We had a brilliant, enjoyable user group yesterday at the Hallam conference centre in London. Quite a bit happened, so I’m not going to try to cover everything – there’ll be a chance to do that with some reflective blogging in the coming few days (and weeks).
But, before we get distracted, I thought I’d run through some of the points that were made… so…
In the morning
- Ady and Lewis took us through the technology roadmap. Highlights included plans for the release in May, in particular a responsive design enabling a single user interface for Connect and Citizenscape that will work equally well for all devices.
- Ady said we’re looking into how we can develop an open API for Connect and Citizenscape and mentioned our interest in offering open data from the platforms.
- The May release will see the launch of Connect Social, of which there’ll be more soon. I don’t want to go into this too much, because it’s a major release and should be communicated in more detail, but it will include new things, such as pay gate, user identity for interactivity and more.
- Catherine talked about our thoughts on the design of the player – and she’ll be blogging very soon on this issue!
- We talked about some of the developments that those at the meeting and watching online might like to see. They included:-
- We talked about how iPads and other mobile devices (Android) can view the player. There was agreement that this is important, and there was a reiteration that this will be taken care of in the May release.
- We discussed instant archiving: While Public-i felt this is possible, we did identify a need to investigate just how it could be achieved for clients in a simple and safe way. Andy Moynihan from Surrey suggested that it might be possible to introduce a check box for operators to tick when they are happy it’s OK to immediately archive a webcast.
- We also had a good chat about how we might incorporate video conferencing into the webcasts.
In the afternoon
There was a round-table discussion after lunch on Rebooting Democracy – which Catherine introduced in this post last week. There were fantastic contributions from everyone, in particular Andrew Wallis, an independent councillor in Cornwall, who was invited to come down and help stir up debate (I’ll publish my video interview with him asap). We got through an awful lot, including:-
- The advent of the PCCs and elected mayors – and the impact this could have on local democracy.
- The need for us to find new ways to involve more people (and different demographics) in the democratic process.
- The role of technology in opening up democracy.
- How we might ensure that we are better informed decisions locally.
- The localism agenda – and to what extent it is genuinely transferring power down to local government.
We finished by talking more specifically about how council meetings might be improved in the future. There were some great suggestions and my next task will be to put these into another blog post, as a point for further discussion! If there’s anything you think I’ve missed here please tell me. And you can watch the whole webcast – accompanied by the live blog and chat from the day here. Thanks!