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What's News? - September 2014

IRC's xmLegislator Applications Light the Way Forward

We at IRC would like to take a moment to highlight our xmLegislator .NET Voting and Legislative Management system.

This application was designed to take the place of our old Visual Basic 6-based application as we learned Microsoft would no longer be supporting VB6 and that all coded systems needed to move forward into the .NET platform. Our first iteration of xmLegislator was rolled out in late 2012.  As with anything, change comes slowly, though, and as of 2013 only 6 clients had ventured forward to give xmLegislator a shot.

Once installed in these few bodies, though, word of the application—with its speed, ease of use and configuration as well as flexibility to integrate with other legislative systems—spread like wildfire.

Which brings us to where we are now, a little more than a year later, with the xmLegislator voting application installed in 24 legislative bodies! Believe us when we say that no one has been more surprised with the success of this application than us, but we feel that only bears witness to the amount of software expertise, legislative knowledge and customer consideration that was put into the development of this seminal legislative software suite.

A Look into the Past, A Leap Into the Future

There can be no diminishing of IRC’s VB6-based voting system. It has served our customers well over the past decades and has facilitated the compiling of our comprehensive software configuration matrix. While the VB6 system continues to be used in some locations, the xmLegislator .NET system has the specific ability to utilize current, leading computer technologies to perform requests, tasks and data access easier and faster than ever before. Making use of quad-core processors and an SQL database, the .NET voting application functions at a higher level, streamlining such common actions as designing and updating the displays as well as modifying the Graphical User Interface which can be customized by the user. In fact, this aspect of custom design has never been more powerful and accessible to the user than it is in the xmLegislator .NET software.

Keeping up with current technology and operating systems is important and, here again, we find justification for moving to the .NET platform. As many legislatures and their information systems divisions migrate to Windows 7, the prospect of continuing with VB6-based programs can be seen as treading into uncertain waters. In fact, the professional software development website, InfoQ  goes so far as to call this a “looming crisis.”

In a statement earlier this year, Microsoft wrote:

“After April 8, 2014, technical support for Windows XP and Windows XP Mode will no longer be available, including updates that help protect your PC. This means that if you continue to use Windows XP or use Windows XP Mode on a Windows 7 PC after support ends, your PC might become more vulnerable to security risks and viruses.”

For us at IRC, the continued reliability and security of a customer’s legislative network and mission critical software systems makes a compelling argument for moving to the .NET platform. However, it is the robust software tools native to the xmLegislator application that sweetens the deal.

All the Tools You Need, at Your Fingertips

Reviewing the entire feature set of tools and utilities available in the xmLegislator .NET voting application would be too extensive an experience for this format. An in-depth online demonstration of the full power of this software, can be scheduled upon request. For now, we will take this opportunity to highlight some of the functions which have proven to be a hit with our recently upgraded customers.

 

IRC Designer Tool

The IRC Designer Tool allows users to customize screen layouts. Virtually every aspect of a screen can be customized using this feature, including colors, size and position of the controls. For those wishing to add functionality to their system, they can use the Designer Toolbox to create additional controls.

 

 

Bill Number Pad

This handy pop-up tool can be used to quickly enter the bill prefix and number using the touch screen interface and may be deployed during a variety of processes, such as editing a bill item or searching for a bill item.

 

Video Controller

This simple but effective tool allows for manual tagging of video in real time. It also gives the user control over starting, stopping, and pausing the encoding directly from their screen.

 

 

 

Displays On/Off

A simple tool that is deployed from a hot key, this allows the user to control the powering up or powering down of any display LCD/Plasma/Television attached to the system, such as those displaying vote information either inside or outside of the chamber.

 

 

Mixer Volume Control

When operating in an environment where IRC’s software interfaces with a sound system, this feature allows the user quick and easy access to adjust the volume controls on multi-channel mixers attached to the sound system, providing the capability to adjust in-chamber sound levels as ambient noise in the chamber fluctuates.

 

 

IRC DVD Control

Paired with a media control system like the Venus or Planar controllers, this tool allows the user to start, stop and pause video on the displays from the voting software screen. When used in tandem with the Switcher Commands function, this tool can control multiple devices as well.

 

 

 Other aspects of the system include Working and Active Display Board, Calendar Lists, Video Capture, Switcher Commands, Timers, Vote Viewer, Vote Entry, RTS and Debate Queue and more!

Our Invitation

We wish we could share some of our customers’ words of praise for the xmLegislator .NET system, but outright endorsement of anything is always tricky in the legislative environment. So we encourage you to contact us and we will provide you with a list of references you might speak to. There is simply no greater testimony than a first-hand account from the end user, and our xmLegislator customers would love to talk with you about the software.

In summation, with the comprehensive improvements to functionality of the software over the VB6 application coupled with Microsoft’s clear stance on not supporting the old VB6 platform and even pre-Windows-7 operating systems, it becomes increasingly clear that the best way to propel your legislative system forward is with our .NET applications. The triumphant roll-out of this software speaks for itself. Contact us today for a demonstration.

We invite you to be part of our success story!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

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