Provision of improved audio and visual for video conferencing
Solva Community Council and Solva Community Hub
WebZerIT were tasked by Solva Community Council and the Solva Community Hub to provide a much better audio and visual experience for their video conferencing systems when conducting hybrid online and physical meetings.
Solva Community Council meetings had moved fully online using Zoom meetings during the Covid-19 lockdowns. Due to the changes in the Local Government and Elections (Wales) Act 2021 there was a lot more emphasis on allowing meetings to be held virtually (i.e. multi-location meetings) and requiring
meeting documents to be published electronically.
“During the Covid-19 Pandemic we were forced to move our monthly meetings to fully online via Zoom. Now, as we move back to holding meetings physically together in one place, with most community councillors attending in person we found there was still a demand for viewing the meeting remotely online. This necessitated a solution that was better than me hosting the meeting on my laptop and turning it to face everyone so people remotely could see and hear the meeting. Needless to say this didn’t provide a decent meeting experience for those online!
This is when I asked WebZerIT to step in. They embraced the brief immediately and provided a quotation for the necessary equipment and setup costs within days. Steve @ WebzerIT has installed and configured everything and provided ‘idiots guide’ documentation. We have held some meetings already and everyone loved the new system, commenting how much better the sound is and the clarity of the camera images on the 4K HD screen is excellent. Everyone can now see my excel spreadsheets on the screen! Than you very much team WebzerIT!”
Bruce Payne – Clerk to Solva Community Council.
WebZerIT were well placed to offer the a new web conferencing solution as they are an IT and Web Design company also based in Solva. Not only do they provide IT support, web hosting, web design, IT Management, Microsoft 365 admin to companies in Pembrokeshire, Camarthenshire and Ceredigionshire, they also work with companies globally on remote IT projects. The challenge was set and WebzerIT techy bots immediately got to work.
- Improve the hybrid meeting experience for Solva Community Council meetings:
Our brief was to improve the quality of experience for all attendees at meetings held by the Community Council and other organisations in the village of Solva that had been forced to move online during the Covid-19 Pandemic. We indentified that the previous setup involved the host of the meeting who was physically sat at the main meeting location would turn their laptop screen around every time someone who was attending remotely online wanted to speak. This was far from satisfactory as the laptop screen was too small, sound quality and picture quality also not great. It would also detract the host (normally the clerk) from being able to effectively take the minutes for the meeting.
- Determine the right level of cost versus quality:
The team at WebzerIT quickly identified that there are a plethora of web conferencing solutions with various levels of sophistication and costs available on the market. WebzerIT were quickly able to determine that a bespoke solution with hardware purchased from IT Distribution would be absolutely sufficient to create a solution that not only worked, but worked well and did not cost a huge amount of money.
- Location, storage and security:
Another challenge was to supply a complete unit that was not only mobile and easy to move around, but also simple to setup and dismantle for each meeting and then compact enough to be locked away securely.
The biggest challenge was finding the right components to create a complete solution that worked for the size of meetings being held and a system that was easy and quick to setup by the host of the meeting.
- Improve audio for each meeting:
WebzerIT researched various audio and sound solutions for web conferencing and decided that a simple multi microphone and speaker system placed in the centre of the meeting table was sufficient. This is a single USB component that is easily connected to the host laptop.
- Optimize the video quality from the web camera:
Laptop webcams are good but they invariably only have a narrow field of view, this meant a bad experience for online attendees. WebzerIT determined that a PTZ (Pan/Tilt/Zoom) camera worked much better for the meeting environment, the camera provided a much better field of view for online attendees to be able to see everyone around the table in the physical meeting location.
- Improve the presentation quality of the meeting:
The physical meeting room in Solva Community Clubhouse already had a large screen and projector installed but WebzerIT decided not to utilise it as part of the solution, mainly due to complaints that people couldn’t see presentations clearly on the big screen and it was slightly more effort to setup each time. Therefore, after researching various big screen TVs, WebzerIT decided to use a 50″ 4K HD flat screen that was suitable to be fitted to a mobile stand and positioned at the head of the meeting table so everyone had a clear view.
- Create a compact and mobile unit:
The TV stand provided the perfect solution for creating an all-in-one web conferencing unit that was easy to move around and store securely. The TV and stand also provided the perfect height for a platform to place the camera and give an optimal view of the meeting.
WebzerIT were able to provide a solution that fitted the original brief of improving the multi location hybrid meeting experience.
WebzerIT have provided a complete solution that was in line with the original brief. Solva Community Council now have a value for money and decent web conferencing system that provides a great multi location hybrid meeting experience.
- Improved meeting experience for all:
WebzerIT provided an all in one compact and functional web conferencing system that has vastly improved the meeting experience for all attendees at Community Council meetings. People in the physical meeting can see and hear clearly the online attendees. The online attendees benefit from a much improved visual and audio experience. The clerk can now host the meeting without being distracted by moving a laptop around, and presentations on the 4K HD TV screen are much clearer for all to see.
- Simple to use, easy to store:
The use of the TV stand with wheels allows the system to be easily moved around and positioned correctly for a meeting. All cables are clearly marked and labelled, documentation is available to simplify the process of connecting and setting up a meeting on the hosts laptop. The unit can be disconnected and stored securely in a cupboard.
- Expanding the usage and value of the system:
WebzerIT have already had feedback from other groups in the village of Solva on how they have used the system for their meetings.
Solva Care have conducted a multi location meeting and have used the TV screen connected to a laptop to facilitate a quiz for their ‘Friday Club’ session.
Another comment has been received from the Solva Macular Degeneration group who meet at the Solva Community Clubhouse ‘The screen was really clear and I could see text and images much better’
- A message from Solva Community Council Clerk:
I am really pleased with the end result provided by WebzerIT. My job as clerk has been made far easier at any meetings I have to host and minute. The attention to detail by Steve @ WebzerIT has been fantastic and the team have been a pleasure to deal with! If any of their potential customers need a reference I would be more than happy to speak to them. Bruce Payne.
WebZerIT were well placed to offer their IT expertise to Solva Community Council as they are also based in Solva. If you have a requirement for a similar web conferencing system to facilitate hybrid multi location meetings in Pembrokeshire, Camarthenshire or Ceredigionshire then please contact us. If you would like to speak to us about any other IT related project then please get in touch via our Contact Page.