Fort Saskatchewan city council is looking to make streaming meetings online, among other things, a bit easier.
 
The city bought their current system, SIRE, back in 2012 to help meetings run a bit smoother.
 
Beginning in 2014, the program brought electronic voting, automated minute and agenda development as well as the streaming service.
 
SIRE was bought out during implementation and the city wasn't able to use some components because of the switchover. With no updates, various challenges with program included errors and an outdated platform, rendering mobile devices and any software above Internet Explorer and Windows 10 useless.
 
"Right now and I know this first-hand, phones and iPads apparently don't support SIRE," said councillor Birgit Blizzard. "This new program is going to support phones and iPads wherever you are."
 
Now, the city is switching over to eSCRIBE. 
 
The new program is used by a number of municipalities across the nation who have all vouched for it.
 
"I think it's just going to make our meeting run much smoother, we've had interruptions before where they've tried to reboot SIRE so hopefully this will just makes things one less issue during meetings."
 
The cloud-based program is based here in Canada and allows meetings to be streamed on any device. The seven laptops currently used by the councillors would be replaced by iPads with a special program on it.
 
SIRE costs $10,700 in maintenance fees annually while eSCRIBE would cost $24,100—annually with the larger cost being attributed to the fact that it's cloud-based.
 
The initial, one-time implementation and subscription fee is $22,175; after that, nothing new needs to be purchased by the city.
 
Staff training is set to take place this fall with full software implementation set for the next council term.
 

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