Hybrid Meetings and Digital Inclusion | eSCRIBE Meetings

The new era of public meetings

Hybrid meetings and ensuring digital inclusion

The acceleration of digital transformation for public sector organizations

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused rapid change in almost every facet of our lives, and has accelerated the acceptance of online or electronic alternatives in place of traditional forms of interactions. For municipal governments, school boards and other public sector organizations, one of the key functions most directly impacted by physical distancing restrictions has been their council and committee meetings.

And for all its disruptions and devasting impact to our lives, this crisis has proven that working remotely CAN be done.

Now that we’ve even advanced past “entry-level” of remote meetings, you may wonder how you can make things even smoother, more streamlined, and maybe even less… glitchy. And *maybe* address digital inclusion perhaps? Plus, what should you plan for when in-person meetings come back into play?

Well. You’re in the right place. Read on!

Remote. Hybrid. What’s the Difference?

“Remote” meetings simply mean that. You meet remotely via a video conferencing platform like Zoom, Teams, WebEx and the like. Everyone logs into the same platform and away you go.

This has worked well when EVERYONE was remote. But this won’t be forever.

As we emerge from crisis mode, there will be demands for in-person meetings in varying degrees depending on the organization. However, demands for remote options will not fully go away either.

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HYBRID

= Physical (in-person) + Virtual (remote)

Whether for individual accommodations or as a contingency plan, hybrid meetings must underpin the new norm. The ability to efficiently and effectively conduct hybrid meetings that seamlessly span both in-person and remote participation needs to become a core capability of an organization’s technology, processes and planning, so you don’t need to ramp back up again each time the need rises.

Bridging Virtual & Physical Meeting Rooms

Integrating the two environments requires more than just putting a webcam and large video conferencing display in the physical room. It is critical that participants in both environments be treated and managed equally. For example, remote participants cannot be treated as second class by their in-room counterparts simply because they are communicating on a screen instead of face to face.

For the virtual and physical domains to smoothly function together as a single meeting, a system is required to seamlessly manage both environments and their respective participants in real-time.

This is where meeting management solutions (like eSCRIBE) comes in.

Are You Unhappy With Your Current Vendor?

If you feel you are paying top tier pricing but only receiving second or even third tier services with limited product improvements, you should talk to us. It doesn’t hurt to know your options.

As one of our pandemic initiatives, we are offering to help you save up to 20% in recurring annual savings based off of your fees with your current vendor.

Why eSCRIBE

eSCRIBE offers a seamless, stress-free experience with tools and workflows to improve efficiency, transparency and accessibility before, during and after your meetings. Now you can complete more with less, and can also have more time to focus on higher-value tasks and projects.

Here are the key reasons why we’ve been selected over other products by our customers.

100% Focused on Meeting Management
It is what we do and it is our ONLY business. You never have to worry about where you stand.

We address the entire meeting lifecycle – from pre-meeting preparations to post-meeting action items. By doing so, you save time from every satellite activity for each meeting.

Time that can be better spent on higher-valued tasks – like your citizens or supporting other departments in the battle against the pandemic.

Well-known for Phenomenal Customer Service
The personal touch starts from the beginning with our sales team, and you’ll have guidance and support from implementation, training through to when you’re handed over to your dedicated account manager.
Customer Feedback Is Integral to Our Product Development
We encourage customers to submit feature requests in the customer portal so that our product continues to be relevant to our customers. Given our sole business is the meeting lifecycle, all our R&D investment goes straight back into the product.

Customer Testimonials

Hear directly from one of our customers on how we’ve made their meetings easier, and why eSCRIBE was the obvious choice.

Starter Turnkey Package: the Accessibility Bundle

Understanding how to configure a new solution to solve your particular business pain points can be challenging. That’s why we’ve taken the guesswork out of the process by bundling together the most important modules for addressing common requirements, along with all of the support you will need to get up and running in the shortest time possible.

The Accessibility Bundle ensures the information you provide can be universally accessed by everyone to drive stakeholder engagement. All eSCRIBE bundles provide the tools you need to ensure your content complies with accessibility standards. This bundle builds on top of the basic Efficiency bundle to include tools for report-related tasks, such as template management, version control, approval workflows, multi-user document editing and more.

Sheryl Exley, Legislative Officer

Residents have commented on social media how nice it is to view our videos anywhere from a tablet or smartphone. Being able to watch council meetings from home is remarkable. They also like being able to scroll through the agenda on the website and click an item to go directly to that part of the video.

Dorothy Shermer, Corporate Officer
We do some pretty strange things and have incredibly specific requirements. eSCRIBE does a great job of addressing them while most others won’t even understand what we’re going on about. I’m impressed and have been spreading the news among my peers, who know that I’m never easily impressed.
Laurie Mason, Executive Assistant to the Secretary Treasurer
Our meeting processes have been drastically transformed for the better, and we’ve been very impressed with the service eSCRIBE has provided. We’re looking forward to using more and more of the eSCRIBE features
Holly Grant, Deputy Clerk

The eSCRIBE team was amazing,they were very supportive. They walked us through every step making sure that they were there to support us. Using eSCRIBE has saved us so much time on our agenda prep. It used to take us almost two days to do a full agenda now we’re down to approximately an hour.

Joanne Hyde, Clerk

Being able to manage workflows for reports and ensuring the integrity of our approval processes have been paramount. eSCRIBE has saved us so much time that we’ve been able to focus on other aspects of the clerk’s office and take on other projects.

Danielle Ross, Executive Assistant, Director’s Office
As an Executive Assistant, eSCRIBE has drastically reduced my workload—from reports to taking minutes and assigning tasks, the whole process has become more cost-effective and time-efficient.
Danielle Manton, Manager of Election & Committees Services
It’s almost impossible to quantify the hours we spent preparing for meetings before eSCRIBE. Compiling reports took months, and building a meeting agenda was a two-day process for each committee. Now everything we need is up-to-date and securely available on any device, anywhere.
Donna Delvecchio, City Clerk
It can be hard to accept change. Our Legislative Assistant has been here for 30 years but has totally embraced eSCRIBE. To go through that big of a change and be totally on board is a testament to the solution. We don’t know what we would do without eSCRIBE.
Kim Courts, Deputy Clerk
If our CAO wants something changed or the contributor has their own update, I just work with the contributor, re-upload the report to eSCRIBE, and it’s done in five minutes. The page numbering and bookmarks are also automatically updated. I can’t imagine how we ever got by without eSCRIBE before.

Additional Consideration:

Addressing Digital Inclusion of Your Meetings

Accessibility has been on the agenda for a long time. As digital transformation is accelerating the pace of change within public sector organizations to move toward digitized services, the need to provide accessibility to digital content is a growing pressure.

When choosing a meeting management vendor, you want to make sure that their product is built with accessibility compliance in mind to ensure digital inclusion for all your stakeholders. While the below six key considerations may seem common sense, not all vendors are fully aware.

Don’t forget to ask — Find a vendor who can give you the right answers, and more!

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Up-to-Date Compliance

Is the vendor current with revisions to the legislation for your jurisdiction?
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Standard Framework & Templates

Having them will enable you to enforce their use across your organization.
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File Formats

Does the software support all the file formats you need (e.g. word processing documents, HTML, etc)?
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WCAG 2.0

Does the software provide compliance with WCAG 2.0 Level A and Level AA?
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Publish HTML5 Format

HTML5 format has best compatibility with screen readers. PDFs do not.
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Closed Captioning

Is it available for both live and pre-recorded content? Is it automated or manual?

Pricing

eSCRIBE is priced based on the size of your organization, whether you purchase modules à-la-carte or our bundles. Our tiered pricing structure helps make comprehensive meeting management affordable even to smaller organizations.

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White Paper

Guide to the New Norm for Successful Civic Meetings

Even as restrictions on in-person gatherings are eased and councils start returning to chambers and meeting rooms, ongoing needs of maintaining physical distancing, accommodating vulnerable participants and preparing for future emergencies will continue to make hybrid meetings essential for modern democracy. To ensure continuity, efficiency, and effectiveness, the “new norm” must seamlessly integrate both virtual and physical meeting environments into a single, unified meeting experience.

This paper explores the key requirements for future civic meetings and approaches for successfully managing them.