks to fail.

Public safety and emergency management are critical functions of the state government. In response to emergency and disaster events, access to reliable communication is vital.  In emergency events, cellular network operators (such as AT&T, Verizon, and more) request, “Customers to use text or email to free up voice capacity for public safety officials on the scene.”

Because current telecommunications networks simply can’t cope with the massive increase in call volume in a disaster or crowded event, first-responders and those in public safety and emergency management must be prepared to use alternative forms of communications.

Simply put, mobile wireless networks become unreliable during and after a disaster or emergency situation. There are several different places where congestion can happen. Networks consist of different technologies, different levels and different mobile switching centers that may cover a large area.

But help may be on the way.

The newest generation in wireless networking is called Fifth generation (5G) wireless technology and it can open the door to transforming and enhancing public services right at the time we need it most.

The fifth generation of wireless networks represents a major boost in both capacity and speed that will help ease the burden on current systems and offer vital improvements to public services. But this technology is both costly and controversial even as states and local governments begin to legislate and regulate around 5G.

It is hard to imagine how a business or government will survive without access to the technology we need to stay connected and informed. Virtual meetings have become essential to keep businesses and governments running. As we look into the future, it is evident that investing in building strong communication networks, in particular 5G, will be as crucial as ever to American safety. Fifth generation wireless technology has the potential to reboot how the U.S. government achieves many of its critical missions.

5G Benefits State and Local Governments

When any city faces an emergency, they must quickly communicate with the public. When you factor in the current virtual environment, more and more devices are consuming more and more data which can strain bandwidth, slow services, and drop connections.

The potential upside to greater capacity and network speed is huge. Surges in cellular network use during emergency events are less likely to slow or prevent vital communications between citizens and first responders. 5G will be the underlying infrastructure to help usher in fully autonomous vehicles, intelligent public safety cameras, and connected Internet of Things (IoT) devices used throughout city infrastructure. Jurisdictions with 5G networks are likely to attract tech-savvy residents and businesses that leverage those connections for new digital business models and reach new customers.

However, none of this happens without the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) streamlining unnecessary regulatory roadblocks to small cell deployment, as well as keeping its vital spectrum auctions on schedule.

AV Capture All provides a platform for local governments and its judicial branch to record and live stream city council meetings and courtroom hearings. Our platform uses a cloud service to store the audio and video files so no bandwidth is used on the government’s server.

AV Capture All is here to ensure the gears of government continue to work and the public is informed.

Contact us today to a Demo.

Jun 30

Jury Trials Remain on Hold

By |2020-06-30T13:32:46-08:00June 30th, 2020|Court hearings, government, judicial, Live Streamng, Technology Innovations|0 Comments

In most states, Superior and Municipal Courts, and jury trials are planning to slowly begin again over the next couple of months. 

In New Jersey, Superior and Municipal Courts resumed some in-person court services on June 22. A small number of judges and court staff will be working on-site each day. The rest will continue to work remotely to ensure safe distancing can be maintained. And new jury trials and in-person grand jury selection began June 28.

States that are still struggling with COVID-19 have delayed their plans to reopen courts later in the summer. In Texas, State courts have decided to hold off on jury trials until after August 1.

In Massachusetts, courthouses will start to reopen in early July, but jury trials in the state will not resume for at least a few more months. Jury trials for both criminal and civil cases are postponed to at least September 8. Grand juries are also not allowed to be empaneled before that date. Jury trials for both criminal and civil cases are postponed to at least September 8. Grand juries are also not allowed to be empaneled before that date.

As most Americans who work from home know, technology has allowed them to do their job. Our legal system is taking advantage of the same technology.

On June 26th and 27th, the Online Courtroom Project conducted a two-day demonstration trial entirely online to understand the challenges and opportunities of applying technology solutions in the current justice and court system.

With some courts reopening and a surge in new coronavirus cases across the country, public reluctance to show up for jury service is understandable, so different legal groups are trying to find workable solutions.

“We know we are facing unchartered territory and complicated issues, but there are a lot of available resources and practices that point the way to providing solutions to the current justice bottleneck, and even improving practices in the future. As an interdisciplinary group, we plan to bring thoughtful but expedited wisdom to researching and recommending best practices for online hearings and trials.” Richard Gabriel, President, Decision Analysis, Inc., and Founder of Online Courtroom Project.

Attorneys are facing issues about getting their clients a fair trial.

The other major concern is the backlog of untried cases in the criminal justice system, which of course has ballooned during the lockdown. In Connecticut, civil jury trials are backlogged by at least six months. And that delay could prompt attorneys to opt for bench trials, according to James Abrams, the chief administrative judge for civil matters in the Superior Court system.

But Abrams is optimistic about getting back on track, especially if jury trials begin in November.

“We will be able to right the ship within six months,” he said. “There would be a six-month backlog. That is a situation we will be able to manage.”

Attorneys have another point of view. Jamie Sullivan, at Howard Kohn Sprague & FitzGerald, said he favors bench trials in the short-term because “it will move business and will allow cases to be adjudicated.”

But Sullivan said, “Few people realize how important this system of having a jury is to the American democracy. It not only allows the most powerless to render judgment on the most powerful, but it allows citizens from different backgrounds to engage in principled debate and to lose that would be incredibly damaging for democracy.”

In New York City, the virus is putting incredible stress on its judicial system, creating long delays in criminal proceedings and raising growing concerns about the rights of defendants.

Since February, the backlog of pending cases in the city’s criminal courts has risen by nearly a third — to 39,200. Hundreds of jury trials in the city have been put on hold indefinitely. Arraignments, pleas, and evidentiary hearings are being held by video, with little public scrutiny. Prosecutions have dropped off, too, as the authorities have tried to reduce the jail population.

In mid-June, the state courts in New York City took a first small step toward physically reopening: Judges started returning to their chambers, though they are still holding court virtually.

AV Capture – Judicial Solution is used to record the Audio (and Video if desired) of courtroom hearings. The Court Calendar or Docket is synchronized to the recording, with an option to publish public hearings online. If published, the docket is then indexed and becomes immediately searchable, allowing Court staff to save time by directing defendants or other interested parties to the website to view or order their recordings. If not published, court recordings can be easily located, and burned to DVD.

AV Capture is here to ensure the gears of government continue to work and the public is informed.

Contact us today to a Demo.

 

 

 

Jun 10

Necessity is the Mother of Invention

By |2020-06-10T09:21:01-08:00June 10th, 2020|City Clerks, Court hearings, Industry News, judicial, Live Streamng, Technology Innovations|0 Comments

Whenever a business is faced with a new critical issue that affects their ability to run properly, they quickly adapt and create fixes to address the issue. The same can be said for local governments. When faced with the shutdown because of the ongoing health crisis, local governments had to find ways to keep their city running and citizens’ lives and businesses running.

In Utah, they quickly adapted digital solutions which allowed them to continue vital services, even while impacted and sheltering-in-place themselves. Almost immediately, residents were able to access these much-needed government services which allowed them to keep their business and lives running.

The State of Utah created an eSign solution using Adobe solutions for teleworking. The state touted the value of going 100% paperless and how easy it is to handle high volumes of contracts and other approval processes in a teleworking environment.

This provided a safety measure for staff and citizens. Not only has eSign enabled the State of Utah to effectively respond in the current emergencies, it has also placed them in a better position to ensure efficiency and business continuity in the long term.

Technology and Local Government

In Baltimore, Md, the City Council is planning 50 hours of virtual hearings to address current issues so citizens can stay informed and safe.

In heavily rural states, connectivity became an immediate issue when schools closed. Mississippi is now in a “broadband revolution” as the state Legislature fast-tracked the Mississippi Broadband Enabling Act that passed in 2019.

In Waukesha County, Wisconsin, setting up council meetings to address all the issues could take weeks if not months. The process usually involved setting up a big meeting so that all the review entities can make recommendations without conflicting with each other.

But now, things have changed and some want it to permanent. Developers are sending digital files of all their plans, which are then displayed and reviewed during video conferences. This was designed initially as a workaround, with employees of the suburban Milwaukee region scattered by the coronavirus, but now this more efficient way of holding meetings will become standard.

“We will not go back,” says Dale Shaver, director of parks and land use for Waukesha County. “This has changed the way we work forever.”

Despite governments long resisting remote work, the outcome now has been shown to work well, of course after a few bumps in the road in the beginning. Most feel this might be a permanent change in how they do business — or at least certain types of business. Depending on adoption levels, it might also allow them to save a good amount of money on leased space.

In Kansas, the unexpected circumstances of the pandemic has allowed the state to “dust off our telework policy long term,” says DeAngela Burns-Wallace, secretary of the state Department of Administration. “For those employees who are delivering services effectively remotely, then we want to keep them there.”

The metric to judge the success of these new ways of running government can be tricky to assess. Many managers aren’t sure what metrics to use when people are working remotely. In Philadelphia’s Department of Planning and Development, John Mondlak, deputy director for development services, believes he has a pretty simple way of keeping track. “The goal for me is to make sure it’s all getting done,” he says.

At AV Capture All, we know what challenges local governments face. With AV Capture All meeting management solutions, we make it easy for local Governments to keep constituents informed and engaged. Our Live-Streaming solutions are secure and easy to use and let’s local governments stay engaged with the public during this unprecedented time.

AV Capture– Legislative Solution is used to record Audio and Video while integrating Agendas, Minutes, and Related Documents. The document content is synchronized with the Audio/Video stream, then indexed and immediately searchable when published online. Once published, staff and citizens can view any part of the Audio/Video-on-demand, while following along with the synchronized Agenda, Minutes and Related Documents. Live Streaming is also integrated into the platform to allow staff and citizens who cannot attend the meeting in-person to view online from home.

AV Capture All is here to ensure the gears of government continue to work and the public is informed.

Click here to Contact us TODAY for a Demo.

May 27

Local Governments Brace for Revenue Shortfall

By |2020-05-27T11:13:42-08:00May 27th, 2020|City Clerks, Court hearings, Industry News, judicial, Live Streamng, Technology Innovations|0 Comments

The US has a wide range of local governments that include cities, counties, townships, towns, villages, boroughs, school districts, public libraries. These entities need financial help, just like all businesses do, to prevent worker furloughs or layoffs.

Local government employees, like many in the country, are concerned about keeping their job. Local governments employ 14.5 million people, including the overwhelming majority of first responders and teachers who are the most needed now to respond to the public health crisis and bring the country out of the economic crisis it now faces.

The jobs and pay of nearly half a million firefighters, 900,000 police officers, 1 million hospital and health care workers, and more than 5 million teachers who work in local governments are on the line if there is no federal fiscal intervention.

The need for federal aid to local governments will also help keep local businesses in business and the public informed. Without federal assistance, local governments will have to reduce the assistance they are providing to constituents to cope with the effects of the pandemic.

Normal government services provided to their citizens, including police and fire protection, health care services, and the educational work of teachers and librarians, will have to be reduced or cut altogether. In terms of a recession that the country is facing, furloughs, layoffs, and spending cuts will reduce consumer spending and exacerbate the recession.

Local governments are providing massive resources and support for coping with the coronavirus crisis, like testing for the virus. Hospitals, health departments, other health providers, first responders, and emergency medical technicians cannot continue without financial support from the federal government.

Because of closures to businesses, parks, and other services, local governments are suffering huge revenue losses. For example, sales tax revenues are dropping as businesses close and consumers stay at home. In a typical year, local governments receive roughly 35% to 40% of revenue through intergovernmental transfers, the vast majority of it coming from state governments that now face budget crises of their own. This will lead to further budgetary shortfalls for localities.

How much will your city be impacted?

Counties with populations between 50,000 and 500,000 will lose more than $30 billion in revenue. Counties with populations under 50,000 could lose about $10 billion in revenue and face another $10 billion of increased expenditures due to the pandemic, requiring a 24% reduction in their budgets.

In a typical year, local governments receive roughly 35% to 40% of revenue through intergovernmental transfers, the vast majority of it coming from state governments that now face budget crises of their own. This will lead to further budgetary shortfalls for localities.

In addition to heightened expenditure needs and falling revenues, local jurisdictions must balance their budgets and are heavily penalized for borrowing for operating expenses. As of now, these governments are faced with only two choices—cut spending or raise taxes. Both of these actions will deepen and lengthen the economic recession, as they did during the last recession.

Based on prior economic downturns, most local jurisdictions are likely to use spending cuts rather than tax increases to balance their budgets—indeed, many local governments already face relatively strict limits on their taxing authority.

Without federal aid now, local governments will be forced to furlough and lay off workers, deepening the recession and cutting back on critical services to constituents, such as police protection. In addition, local governments would be forced to reduce the assistance they provide to constituents and entities within their borders for coping with the effects of the pandemic. These highly undesirable outcomes can be prevented if sufficient federal fiscal relief is provided to local jurisdictions, but the clock is ticking.

At AV Capture All, our goal is to help local governments perform their mandates to keep their constituents informed.  Our affordable meeting management solutions for local government improve efficiency by streamlining the meeting workflow, while promoting transparency and accountability by empowering constituents to access valuable information pertaining to their community. With AV Capture All, government agencies can easily Capture, Manage & Share their meetings online.

Click here to request a DEMO today

May 8

The Virtual Future

By |2020-05-08T12:19:49-08:00May 8th, 2020|City Clerks, Court hearings, Industry News, judicial, Live Streamng, Technology Innovations|0 Comments

Are our lives going virtual?

Of course, there are services we need that happen in person, but one thing this global health crisis has shown is, a lot of things in our lives that we need can be done virtually.

Technology has been what is keeping us safe, productive, and engaged. As this becomes more of the norm, more platforms will be developed to handle services we used to do in person.

For local governments, technology’s what is keeping everything and everyone connected. All over the country, mayors, who are the heartbeat of their respective cities and their residents, are using technology to keep their city running and citizens engaged.

As technology continues to develop, it will enhance our ability to expand and establish innovative approaches to living, working, and community safety.

Innovation Is Key

The traditional City Hall model has now gone virtual. For large cities like Miami and Chicago and small cities like Biddeford, Maine, they have conducted their City Council meetings virtually and they are encouraging public participation. Across the country, mayors have adopted virtual platforms to deliver city services, collaborate, provide updates on COVID-19, and advance city operations.

While cities across the country continue to race to adapt to the new times we have found ourselves in, it is clear, technology is the solution. Finding the right technology platform is another question. Some have security issues, while others are cost-prohibitive. AV Capture All offers local government solutions that are costs effective and with a robust platform, can keep your constituents informed and engaged.

We’ve discovered remote work can be effective in keeping us safe while doing being productive, and as the social distancing measures continue, we will have to find innovative ways to ensure needs are being met.

As virtual city meetings become the future of local government and we’re meeting with each other virtually online, finding the right platform is key.

Local governments depend on their staff to connect with citizens and virtual conferences and meetings can be a placeholder until we are able to meet in person once again.

According to a report from Cisco Visual Networking Index, by 2021, it is estimated that 80% of web traffic will be video and Live Streaming, including video conferencing. And while some may believe that virtual conferences would not be conducive to attentiveness, 86% of participants in online meetings say they are as attentive as or more attentive than they would be in an in-person meeting. There will be 1.9 billion Internet video users, up from 1.4 billion in 2016, and people worldwide will be watching 3 trillion minutes of Internet video per month, which is 5 million years of video per month.

Get On Board

As things slowly begin to reopen, people will still be reluctant to go to City Council Meetings, especially those that require any kind of travel, like bus or train. Virtual meetings most likely are here to stay as they bridge the gap of caring about the health and wellness of staff, the public, and constituents.

Learn more about how AV Capture All can keep your mandated council meetings safe, effective, and engaging. AV Capture All offers affordable meeting management solutions for local government.
Our solutions improve efficiency by streamlining the meeting workflow while promoting transparency and accountability by empowering constituents to access valuable information about their community. With AV Capture All, government agencies can easily Capture, Manage & Share their meetings online.

Click here to Request a Demo Today

Apr 17

Constitutional rights during COVID19

By |2020-04-17T11:56:23-08:00April 17th, 2020|City Clerks, Court hearings, judicial, Live Streamng|0 Comments

Courtrooms all over the country are taking health precautions during the mandated quarantine as they try to continue to operate in this unprecedented national health crisis.

Some courthouses are banning the public during legal proceedings, only allowing the lawyers and defendants inside. This is in stark contrast to First Amendment law and a 1984 landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that established that courtrooms are public spaces.

But these are exceptional times that call for exceptional decisions to be made. However there is massive confusion because no nationwide guidance has been called for so each Judge has to make his or her own decision.

In Nebraska, U.S. District Judge John Gerard postponed all civil and criminal jury trials and hearings scheduled.

In Iowa, federal courts are closed for civil and criminal jury trials until May 4. Judges are allowed to hold hearings if they deem them necessary and safe. Likewise, state courts in Iowa have called off criminal jury trials until late April and civil jury trials until early May. One County Courthouse is closed to the public indefinitely.

In federal courts on both sides of the Missouri River, courtrooms are essentially closed for an extended period of time.

District courts are scrambling to impanel the required number of prospective jurors without compromising the safety of the citizens. They are also scrambling to “ensure the constitutional rights of individuals” while balancing health concerns about spreading the virus. And then there’s  the media’s right to be inside a courtroom.

Technology has played a big part in ensuring the work inside the courthouse continues. In Nebraska, Douglas County District Judge Wheelock wasn’t physically inside the courtroom during a proceeding. Judge Wheelock “appeared” on a 50-inch courtroom monitor via Skype videoconferencing.

“For the record, the court will note that all parties are present in the courtroom,” Wheelock announced, “and I’m appearing literally from my living-room area.”

With AV Capture All solutions, courtrooms can still work as they normally do by using our AV Capture Judicial tools to record the Audio and Video of courtroom hearings. The Court Calendar or Docket is synchronized to the recording, with an option to publish public hearings online. If published, the docket is then indexed and becomes immediately searchable, allowing Court staff to save time by directing defendants or other interested parties to the website to view or order their recordings. If not published, court recordings can be easily located and burned to DVD.

For courts all over the county, we’re here to help during this health crisis. Click here to Request a Demo Today!