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Case Study: City Council, Laredo, Texas

Since 1984, Laredo, Texas has broadcast its city council meetings via public access cable television. The city updated its 10-year-old DCN conference system with a DICENTIS Conference system from Bosch, to achieve upgrades in control, sound quality and ease of operation with IP connectivity and to support in-meeting voting.

The Public Access Center Manager of the city, Gerardo Leal, is responsible for operating the conferencing system during meetings, and porting the audio into the video feed. The program is aired on large video screens within the meeting room, which accommodates about 100 people. In addition, the meetings are streamed online and aired on the city’s public access channel. Audio, data and power for the discussion devices all run over a computer-based IP network using Bosch-developed OMNEO media-networking technology.

Laredo’s set-up features 16 DICENTIS Discussion devices with voting for council members and staffers. Each device is controlled by a single button for request to speak, mute and relinquishing the floor. A green light on the microphone indicates a request to speak, then begins flashing when that person is next in line. Once recognized by the chair, the mic status light changes to red to indicate it is active. The device’s five color-coded touch buttons light up when voting is open. Votes are tracked and tabulated, with the results then displayed onscreen for attendees and TV/streaming viewers to see. Each device also features a volume control and headphone jack, with onboard feedback suppression and data encryption.

The mayor/chair uses one of the latest generation DICENTIS Multimedia devices, which features a 7 in. touchscreen. This enables a wide range of documents, images and video files to be inserted into the council room’s big-screen video displays as well as computer screens located at each council member’s seat.

Each device is connected via a single CAT-6 network cable via a standard network switch connected to the system’s DICENTIS Audio processor and powering switch. In the control room, an operator tracks system/device status on a display showing a schematic layout of the council chambers, including current and upcoming active mics, and allowing remote override if needed.

Manager Leal likes the DICENTIS High directive microphone, which replaces the long gooseneck mics of the original system. A discreet 4.25 in. long, their dual-capsule design allows a larger speaking distance and superb intelligibility – even in noisy conditions. “It picks up from several feet away, which basically takes microphone technique out of the equation,” explains Leal. “Now we don’t have to worry about height or talking distance, and the mics are also visually much less intrusive.”

Also important are the remote operation capabilities which allow operators to control robotic PTZ cameras, character generator, agenda and other media for recording. “Having everything networked means smoother-running meetings and an easier job for our techs.” Mood: Texas of San Antonio provided installation and training.


Bosch DICENTIS Conference System

integrates audio, video, and meeting content with internet access into one system using the Bosch-developed, IP-based OMNEO media networking technology.

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