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Sound Advice creates all-in-one solution for councils with RCF Forum 9000

Wiltshire Council has become one of 14 councils to adopt a webcasting and audio/videoconferencing facility by Jon Hunnisett of Sound Advice, which features RCF’s Forum 9000 digital conferencing and voting system.

The Council’s Transformation Programme Wiltshire included a refurbished council chamber at County Hall, Trowbridge containing 113 RCF microphone terminals for 98 members, plus support and smart cards embedded in each of the RCF mics along with two multi-function push-to-talk buttons.

At the client’s request, Sound Advice set up a Vaddio AV Bridge, with the ability to integrate audio and video equipment into a Microsoft Lync (Skype for Business) environment, enabling online meetings and general sharing capabilities.

“The Council simply takes the video feed off the follow cameras and integrates it with the Lync videoconferencing,” explained Hunnisett. “The RCF Forum channels audio and video in such a manner that bridges between a conference system and web casting — and the RCF system identifies who is speaking at any time via the smart card.”

Sound Advice had worked closely with Jeremy Luckett, business analyst at Wiltshire Council Unitary Authority and the Council’s ICT team, to create this single structured system, which can be shared by all public sector agencies, knowing that once set up the RCF Forum 9000 would run automatically.

“Jeremy had some innovative ideas,” said Hunnisett. “As for RCF, they have a proven track record of camera follow and webcasting, and we can pipe AV between the chamber and remote viewer bi-directionally over the Internet. It’s highly cost-effective.”

Hunnisett added: “With councils unable to employ the personnel necessary to run camera follow, voting and agenda separately, the fact this can now be done with one easy-to-operate button on the Forum 9000, with a large amount of automation available behind it, is perfect — both from an operational and cost perspective.”

Another feature is that the RCF system has helped make the chamber paperless.

Luckett summarised: “We have succeeded in enabling this excellent system in an extremely cost-effective manner. The Forum 9000 provides far more than just a push and talk set-up, and we get a lot for our money. All the meeting facilities are now fully utilised and in addition to webcasting, it has helped us with staff training.”