Open dialogue between government and the people it serves is one of the building blocks of what helped build this country. While the public sector hasn’t always been quick to adapt and adopt the latest tech advances, that’s slowly changing. Government entities now understand that technology can increase citizen engagement and help facilitate the flow of information, and many are implementing AV technology in city buildings and public signage. In fact, experts expect the interactive audio visual market to grow to $114 billion this year.
Today, citizens expect more, faster, from their government, whether it be services or infrastructure. Of course, while technology has made sharing information easier than ever, people still want—no, expect—more transparency in government operations.
If giant corporations such as Amazon and Google can implement technology to make user experiences more honest and pleasant, why shouldn't the government? That's the theory behind many recent changes some government officials have made in how they use AV technology to help make their cities run more efficiently.
Westland, Michigan, Makes Council Meetings Accessible for Everyone
One such government body is the Westland, Michigan, City Hall. What was once a mishmash of dusty old machinery and old fashioned ways of working has been upgraded to roadside digital signage and 50-inch TVs that display information for citizens. City Hall employees use a network of videoconferencing systems to broadcast pertinent information to the public; something the government of Westland hopes will increase the public's participation in meetings by offering more transparency.
Speaking of the public, they are able to interact with the system using their mobile devices or computers. The city televises meetings over the network as well, so viewers can "sit in" on council meetings, without having to leave the comfort of their homes. Council members can participate by pressing a microphone button and can join from the lobby in the event that the room is overcrowded. All the while, 70-inch displays show the meeting in real-time. More accessibility leads to a higher rate of participation and improved citizen engagement.
Cambridge City Hall Gets an Upgrade
In Cambridge, Massachusetts, City Hall got a similar makeover. The 125-year-old building is now equipped with projection screens, high-definition cameras, and assistive listening devices. Council members can manage lighting, audio, and display settings from a touch screen. Most impressive, however, is the ability to participate in the meeting remotely. Citizens can upload their own documents through the system, either wirelessly or via personal flash drives.
Municipal Airports Using AV to Improve Efficiency
Municipal airports are also implementing AV technology to increase efficiency and decrease stress. The John F. Kennedy Airport in Long Beach recently developed a system of virtual assistants to guide passengers through airport security. Life-sized holographic images offer information and answer questions about screening processes in several different languages. Whether reminding passengers how to prepare for a security screening or what items are not allowed on planes, the holograms are much more engaging than signs.
AV Technology Trends All Over the World
America isn't the only country using videoconferencing technology to make life better for its citizens. In Japan, the mayor of Fukuoka, Soichiro Takashima, recently expressed his concern for the health of the aging population. Many elderly citizens in Fukuoka are in need of advanced medical care, and as a result, the city will soon implement health-monitoring apps and remote checkups. Across the globe, government figures and entities are using technology to create real connections with their citizens.
The potential for AV technology in the government sector is huge, and this is only the beginning. The incredible technological advances we've seen in business and the public are just now reaching the government level. The future of how citizens and their governments interact is about to face a huge change for the better. As technology inches its way into the public sector, it will be inspiring to see how much more engaging and transparent government operations will become.