City of Reading Council Chamber: Cost-Saving Live Stream Upgrade

The City of Reading, PA recently reported a 14.4% decrease in their proposed 2024 budget. This unforeseen savings was primarily credited to an upgrade that would help them live stream council meetings. Haverford Systems worked with the city to design and install this upgrade.

During the pandemic, the city scrambled to install streaming equipment in other conference rooms to meet the immediate need for remote meetings. With the rush aside, the city had more time to thoroughly plan and design an A/V system for their council chambers. The new, customized system would improve the quality of council meetings and make them more accessible through live streaming. Little did they anticipate that this modernization effort would lead to a significant budget impact.

Scope of Work

After being selected to design and install the upgrade, Haverford Systems created a detailed analysis of the city’s requirements and proposed a solution for the council chambers. The scope of work included an integrated network of cameras, microphones, speakers, and displays managed through a control center. This system needed to be tailored to the acoustics of the large room without compromising the building’s original architecture. 

PTZOptics camera mounted at City of Reading council chambers

Four PTZOptics cameras were evenly distributed throughout the room to capture and dynamically focus on speakers from multiple angles. Several of the cameras were installed on existing mounts which helped preserve the integrity of the historic building.

Microphone conferencing system on council podium

Unlike conventional microphone setups, the conferencing units intelligently capture audio from the speaker and distribute it seamlessly to each individual council member and the broader audience. This not only ensures crystal-clear communication but also mitigates feedback issues. Furthermore, the system has built-in voting support that enables a more productive environment for discussion.

Epiphan Pearl video production system

The backbone lies in the advanced video production system, which powers the cameras for live streaming and recording. Complementing this, the control center provides users with real-time monitoring capabilities where they can start and end recordings, switch cameras, and oversee voter polling.

A Cutting-Edge Solution

Not only did the new audio-visual system meet the specific needs of the council chambers, but it offered a superior solution compared to the systems installed in other meeting rooms during the pandemic.

“All technology has tweaks. It’s never absolutely perfect 100% of the time, but I’ve heard from others that this is one of the nicest systems they’ve seen,” City Clerk Linda Kelleher said.

Unforeseen Cost Savings

An unexpected but significant outcome of the project was the cost savings that the City of Reading reported. Due to the way Haverford Systems designed the streaming service, there were no additional costs that they were previously paying for. This resulted in an annual savings of $48,000. 

“That’s primarily due to the fact that we no longer have to pay for maintenance agreements and traffic services for the streaming system,”  said Kelleher. This contributed to a 14.4% decrease in the overall proposed budget for 2024.

Community Impact

The implementation of the new streaming system serves as a benefit for city residents. Streaming and recording these proceedings helps keep local government transparent. This allows residents to engage and stay informed about key decisions that impact their community.

How HSI Can Help You Live Stream Council Meetings

Because of Haverford Systems’ expertise, the city now has a tailored audio-visual solution optimized to meet the council chambers’ specific needs. Haverford Systems has successfully executed numerous projects in various government facilities, showcasing our expertise in public sector spaces. For a cutting-edge A/V system for your own municipal facility, book a meeting with Haverford Systems.