Staff Report #7
August 28, 2019
To All Commissioners
Re: 2019 Work Program – Information Services – Second Quarter Update
That the report be NOTED and FILED.
The following report is provided as an update on major Information Services (IS) projects as set out in the 2019 Work Program that are ongoing in nature and/or were scheduled to commence and/or be completed in the second quarter of 2019, with the lead on same being the primary responsibility of the IS department.
Upgrade/Maintenance of Information System Hardware/Platform
Fine tuning of previously added infrastructure upgrades to storage, virtualized servers, core switching and enhanced firewalls is an ongoing maintenance effort that is proceeding well. In addition to this work, new system hardware and platform changes are as follows:
- New network printers and photocopiers were rolled out in June and July, in an effort to create a more cost efficient and environmentally friendly method for centralized printing and transmitting of electronic documents rather than hard copy ones. New machines were introduced in three work areas: Human Resources and the garage offices at the Highbury and Wonderland facilities. Employees are being trained in scan-to-email and other technologies that were previously unavailable to them.
- The IS department is on track to replace 20 workstations in 2019 as part of scheduled updating of desktop computers.
- A larger scale project aimed at replacing all Wi-Fi infrastructure is underway with a target of completion in December 2019. This work will replace all Access Points and Wireless Network Controllers in LTC bus storage and office areas and provide enhanced management, monitoring and configuration interfaces to the IS department.
- Inquiries regarding the replacement of the microphones in the main Commission boardroom have begun. The most current/suitable technology for replacement would cost approximately $16,000; other options and price points are still being explored.
Phone System Upgrades
In recent weeks the new office phone system introduced at the Highbury facility has been extended to include the Wonderland Road facility. Integrating the phone systems with paging (internal announcement) and gate control systems at both facilities is the next step which is slated for completion in Q4 2019/Q1 2020.
An assessment of the current customer-facing IVR (interactive voice response) system is also underway. This system is responsible for providing customers with real-time bus information over the phone. Upgrades to the existing system or replacement with a new product will be scheduled shortly and will be completed as soon as possible given the desire to see an improvement in up-time reliability in this area.
Assess Livestreaming of Commission Meetings
This Work Program item was carried out between April and July of 2019. Several different vendors and providers of systems and/or services were contacted. There are two main approaches possible for livestreaming Commission meetings; the provision of same by a third party who would arrive with the necessary equipment and stream/archive the content for LTC, or the purchase of necessary hardware by LTC. In the second scenario, which is the more typical for public/government entities, an LTC employee would need to be present to direct the streaming of the meeting and would need to be trained in the use of the equipment.
Costs for the first (third party) method would vary depending upon the number of people/cameras required and the length of the meeting, but would start at approximately $1,100 for a single three hour meeting. These services are more commonly used at specific events (conferences, speaking engagements, corporate functions, etc.).
Pricing for LTC to purchase the required equipment and have it installed permanently is approximately $20,000. There would also be the ongoing consideration of requiring an additional LTC staff at the meetings and the one-time investment of effort from the IS department to work with the vendor to get things up and running. There are several web platforms for archiving and streaming the videos, the best known of which is YouTube, which could be used at no cost to LTC.
In addition to the aforementioned costs associated with livestreaming of Commission meetings, consideration needs to be given to Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act requirements relating to the posting of video on corporate websites. The Information Standard Review Committee’s recommendations for change to the current standards are currently posted for public comment. Included in the recommendations is the following with respect to live captioning and audio description (excerpt from Committee Recommendations).
Recommendation 22: Live captioning and audio description
Currently, the Government of Ontario and Legislative Assembly are the only organizations which must meet the live captioning and audio description requirements in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. All other organizations are exempt from implementing this requirement.
The committee proposes the following:
- By 2025, the exemptions to the WCAG 2.0 guidelines regarding live captioning and audio descriptions should be removed.
- Between now and 2025, obligated organizations should put in place the infrastructure to support live captioning and audio description. Organizations which are currently exempt and are required to prepare a multi-year plan should include progress toward this infrastructure in their plan.
- As it is possible that the next committee might want to accelerate this timeline, the current committee recommends that the government explore and monitor technologies and resources available for live captioning and audio descriptions to allow the next committee to make a well-informed decision. This should start six months after this recommendation is adopted.
Timeline: Exemptions removed by January 1, 2025, to be evaluated for acceleration by the next committee.
The intent of this recommendation is to have obligated organizations plan infrastructure, adopt training, and generally get ready to implement live captioning and audio descriptions by 2025, or sooner if the next committee should choose to accelerate the timeline. The committee’s intention is to establish a high standard (equal to CRTC standards for live captioning) of quality in live captions.
This requirement, should it be adopted, will result in additional requirements associated with providing video of meetings on the corporate website, the cost of which cannot be determined at this time.
Patrick Cormier, Manager of Information Services
Concurred in by:
Kelly S. Paleczny, General Manager