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Trends in the court and law enforcement markets - Centralized Monitoring

Posted by Ken Cook , 31 July 2012 · 12357 views

Over the next several of my blogs I will examine what I have observed as trends in the court and law enforcement markets as it relates to recording and content management. I wanted to write about the contribution vaudeville made to the development of the nascent movie industry, but that got shut down quickly.
Some of you might not consider them trends. Some of you might have never heard of them. Some of you might just laugh outright and think to yourselves “Who is this guy kidding?”
OK, so be it.
These trends are based on my personal observations and conversations with customer throughout the eastern region of the US and the Caribbean. I reserve the right to change my mind and change my opinions. But I welcome your input and observations as well.
I plan to discuss one or two items per blog (gotta milk this topic for as many weeks as possible) depending on how much room they give me.
Topics I hope to eventually cover will be
  • Integration with other data systems – A core philosophy consisting of one GUI, several applications. Why is it important to link between a case management system and the recordings?
  • Centralized monitoring – Having one person keep watch over several recording venues. Are the advantages real or wishful thinking?
  • High definition video recording – Do they really understand the storage requirements here?
  • Speech to text recognition – The Holy Grail of court technology. And why right now it is as unlikely as finding the Grail in your backyard.
  • Centralized recording – Cheaper? Better? Maybe. Maybe not. Depends on the quality of your IT staff and your real business processes.
  • Public access – Can you say quagmire? What are the pitfalls and privacy problems that will develop?
  • Audio mining – So you say you have massive processing power that is going unused? Great, let’s process your recordings for use in audio mining so you can find particular phrases embedded in all of your recordings.
  • Myth of high quality transcripts - How accurate do transcripts actually have to be to have value?
Plus whatever else strikes me as interesting or important.

Centralized Monitoring:

OK, first off, I’m not talking about centralized recording. I will talk about that in subsequent blogs. With FTR Monitor you don’t have to have the recording systems or server in one location. As long as the FTR Monitor app can see the systems across the network, it doesn’t matter what recording hardware is involved.
The basic idea is one person can manage 2 or more courtrooms at the same time. And by manage I mean they can start/stop recording and take log notes against each individual court proceeds all in the same GUI.
Why do this? A couple, few, several solid reasons
  • One to one ratio of court reporters/monitors/clerks to courtrooms is no longer viable. Personnel costs are increasing, budgets are falling. Anything that can augment the value and productivity of an court employee is becoming heavily sought after.
  • Documenting issues in the court and in the recordings is becoming an important tool for court supervisors and administrators. Use of Monitor allows for remote supervisors to listen into their courts and make personal linked annotations as they hear or see issues. Plus allow them to document audio/video issues with linking
  • Provide a backup for the in-court reporter or cover for a court monitor in the event of illness or sudden scheduling change.
  • Double the number of people doing critical confidence monitoring
  • Keep a weather eye on courts to react more quickly on problems with recording as they arise. (yes, this is similar to #4, but not exactly)
  • Looks like the supervisor is on top of everything in their court when their bosses show up in their office.
I am confident more reasons exist, but this is a good start.
If you have more than 2 or 3 courts then having Monitor can be a real timesaver. And if you are selling into more than 2 or 3 courts, then not selling your customer Monitor is doing them a disservice.
Have any more ideas? Share them with us. You’ll be helping overcome Monitor-ignorance the world over.

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