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The Georgia Primary Election debates were just 2 weeks away. The excitement and momentum were growing. Nerves and anxiety were rising. Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB), in partnership with the Atlanta Press Club, was setting the stage for the debates like they have done every year for the past several years. Hundreds of questions were being prepared and thousands of people were marking their calendars.
And then within days, the world changed, forcing streets to close, people to separate and events to cancel.
Unlike some events, elections are not something that can be postponed or reconfigured for next year. GPB was stuck between a rock and a hard place. When looking for a solution, GPB didn’t want to merely “get by,” they wanted to exceed participants’ and viewers’ expectations.
They had to figure out how to host thousands of viewers, create an interactive environment, respect social distancing rules all virtually… while maintaining high security and control.
The Webex portfolio was able to check their boxes.
Cisco Meeting Server, Cisco’s on-premises deployment, provided GPB with a network that gave the host “white glove controls.” They needed extensive control over attendees to prevent disruptions and ensure no unauthorized parties interfered with the production.
Webex Teams provided participants with a natural experience and intercommunication capabilities.
Overall, the Webex platform delivered. The on-premises server issued them extra controls and protection over the broadcast. Webex Teams provided a simple, organic experience and call quality that simplified the experience for everyone. The Webex platform joined with the broadcasting systems to allow participant audio and video to integrate with other sources for the live television broadcast. Video was routed directly from the collaboration infrastructure to the production control environment.
Building upon the success of the April debates, GPB and Atlanta Press Club hosted the next series of virtual political debates in July, for runoffs for four Congressional districts. Their plan is to continue to leverage the Webex platform to broadcast virtual political debates throughout the upcoming election season.