How does audio and video technologies strenghten the Lithuanian democracy

The e-democracy project is unique in that it is fully funded by the European Union Structural Funds, up to 40% of the project budget is allocated to hardware, and the rest is allocated to software and services.

The essence of the project is to design and implement electronic means in all 60 municipalities of the country, which would allow publicizing the decisions made by the Municipal Council and the issues discussed at the meetings through publicly available information dissemination channels – local television, Internet. At the same time, another goal is achieved – efficient management of the meeting process and control of the decisions made, as the designed discussion – electronic voting systems are tightly connected with other document management systems used in municipalities and the municipality’s website. With the help of the newly installed conference system, meetings can be filmed and broadcast in real time on the Internet, all audio and video material is archived and placed in archives freely accessible to the public.

Out of 60 Lithuanian municipalities, together with our partners, we have implemented the following systems in 38 meeting rooms of the Council:

  • electronic voting – discussion systems;
  • video systems;
  • sound systems;
  • meeting video broadcasting and archiving systems;
  • hall automated control systems;
  • document management systems – implemented by our partners, integrated with the electronic voting – discussion system;
  • municipal websites – installed by our partners, integrated with the electronic voting – discussion system and the video broadcasting – archiving system of meetings.

All projects used the Danish company’s DIS digital conferencing system DCS6000, with an average of 20-30 units of discussion system consoles (portable or stationary) in each municipal hall, using BIAMP digital sound processors Nexia, Bittner Audio amplifiers and Martin Audio speakers for sound control. Video information is provided on Adeo, Projecta projection screens using NEC video projectors or LCD displays. Automatically controlled conference SONY video cameras and ViewCast video signal digitization computer boards were installed in the meeting rooms. All projects use the company’s DIS software SW6000, which has been adapted to the Lithuanian language. The “heart” of the system is the Crestron MP2E controller, which is used as a central control unit for video, discussion and audio systems. Controlling the discussion microphones, changing the position of the cameras, determining the position of the cameras in relation to the discussion desks, setting the sound levels of additional hall devices and displaying the video signal on the hall screen is performed with the help of the operator’s computer web browser.

For larger projects, Audioton used video streaming and archiving software DIS SW7000 or SmartVideo. This part of the project is closely linked to the content management system of the municipality’s website, which makes all information on both past and forthcoming meetings available to a wide range of users and enables them to participate in a democratic debate on issues of public concern.