The eParticipate project was a 24 month Initial Deployment follow-on from a very successful Market Validation of an eParticipation multimedia platform that was launched in the UK, Spain, Ireland and Slovakia.
The aim was to help Local Authorities use webcasting as a means to re-engage citizens in the democratic process and broaden the participation of citizens. This was done by deploying an eParticipation multimedia webcasting platform with “best of breed” applications that made it easier for citizens to get involved in the democratic process.
The core of eParticipate is the public-i webcasting system that wraps functionality around these streaming media technologies which means that it can make use of cutting edge components while at the same time tailoring the end product closely to the needs of its market. By wrapping contextual information – both textual and graphical – around the encoded live video stream, eParticipate was able to offer a far richer user experience and one which is more deeply rooted in the democratic context. Unlike the majority of live webcasts that involve the use of camera crews to capture an event’s content, the public-i system simplified this process by the use of cameras remotely-controlled from the encoder PCs. The architecture is open, making use of web services and XML to facilitate data exchange. This means that it is simple ‘plug in’ 3rd party content and functionality as has been done with the public-i consultation modules.
The service was deployed to ten different municipalities in eight key EU Member States across Europe (Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Ireland, Italy, Slovakia, Spain and UK). Each Local Authority provided live and archived Internet webcasts of local municipal meetings both on and off site and other local community events. Citizens could view the broadcast online at any time and place and interact as they chose.