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The Senedd Cymru
01 January 1970
From 6th May 2020 the National Assembly for Wales is renamed Senedd Cymru, but in 2015 we were asked to provide a touchscreen solution to provide information to public areas of the Senedd of the then National Assembly for Wales,
The Senedd is committed to making its proceedings open and transparent to the people of Wales and beyond. NEP Bow Tie TV are responsible for coverage of proceedings encompassing the broadcasting service of the Senedd and Committees and includes the production of broadcast quality sound and vision feeds of all Senedd proceedings for televising by external broadcasters within and outside of Wales, and for internal distribution via the client’s in-house television systems.
The public area overlooking the Senedd chamber seats 128 people, each with an individual screen to view and listen to live proceedings. Welsh and English is spoken by participating MPs which is translated and broadcast live. The incumbent system was ten years old and was, quite naturally, struggling to keep pace with the administration’s desire to improve the overall experience for visitors through greater interactivity and new video streaming capabilities.
Our solution was to replace the existing screens with 128 tablets designed for commercial use, each installed with LiveSpace digital signage. The touchscreen option provides a menu for the public to choose between translated and verbatim audio options in response to the language being spoken at the time.
There are several options available for displaying video on these tablets, two of which were adopted for this project. Live video is now distributed directly and simultaneously from the cameras via the mixing desk to the screens. Secondly, off-Air TV distribution is streamed over the network.
A 10” tablet designed for commercial use was chosen as a replacement for the original ten year old screens. The device was supplied in an open frame and a bespoke bezel was created to fit the design and fabric of the structure and its surroundings. Commercial tablets are designed for longer usage hours. They incorporate higher quality components with design features that exceed the consumer units available to the general public.
With its 1.33GHz quad core Intel Atom processor running Ubuntu and a screen resolution of 1280 × 800 pixels the tablets are highly suited to the task; providing high quality video through the addition of a simple to install USB capture device.
LiveSpace digital signage is designed for both cloud and self-hosted solutions. The Senedd has a central server providing links to client screens in multiple locations throughout the organisations estate.
Live Space uses modern web technologies to ensure updates are rapidly transmitted to every screen while minimising the network traffic and therefore the bandwidth required at each location. The user interfaces to control all aspects of LiveSpace operation are written as web pages that interact with the core system processes and the administration interface provides a full set of features.
Phase one was delivered at the end of March 2016 in time for the annual State Opening by the Queen. Further upgrades and finessing have taken place to enhance the user experience and improve the audio selection capability.
Using LiveSpace to manage the 128 screen in the public area has simplified the management of the screens. Switching the tablets between a live streamed event in the chamber to an interactive device designed for public use has been highly successful and warmly praised by Assembly staff involved with the project.