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Government Services Center to implement tech upgrades

Tom Hintgen/FOCUS Heidi Harvey of Tierney Audio Visual Design addressed the county board on Oct. 16. Board members in photo, from left, are John Lindquist, Roger Froemming and Wayne Johnson.

Otter Tail County residents, such as those who provide input about proposed lake improvement districts, will benefit from new technology that will soon be in place at the Government Services Center in Fergus Falls.

Enhancements to video presentations will take place in future months in the county board meeting room at the services center.

"People need to see what's going on when a presentation is being made," said County Board Chairman Lee Rogness. "After the installations are made, we'll have desktop sharing, two monitors at the front of this room and two monitors in the back. Our goal is to better employ available technology in this area of the Government Services Center."

The use of Smart Boards, mobile monitors, interconnection with iPads and various video and audio enhancements are among the upgrades discussed during last week's county board meeting. Outlining various options with the county board was Heidi Harvey of Tierney Brothers Inc., an audio-visual design and installation firm out of Minneapolis.

Harvey will make a final proposal to the board after fine-tuning the needs of Otter Tail County. She will consult with County Coordinator Larry Krohn, Interim Facilities Manager Terry Hoff, County IT Coordinator Tim Brand, GIS Coordinator Brian Armstrong, Land and Resource Director Bill Kalar, and other county employees.

"With the new enhancements, we'll be able to see multiple things at different times," said Rogness. "For instance, ditch meetings involve the use of various maps. We want county residents to be able to ascertain what's being presented."

Information presented at county meetings, through new technology, will be more easily transferred to the county website.

"Through a controller, you have one wireless remote to control the entire system during a gathering here in the county boardroom," said Harvey.

The county board is also looking into options for reconfiguration of the boardroom, to coincide with installation of the new technology.

No final decisions have been reached regarding either the technology or the reconfiguration.

"We need to discuss room viewing from different angles," said GIS Coordinator Armstrong. "For that reason, looking into possible room reconfiguration is a good idea."

Installation of a 55-inch Smart Board is a strong possibility in the county boardroom at the Government Services Center. A Smart Board projects a computer's video output onto an interactive whiteboard, which then acts as a large touch screen.

"We've taken the first step, and now we need some fine-tuning of all that we've discussed today," said Rogness. "Video enhancements will come before any audio enhancements. It will be exciting for the county board and county residents to be part of new technology."