Richland, WA—December 2019… The City of Richland started as a small farm town at the confluence of the Columbia and Yakima rivers but became a military city when the U.S. Army purchased the entire area during World War II and built the Hanford nuclear site. The government sold the real estate back to residents in 1957, and Richland was incorporated as a self-governing city the next year. Today, Richland is a progressive, family-friendly community that welcomes diversity and is noted for technology, medicine, education, recreation, and tourism.
The City of Richland recently built a new city hall, including a council chambers equipped with the latest conferencing technology from Televic. Designed and installed by Mount Vernon, Washington, systems integrator Dimensional Communications (www.dimensional.net), the conferencing systems provide the city council and other city entities with many advanced capabilities.
“This was our first project for the City of Richland but we’ve used Televic products on smaller projects before this,” begins Dimensional Communications technician Nate Schwartz. “At Richland, we installed a combination of Televic Confidea T-DV wired delegate stations and Confidea G3-DV wireless stations, plus a uniCOS 10-inch wired tabletop unit for the mayor. The stationary positions, like the council seats, got wired stations, and the staff got wireless stations so that when they go into a work session around a table, they can take the stations to the table. We also got the new Televic E-Ink Nameplates for each seat. Everything is managed with Televic’s software suite.”
Televic’s Confidea T-DV and G3-DV delegate stations feature a high-quality gooseneck microphone, built-in loudspeaker, Talk button, 3.5 mm jack for headphones, and voting capabilities, including an RFID card reader for easy identification and authentication. The Confidea T-DV connects to a network using CAT5e cable, while the G3 connects wirelessly.
The uniCOS 10-inch tabletop unit is a brand new multimedia-enabled tool that allows complete management of a moderated meeting. It features a gooseneck mic, speaker, integrated 5 megapixel camera, and a tiltable multimedia touch screen with up to 1080p video streaming and document sharing. Using the touch screen, the chairperson can view agenda items, documents, up to six video streams, requests to speak, details on who is speaking, and much more. Like the wired delegate station, it connects via CAT5e and can be powered over Ethernet.
“One of the neat things about the Televic system is that the wired mics can be a standalone system but you can seamlessly integrate them with the wireless systems for more flexibility,” Schwartz explains. “The delegate stations and the uniCOS chairman’s station have voting with the RFID badge reader, which also gives a lot of flexibility. For example, if someone doesn’t show up for a meeting, people can move to a different seat, and when they insert their RFID badge, it populates their information in the Televic software, displays it on the E-Ink nameplate, and sets up their voting.”
The Televic RFID system identifies voting rights and displays that information on the uniCOS, networked computers, and digital signage, if the city desires. All data related to each person can be available for reports or exported to Televic’s meeting-management software suite. The result is a significant reduction in meeting preparation time.
“The system is really slick, and the software has a lot of options,” praises Schwartz. “You can set it up for a basic meeting but then you can add as much or as little information to the database as you’d like. For the City of Richland, primarily it lists their names and positions and their voting rights. When you have a lot of people using the room, they can each have their own RFID badge, and you can add contact information. The city can build a template in the software for their city council meeting and other templates for their planning commission meeting and other discussion groups. They build agendas in Microsoft Word, import them into the software, and the software translates the agendas to display on the screen. As the the meeting progresses, the discussion items and agenda items are displayed properly.”
While the mayor has the uniCOS touch screen, the other stations are accompanied by standard monitors, and there’s a public facing monitor. A separate video display network, driven by a Crestron DM distribution system, feeds an 85-inch display and a lobby display and is tied into the Televic software package.
“An operator app runs on the PC server that hosts the database, and a signage app in the Televic package automatically links to the operator software,” Schwartz details. “So the meeting can be run from any computer on the network. If you have a clerk that’s working at a different location, the clerk can run that meeting from a laptop with a wireless connection. As soon as the meeting begins, the signage app follows along automatically. There are a lot of options, like whether you want it to display voting results, when you want it to display voting results, that sort of thing.”
Because of all the new technology installed at Richland, the Dimensional Communications team relied heavily on Televic tech support. “They have been awesome to work with,” Schwartz enthuses. “They really want see their products succeed. Televic also assisted with training and provided great support for the customer. The city’s people have taken the time to learn the software and probably now know it better than I do.”
Schwartz found installing Televic’s system very straightforward. “The Televic system is great,” he declares. “You’re using standard data connections, which makes termination easy, and the system has gotten even better since I first used it three or four years ago. It’s an easy install.”