Vualto has built the new video microsite for the National Assembly for Wales, Senedd TV. Plenary meetings and committees are streamed live across PC, Mac and mobile devices, and are subsequently available as a searchable video on demand archive.
Parliamentary broadcast specialist production company NEP Bow Tie provides multi-camera video coverage of the Assembly Plenary and Committee meetings, and provides the broadcast archive. Vualto worked with NEP Bow Tie to build the new website, to ensure that the coverage was available as widely as possible and fully bi-lingual to meet the requirements of full democratic access.
The platform has been built around the Unified Streaming platform, which creates the live stream for all popular devices. The sub-clipping feature in Unified Streaming provides an instant archive of the session as soon as the live feed has finished. The website, which is available in both Welsh and translated English, makes use of the latest HTML5 based, HLS THEOplayer from Open Telly and has been recently updated to incorporate time-code accurate live captioning to display the names and political party of each speaker as they make their contributions in Plenary meetings.
Plenary sessions of the Assembly can run for several hours. Consumers watching via the website have full DVR functionality so can rewind, pause and fast forward. Using these tools, they can also create their own clips from the proceedings whilst the meeting is live, as well as once it is available on-demand, and embed them elsewhere or publish them on social media.
Functionality provided by THEOplayer enables captions to be rendered as time-code accurate metadata that sits outside the player, on supported devices, as opposed to captions only being available as a burnt in strap on the video stream. Additional browser and device detection has been implemented so that the burnt in captions appear on mobile devices and older browser versions but the out-of-player feed is available on all HTML5 enabled browsers. The benefit of having the captions feed as metadata available in the website means that, as a future enhancement, the captions can be searched, allowing users to track individual member’s contributions on a particular topic, for instance.
“One of the key issues for the National Assembly for Wales is that its citizens want to access content on whichever device is convenient at the time, with the same user experience,” said James Burt, CTO of Vualto. “Our solution puts the Assembly on iOS, Android and Windows Phone devices as well as online, but without adding to the complexity of the operation or the look of the website.”
Peter Black AM, the Assembly commissioner with responsibility for ICT and edemocracy, added: "The National Assembly must reach out to as wide an audience as possible to ensure that democracy works in Wales.
"With many of us now choosing to engage and communicate through digital media channels it is imperative that the Assembly utilises these platforms.
"Providing an online video streaming tool that provides functionality for people to engage with the Assembly is a central part of that process, and Senedd TV allows for greater interaction with the Assembly’s content to take place.”