Staff does not have a recommendation. The goal is to present Council with an array of options.
Staff was requested to present different solutions to streaming council meetings in an online format on March 21, 2019. Staff has researched possible avenues to achieve this goal.
Streaming media online is such a multifaceted subject. Complexities can range from trivial to immense. Staff has collected information on several solutions that tackle each of these facets in different ways.
Facebook Live is a great platform with many advantages. It can be utilized simply by using a phone or tablet as well as traditional methods. As a mobile streaming platform, it may be our only option for reasons that I will detail in “YouTube Live” section. It enjoys a wide user base and is very simple to use. However, there are some caveats to this as a sole platform. Facebook does not index its content. That is to say that you cannot search for it via Google, Bing, or similar search services. Even Facebook's own internal search is not necessarily geared at finding old content. Their model very much seems like a “What’s New” type of mentality.
YouTube is especially popular with a younger audience. It offers a lot of customization and has a better archiving/search method but has a severe drawback as a mobile only solution. In order to be able to stream from a mobile device, your channel must have 1000 Subscribers. This virtually eliminates it as a “Mobile Only” type of platform. However, there are many other ways of streaming content to this platform. Those will be outlined below.
BoxCast uses traditional broadcasting methods to capture content. You would need a camera, microphone, and internet connection to push content to your chosen platforms. However, you would be able to leverage existing hardware to decrease infrastructure upgrade costs. One of the challenges with traditional broadcasting is that you would need personnel to operate an encoder. This is generally a piece of software that dictates how your content is handled. What BoxCast does it simplify this by utilizing a hardware encoder and offers a simple online content management system. The real advantage of BoxCast is that you can stream to every social media platform, smart tv’s, Roku devices, and virtually any device that supports the BoxCast application. This service will cost $100 per month not including any upgrades to camera or audio equipment if desired.
Swagit EASE accomplishes much the same as BoxCast, but varies by taking much of the workload off staff to handle the content. Meetings could be scheduled to be broadcasted as needed. The content would be streamed to all social media platforms and be sent directly to Swagit for hosing and archiving. This eliminates the need for staff to handle the content in any way. Including painfully long uploads from DVD to a file server. This solution requires a piece of hardware to handle these processes. The cost of the hardware is $7,550, and there is a monthly fee of $695/month. Pushing the content to social media is an additional monthly cost of $125/month. While we will be able to leverage existing camera and audio equipment, if you wish to utilize a HD camera or new audio sources, those costs will be relative to the quality they offer.
Swagit AVIOR is essentially a full production solution. The package includes 3 HD PTZ (Pan, Tilt, Zoom) cameras, necessary file handling equipment, and installation. This is an entirely hands-free approach from a staff perspective. All the recording would be handled remotely by Swagit staff. They would be able to remotely change camera feeds and demand, manage overlays, and source presentations to the main screen. The content would be able to be pushed to any or all social media platforms simultaneously as well as be sent straight to Swagit’s own servers for live viewing and archiving. This all comes at a substantial cost. There is a one-time fee of $42,565, $995/month, and $125/month if you wish to be able to push the content to social media.
Do not stream media online and continue with our current broadcast methods.
V. FISCAL IMPACT:
The fiscal impact will vary upon the method chosen. Pricing can be found in each individual solution description.