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What Keeps Court Executives Up at Night?

By | Updates

What is the biggest challenge that courts face with the adoption of technology? It’s budgeting … and no other technology-related challenge is even close. 

If you’re a court executive chances are you already know that budgeting for courtroom technology is particularly difficult. That’s because, among court executives, 64 percent classify budgeting as a “major challenge” in courtroom technology adoption. Another 23 percent classify it as a “significant challenge.” And a mere 2 percent say that budgeting is “no challenge.”

These statistics are part of what we have learned from RevoText’s first-ever Court Technology Survey, which we sent to 2,000 court executives in November and December of 2018.

You might wonder, after budgeting, what’s next on the list of challenges in courtroom technology adoption. It’s vendor accountability, which nosed out adherence to installation deadlines, determining whose perspectives to take into account, and the actual selection of a vendor.

Think about the challenge of courtroom technology budgeting: It’s three times more difficult to create a budget for technology installation than it is to keep a vendor in line and on a timeline. 

Budgeting would seem like a simple process. Your courtroom has a need. A supplier has a product that fills that need. That product has a price tag. You drop that number into your budget along with a cost for installation and support, right?

Not so fast. Somewhere budgeting gets horribly complicated. Where does that happen?

One answer is that there is not a cookie-cutter approach to courtroom technology adoption. Installations differ significantly based on the configurations of courtrooms and the idiosyncratic needs of court systems. One court executive pointed to “eleven courtrooms in five locations with varying degrees of technology.” Another mentioned the difficulty of “meeting the changing needs after installation (and) support after installation.” Still another talked about installation complexity because “the interface was custom built to work with custom-built case management and external vendor systems.”

When assessing the purely technicalchallenges of adoption and installation of courtroom technology, court executives put customizing and retrofitting older courtrooms at the top of the list, with 78 percent citing it as a least “somewhat of a challenge.” That is followed by courtroom wiring and infrastructure, cyber security, and local Internet speed.

Given those particular challenges, it underscores the significance that RevoText’s technology solution, which connects remote real-time reporters to courtrooms, operating with complete independence from a court’s IT system. RevoText doesn’t require one ounce of IT support from court IT personnel.

And if budgeting is the over-arching challenge with technology adoption and installation – and we’ve just clearly established that it is – we likewise feel compelled to emphasize that RevoText connects remote real-time court reporters directly to your courtroom at an overall cost that is likely less than what your court currently is paying to create the official record.

Want to get a full copy of the 2018 RevoText Court Technology Survey? Send a request to info@revotext.com.

Enabling Courtroom Tech Success in the New Year

By | Updates

It’s a great message as we head into a new year. A full 72 percent of court executives and administrators generally characterize their most recent technology installation as a success. The questions become: How can courts emulate success and avoid disappointment?   

Early results from the RevoText Court Technology Survey have begun to yield some answers to those questions. Let’s start with the positive to give you an idea of how your court can learn from the successes of your court executive and administrator colleagues. The most important factor that enables success in large-scale courtroom technology installations is to gain the support from key personnel, which 65 percent of respondents suggest “to a large degree” was responsible for their success. 

What else enables success? Having a responsive vendor and having a clear understanding of the court’s needs, which 57 and 55 percent of respondents, respectively, indicate are important factors in the success of technology installations. One respondent suggests that the court must have “agile development.” The needs and expectations of the project, along with scheduling, must adapt to incorporate what the court and the vendor learn along the way. Another respondent, anecdotally, leans on the importance of a thorough understanding of courtroom needs as being vital to success: “I was firm on what our court needed from the system in order for it to work for us.”

Throughout the initial survey findings, there is substantial evidence that getting the right people on board with the project and crystal-clear communication are factors that disproportionately impact the success of courtroom technology installations. When asked in an open-ended question what has been the biggest challenge in technology installations, one court administrator raised these points: “Getting buy-in from those who approve the overall budget and don’t necessarily understand how a court operates or the needs we require.”

Courts also can enable success by avoiding the factors that led to the disappointment with technology installations of 27 percent of survey respondents. One administrator suggested that “lack of full support from [the] manager” was the largest factor that led to a disappointing result. Another pointed to an existing, institutional problem with communication: “Court technology support is relatively poor and communication is always lacking.”

If strong communication can enable success, not surprisingly, the inverse also is true. The survey suggests that poor communication can doom a project from the start. Failing to emphasize communication throughout the process – among court personnel, with vendors, with other key stakeholders – is a common denominator in all technology failures. One court executive put specifics around the communication challenge: “Eleven courtrooms in five different locations, each with varying degrees of technology.” But everyone has a vested interest in the technology and need to have some level of engagement with the process.

Of those respondents who indicate their most recent technology initiative was a disappointment, 56 percent of respondents point to two factors as particularly problematic: That “it took longer than expected” and that “court personnel lost confidence or interest [in the project].” Another factor – “poor integration with existing system” – also appeared high on the list as a factor that contributed to disappointment.

The good news is that most factors that enable successful technology installation in courtrooms are within your control. That also means that, to a large degree, the factors that have the largest potential to derail a technology project are within your sphere of control. More to that point, cost overruns, an unresponsive vendor, and security concerns – items that are largely out of your control yet are often referenced as particular concerns at the outset of a technology installation – are rarely significant contributors to technology failures. 

The RevoText Court Technology Survey is currently in the field and is scheduled to be completed in January 2019. All court executives and administrators who complete the survey will be provided with a complimentary copy of the results. Court executives and administrators who wish to complete the survey, but who have not yet done so, will receive one final email reminder to complete the anonymous questionnaire. 

Court Executive: “My Problem Became Their Problem”

By | Updates

RevolutionaryText recently sat down with a court executive to talk about her experience with RevoText more than a year after its installation. Perpetually a problem prior to RevoText’s arrival was locating court reporters, a problem that has evaporated with RevoText. “My problem became their problem,” said the executive. 

What should court systems know about RevoText’s product that might not be obvious to the uninitiated?

“Probably the piece that’s most impressive is there is a pool of court reporters—it’s not just a single court reporter—and an entirely team for transcript production. So the transcript turn-around time is really fast. I think that’s valuable for others to know.”

Talk about RevoText’s installation and integration process? How’d it go? What kinds of surprises were there, either good or bad?

“Once we established who was going to do what, RevoText or the court, then it was smooth. The people who installed the equipment were great and we worked closely with Gregg (Poss) from RevoText and the two teams worked together great, including from a troubleshooting perspective. They ran tests and there were no surprises. They worked very complementarily of each other.”

What types of unexpected benefits have there been with RevoText engaged?

“Something I hadn’t considered beforehand was that RevoText was going to enable us to fulfill an ADA request by allowing us to supply real time. We were able to hold the magistrate-level proceedings, which was where we had a person who had the ADA request, in the courtroom that RevoText serves and let that person receive proceedings using an iPad. That was an unexpected benefit.”

“But, really, what I like and what makes the system so great is that we always have access to a court reporter. Even the best in-person court reporter goes on vacation or has an illness once in a while and then we’d have to scramble to find another court reporter. That challenge doesn’t exist anymore for the courtroom where we have RevoText. RevoText takes care of it. My problem became their problem.”

What type of concerns were there about RevoText going in? And how, if at all, have those concerns been addressed?

“Internet connectivity was our biggest concern. I was concerned whether or not the connection would be good and I had this idea in my head that we‘d randomly lose the court reporter. That hasn’t been the case at all. We had one or two wrinkles to work out, but those were simple things. But certainly connectivity was my biggest fear going in.”

Looking back at your decision to go with RevoText, have you learned anything since you’ve engaged with the system that would have made your decision to go with them more straight forward?

“We had a person at the state level who brought the idea (of RevoText) to us and she did a great job of explaining what the system would be and it’s been exactly what she described. So, we got what we expected. There were no real surprises for me. We had the opportunity to have a demonstration as we were considering our options. We learned everything we needed to know about the system at that point.  We included our judges and the RevoText folks and they demonstrated the real-time feed on a big screen. That was helpful and fun to watch.”

Talk about any adjustments to the management of the record-making function.

“It’s as simple as it can be. The parties are given the RevoText email address. They contact RevoText on their own and RevoText turns around an electronic file. From that perspective, it really hasn’t changed.”

Who was most skeptical? What’s been their reaction to RevoText?

“There wasn’t a lot skepticism among our clerks and judges because they were all part of the demonstration beforehand. Overall we’ve been very pleased with the product and the service.”

How Courtroom Technology Must Be Like Air Traffic Control Systems

By | Updates

We sat down with an IT specialist who has worked in both federal and state courts to talk about the challenges of court technology who, among other things, is familiar with RevoText installations.

What are the biggest challenges facing courts when they adopt new technologies?

There are two main challenges. The first challenge is that you have to be 100 percent reliable. You can’t be 99 percent reliable or even 99.9 percent reliable. It has to be like an air traffic control system, which simply cannot fail.

The other challenge is that you don’t have highly trained, technical people in the courtroom. You have judges and clerks who are highly trained in their own fields, but they’re not, by definition, highly technical people. Why would they be? They’re not supposed to have that type of expertise. So, any system must be easy and understandable for the end user and viable for a non-technical user. On top of that, it needs to be affordable. That’s not an easy combination of requirements to meet. In that way, courtrooms will always be a challenge from a technology standpoint because you need a superior solution that will never fail, but that also won’t be a struggle for a non-technical person to interface with.

What’s the biggest reason a court should consider RevoText?

Today they are a valuable alternative to employee court reporters. One way or another, we have to pay someone to capture the record and we must have enough resources at our disposal for that purpose. When you hire RevoText, you transfer that responsibility to a highly capable consultant.

Another reason is that you’re not taking a risk with RevoText. It just works and it’s versatile. If you want court reporters, you have them. If you want to use digital audio or video, you can have that as well. You have all those options with one solution. You don’t need multiple vendors. And if you want to think down the road to AI, RevoText will be able to support that.

Plus, it’s scalable. It can be in one courtroom, two courtrooms, or many more than that. You have full scalability.

Court administrators put their names on the line with a new technology. Why shouldn’t they worry with RevoText?

Because RevoText is not an IT company; it’s a court-reporting administrator. It’s run by court administrators and court reporters, people who come from inside the business. These people understand the risks and requirements of working in a court environment. They know what it’s like to answer to judges, and what those risks entail. IT is a function that supports RevoText, but court administrators should take comfort that RevoText is not an IT company.

If that’s the case, why not worry about the technology if RevoText isn’t an IT company?

The RevoText CTO, Gregg Poss, worked for decades in an IT role for one of the largest court systems in the country. So they have plenty of IT expertise within, but they also just know how technology is consumed in courtrooms. They understand jury evidence, case management, and judicial applications. They’re IT people, but they’re not just IT people. They’re people who’ve been on the IT side of the equation in the courts.

RevoText often says that it will identify and fix problems before the courts even know there is a problem. How is that possible?

The answer is that redundancy is not an afterthought with RevoText; redundancy is incorporated from the ground up. That’s because everything must have redundancy. It has to be 100 percent reliable. Redundancy is built into the system. Think of air traffic control systems again. How do you rely on air traffic controllers to direct air traffic? The entire premise of flying on an airplane is based on the comfort that there can be no mistakes, ever. We build everything in pairs. Two Internet connections, two servers…we need a system that’s not just “good enough,” but a system that will not fail, ever, just like an air traffic control system.

What would you say to the IT person who is a skeptic that RevoText could be this good?

I would tell them I am in this same position as them and have sat in their chairs. RevoText understands how difficult their jobs are. They collaborate and cooperate but don’t try to take over. They’re in the business of making our lives better and easier.

It’s not too good to be true. Back to the air traffic control example. Is that too good to be true? It’s an old industry that has a system designed for an expressed purpose. Is it too much to believe that something can be perfect? The technology is mature enough for this to work. It’s like Netflix or Facebook or your Internet at home. You just know that when you turn it on, it will work. When you scan a credit card to buy gas at the gas station, you just know that it will work.

Some people might mistakenly think that the technology isn’t mature enough, but it is. Court administrators need to trust that their courtrooms are ready to accept the technology. And RevoText can make it work because they know the courtroom so well. Administrators don’t have to believe RevoText that it will work; they need to believe that their courtrooms are ready for it, which they no doubt are.

What’s the Key to Successful Technology Transitions?

By | Updates

Gregg Poss is RevoText’s Chief Technology Officer and previously served as Senior Associate Director and head of technology at one of the nation’s largest court systems in Washington, DC. Having worked on the client side and now on the service side, Gregg brings a unique perspective on the adoption of new technologies, what makes them most effective, and where court technology is headed in the years ahead.

As a court administrator, what were the common elements for successful transition to a new technology or system?

First of all, there must be buy-in at the executive level. The project must have this support as its foundation. Otherwise the people most impacted won’t get behind it, and those are the people doing the work. Those people need to be shown how a particular solution will make their lives easier. Listen, the adoption of any new technology is going to create some angst. You’re throwing hands full of dirt into the air, and it’s not until it all the dirt settles that the people who will be affected by the project can see the full benefit clearly.

Let’s turn that around. What were the danger signs that a new technology or system was going to go off the rails?

Success or failure begins with how the concept is presented to folks from the start. It sets the whole tone and expectation. If people don’t fully understand the project early in the process, when the slightest thing goes wrong, people get nervous. If people  think the system isn’t working correctly — a lot of court personnel are so accustomed to seeing things go wrong —  they get understandably agitated. There are certain things you’re testing out during the installation process that might look like something’s wrong, but sometimes it’s just a step in the process.

You hear a lot of people say that when you try to bend technology around existing systems, it inevitably fails; it’s when you change systems to adapt to technology that you succeed. In your experience, is this truer for court systems?

It’s absolutely truer for courts. I see problems when you try to blend an existing technology with a new technology. Courts tend to get used to a certain vendor and build relationships, and it’s difficult to change those relationships. I understand the caution. Court administrators are busy, and they can only pursue so many projects. They’re cautious because their names are on the line, but the more vendors that are involved, the more different technologies that are involved, the more complicated it becomes. When I was a court administrator, I learned over time that when I decided on a service or product, I had the vendor do everything. If they said buy this piece of equipment, that’s what I did. In the end, you end up with a much better product.

What’s it been like to be on the service side of installations with RevoText compared with being on the client side for so long?

You’re so much more in control when you’re on the client side. Having been on that side, I know how cynical and skeptical and doubtful people get listening to sales people and all the wonderful things they say about their products. You’re like, “I hear you, but what is the product actually going to do?”

I’m conscious of that, so I don’t over-inflate what our product can do. I rely on our track record and our clients. They’re all extremely satisfied with our product. We knew it would just work when we installed in our first courtroom and now that we’re in so many courts around the country, operating simultaneously, it’s become clear that the reliability that we took for granted actually is a differentiating characteristic. So, we don’t need to hype because it just works. It’s a game changer for some of these places. I know the cynicism that we face, but I know that we have a solid product that we can sell without over-hyping it.

How does installation and adoption of RevoText’s system compare with other systems you’ve seen installed and managed when you were a court administrator?

It’s funny, I understand the concerns about new systems and installations because as a court administrator, you’re conditioned to expect problems. It’s sometimes challenging to convince potential new clients how simple the installation and adoption of our service will be. We install over a weekend, and when it’s working on a Sunday night, it will be working on Monday morning. That’s it. But we have had clients bring the whole team into the courtroom for the Monday launch – the I.T. team, the Internet service provider, the telephone guy. Again, I understand the jitters, and I understand why the administrators question me when I say it just works. Then it does. It’s not complicated. When there aren’t a lot of moving parts, a lot less can go wrong.

What has been the most common misunderstanding about RevoText prior to courts’ engagement with your system and service?

There is so much worry that there will need to be a lot of training and support. How much will their I.T. folks need to be engaged? We’re cautious not to suggest that their I.T. people won’t be engaged at all and that they won’t have a say, but once things are running, they actually don’t need to be involved at all. We have redundancy if a PC goes down, if the Internet goes down, if there’s a problem at the remote reporter’s location. Those problems rarely happen, but when they do, we fix them before there’s ever an issue. Over the past five years, across multiple courtrooms, I’ve probably had to ask someone on site to do something for me on the technology side a total of five times. And that literally was asking them to unplug a component and plug it back in. So there’s no reason for training. We give them a URL, a username and a password. Then they just hand a smart device off to the judge, and voila! the real-time appears.

It seems like the biggest concern that most court administrators have about RevoText is Internet connectivity. Talk about how you prevent that from being a problem.

I’ll be honest.  A few years ago, we worried if we were in a rural area and needed to rely on a 10- to 15-megabyte line, we might be challenged, but we’ve gotten our system down to using two megabytes and that’s really low bandwidth. When people hear “audio and video,” they think that it will take so much bandwidth, but it doesn’t. We did have a problem issue in one installation where we were using satellite Internet, and the dish was situated on the sheriff’s office roof. Someone planted a tree that interfered with the signal. But we worked that out quickly…without chopping down the tree.

What technological changes do you see coming for courts over the next several years?

Audio/video bridge is pretty new and there’s a tug of war going on, taking analog signals and converting them to digital at the source. Once everything gets digitized, it makes it much easier to manage, and manage it remotely. And that’s not just audio and video, but LCD projectors for evidence presentation. It allows courts to manage videoconferencing. It allows courts to pull different systems into one network and manage it much more easily. We installed our first AVB mixer recently, and it allows us to just plug it into the telephone line, and then once  it is digitized, it’s easy to push that phone call to this speaker or mute it. AVB is starting to break out and become standard.

When Putting Your Name on the Line Pays Dividends

By | Updates

What’s it like to go to your municipality with an idea that will rely on technology to bring remote court reporters to a courtroom? We talked with a court administrator about the full experience of procuring, installing, and operating with a RevoText system. “It’s like having a real court reporter,” said the court administrator. You know why? Because it IS having a real court reporter.

If you knew of a court administrator who was thinking about RevoText compared with other options to capture the record, what would you tell that person?

“I’d tell them to choose RevoText. It’s more reliable than digital audio and, just to be clear, we use both. I don’t have mechanical failures with RevoText. I don’t have times when I don’t have a transcript that can’t be produced. It’s like having a real court reporter.”

Tell me about your biggest surprise with RevoText?

“Probably that it works so well out here in a rural area.”

Talk to me about how RevoText compares with any previous system you’ve used to capture the record.

“At one time we had court reporters in person but we haven’t been able to hire any. So, typically, without a court reporter, we defaulted to digital audio recording. RevoText is more reliable because it’s an actual person. A lot of times with digital audio, we don’t find out that we don’t have a usable recording until later and then you have to redo the hearing.”

What do you see as the biggest challenges in introducing a new technology or a new vendor to a courtroom?  

“There are a lot of roadblocks in government. There is so much red tape. There are so many people whose approvals and commitments you need. The whole process is difficult, getting everyone on board. Human nature is that people want to talk about the reasons something won’t work.”

RevoText likes to position itself as operating independently from the court system’s I.T. platform. To what degree has that been the experience for you?

“That’s all we’ve ever experienced. They use our microphones, but, other than that, it’s completely independent.”

What were your biggest concerns about RevoText as you went through the procurement process?

“Obviously I had concerns because it was my name on the line and we were putting money into it. I was pretty certain it would work, but in our rural area, we had worries about Internet services that were available. I thought that would be the biggest obstacle with RevoText. But that’s been way better than expected.”

Who had the most to say about it as you went through the procurement process?

“Probably I.T. They just had concerns about the security of it and the protection of the record. Our I.T. people had understandable questions about opening ourselves up to trouble. How will it interface with our network? How secure is the system? And the answers were that it wouldn’t interface with our network at all and that it’s totally secure.”

What’s been the I.T. personnel’s reaction with RevoText in operation?

“Most people are pleasantly surprised and I actually have full support from I.T. Overall, they’ve come around now that they see how it works.”

Have there been any unexpected benefits or beneficiaries of RevoText?

“Our legal research attorney and clerks of court have benefited. What they really like is the rough draft we get. We get orders out quicker and the judges really benefit from that. The rough draft piece, that provided a lot of benefits that we didn’t understand we would be getting at the beginning.”

Talk to me about how the production of transcripts has changed with RevoText.

“We still use digital recording as well. For the transcript, we get the real time all the time, which is a huge benefit. We get that rough draft, which we never had before. And we also have really quick transcript turnaround. Our court reporters were always asking for extensions. I don’t have that problem with RevoText. They have the ability to get it done more timely than staff reporters or transcriptionists with digital audio.”

Looking back, what was the biggest challenge? How, if at all, did you overcome that challenge?

“The biggest challenge was having to put my neck on the line. If it failed, it was on me. I was prepared to take the full responsibility, but I couldn’t ignore something that could be a really great thing. It’s just the fear factor sometimes. My chief judge backed me up. I had that, but getting the state-level people on board, that was really hard.”

Court Administrator Describes Being a RevoText Early Adopter

By | Updates

Being an early adopter of a new technology can be a lonely place. We recently talked with a court administrator whose court system was one of the first to install RevoText. Slowing cost increases, a simple installation, and having a predictable supply of court reporters to fill the unpredictable demands of court are cited as major benefits. Oh, and everyone loves the real time.

What was the problem you were trying to solve when you were looking at RevoText as a solution?

“My problem was pretty simple. The rules and statutes required me to use court reporters and I just couldn’t find reporters to work here. It’s something I know that NCRA has studied and verified the continual shortage that we were experiencing. I was stumped what to do about that.

“Another problem we have is that our need for capturing the record can be unpredictable. You might have a slow period and then get slammed and need three court reporters one day and have only 72 hours of notice. One of the things that was a big deal with RevoText is predictability. I’m able to know that I’ll have an available supply of court reporters to serve the needs of the court, which are inherently unpredictable. You don’t have to juggle resources and cross your fingers. It’s an enormous savings of time and stress.”

What do you think court systems should know about RevoText’s product that might not be obvious to the uninitiated?

“What I would emphasize is that the remote court reporter will give you the same level of quality that you’d get with the court reporter in the courtroom. There’s no drop-off whatsoever. The analogy I like to make is that if you go shopping in a grocery store and you look at a shelf and you see packages of Twinkies. If that Twinkie on the top shelf is a court reporter in your courtroom and that Twinkie on the bottom shelf is a remote court reporter, those two Twinkies are the exactly the same. The biggest difference for the court administrator is that you’re eliminating the major headache of ensuring that you always have a court reporter available.”

Talk about the installation and integration process. How’d it go? What kinds of surprises were there, either good or bad?

“I didn’t have any surprises of any kind. And the way RevoText operates, I don’t think anyone else will either. We had an existing system that had a lot of microphones and sound in our courtroom. It was pretty simple to piggy back off what was there. The integration was very, very simple. It wasn’t a complicated thing. We even had one crazy, old courthouse and we had zero problems there. In our newer courthouse, it was even simpler, a quick turn.

“Courtrooms are busy places, so getting access for contractors to do installations can be a significant obstacle. But the RevoText installation can take place over a weekend when the courtrooms are empty. For other types of upgrades, it takes a week. It was way easier than other installations I’ve gone through.”

What types of unexpected benefits have there been with RevoText engaged?

“I’m glad you brought that up. An unexpected benefit, not for the court administrator necessarily, but the judicial officer deals with dependency cases and you have to have written orders. What she loves is the real-time feed. She can spend a lot more time watching the demeanors of the parties and the attorneys, which is particularly important in these cases. She can observe a lot more of what’s going on in the court, stuff that you need to see with your eyes. She doesn’t have to do as much note-taking and taking under advisements. She can just watch and observe, which makes RevoText a very useful tool.

“Also, I’ve had a number of judges who come into town because of conflicts on cases, judges from other jurisdictions. There’s no training time with RevoText. The judge sits on the bench and away you go. There are no delays. It’s sit and forget. That’s the beatify of this product. These are key things. It’s no different than if the court reporter is actually sitting in the courtroom. Except that I haven’t had one RevoText reporter request an ergonomic chair.”

What type of concerns were there about RevoText going in? And how, if at all, have those concerns been addressed?

“I think the concerns I had going in, one maybe there wouldn’t be judicial acceptance. That didn’t happen. Another concern I had was that RevoText wasn’t in wide use in other court systems yet. I couldn’t call a buddy up the road and see it in use, but that won’t be a concern for others because now you can go see that it’s for real.

“There are some concerns with any new technology. Would it fail? We found out that it wouldn’t. If there are interruptions to the Internet connection, which there really aren’t, there’s redundancy built in and they just reboot the server before you ever know what happened. Within a few weeks, we realized this was a reliable system that we didn’t have to think twice about.

“That said, I did stumble upon a secret, which is to call the implementation a ‘pilot program.’ A pilot seems less daunting and you can just turn it off if it doesn’t meet your expectations, right? But the reality is that once RevoText was up and running, no one wanted to turn it off.”

Looking back at your decision to go with RevoText, have you learned anything since you’ve engaged with the system that would have made your decision to go with them more straight forward?

“Again, I think the only real trepidation internally was that so few court systems had real experience with RevoText when we were looking at it, but that’s no longer an issue for new adopters. The value of the real-time feed and the transcripts, I didn’t realize the judicial officers would value those so highly. I didn’t realize everything would be so simple for the user. I didn’t understand fully how simple it was going to be.”

What other types of products did you look at?

“We already had digital audio and we used that when reporters weren’t available. Anything mandated by statute, we would use reporters. We’re trying to maintain a hybrid model, but we still have the digital.

“The remote reporting is a fabulous. Compared to digital audio, it does everything that digital audio is capable of and then a whole lot more. The digital audio feed is available through RevoText should I want it. The quality is extremely good. They use high-quality cameras and the fidelity of the audio is awesome. It offers a (heck) of a lot more than regular digital audio. Unless you have really high-end digital audio, it won’t come close to what RevoText is offering.”

Talk to me about adjustments to the management of record-making function.

“There wasn’t anything to adjust to. It was straight forward. We were ordering transcripts right away and never had a problem. You just order the transcript and it appears.”

How about cost? How’s it related to what you’ve paid previously for making the record? And how did it compare with to your expectations going in?

“Overall, I think the costs are roughly comparable to using a staff reporter. That’s good from my perspective. One of the things you get worried about in a small area, if you don’t have a consistent supply of reporters, you can be held hostage when there is a shortage and you have to recruit court reporters from other areas. You have stability in your costs and your budgeting, which is helpful when you go to your funding bodies. Showing a predictable cost model is helpful. I slowed down a cost increase going forward. That’s what I promised them and that’s what I delivered. I eliminated the surprise factor.”

Who had influence over the decision to go with RevoText in your court system? What was important to them?

“Certainly we did a presentation among the bench. The way the statutes are written, we had to find someone to do the court reporting. Some judges weren’t persuaded that we had a court reporter shortage problem. My presiding judge, I told him this was worth looking at. I then found another judge who became a champion. It was a smart thing is to call it a pilot. It’s a lot less scary to call it a pilot. Again, the truth is it that was so (darn) good no one wanted to turn it off.”

Who was most skeptical? What’s been their reaction to RevoText?

“I had a couple of judges who felt it couldn’t be done. And certainly the court reporters weren’t that happy in the beginning. We made a promise to the existing court reporters that there was plenty of work and no one would lose their jobs. We kept that promise. Anyone who has seen the product likes it, even the reporters. Generally, people understand that the product produces. In fact, the court reporters ending up liking it as much as anyone because we were having to work them to death. Giving them a day or two out of court each week is really helpful.”

Gold Standard Need not Be Compromised for Price

By | Updates

By Reesa Parker

The meme goes something like this: “Quality. Speed. Price. Pick any two.”

It’s an interesting contradiction in today’s world where technology continues to bring efficiencies and economies of scale to businesses across almost every vertical market. Every consumer now is equipped with almost an infinite capability to find a product or service, compare it to other marketplace options, buy it at the best possible price, and then see it delivered or installed TOMORROW.

Any retail business that is not looking at Amazon and the manner in which it can and will transform their business models will be obsolete within ten years. Think about how Napster and iTunes transformed the music industry, what Netflix did to video entertainment, and how the Internet generally altered the way we consume news and information.

Court systems and the legal industry of course are not immune to the pressure and change that is compelled by technology. But the wheels of change do sometimes move at a glacial pace when governments and its layers of bureaucracy are involved. And the well-worn stories of government waste – from $500 toilet seats to $500 million I.T. failures – understandably instill a degree of cynicism and protectionism in those responsible for procurement.

When a solution appears that seems too good to be true, the understandable reaction is that it must be too good to be true.

We bump into this perspective all the time at RevolutionaryText. Two things are indisputable: 1) The gold standard for creating a verbatim transcript of legal proceedings is the real-time court reporter; and 2) The nationwide shortage of court reporters has made it difficult, even impossible for courts to access that gold standard.

Now, here is what seems on the surface too good to be true for court systems.

RevolutionaryText has built a system that puts remote-based, real-time-capable, stenographic court reporters in your courtroom. We can do so quickly and at a price point that will save taxpayers’ money.

I could go on about the quality of our transcripts, the 24/7 availability of our court reporters, and the lightning-fast turnaround of transcripts made possible with our streamlined production process, but the first thing we need to get past is this: Just like with Amazon. You CAN have it all – quality, speed, and affordability.

When the IT Guys Break Into Their Happy Dance

By | Updates

By Gregg Poss

I get it.

For years, I served as the senior associate director for the Washington, DC Superior Courts. With proceedings taking place simultaneously in scores of courtrooms, I straddled two functions within a delicate eco-system – information technology and capturing the record. I’ve witnessed the ugly collisions that take place at that intersection.

That’s why I understand the trepidation of I.T. personnel when someone arrives with claims of a revolutionary technology. They’re suspicious at best, and often resolute in their certainty that we are exaggerating with our claims that we can operate a remote court reporting solution that has zero reliance on their I.T. infrastructure.

They worry about interference with their I.T. systems. But we don’t want or need to use those systems.

They loathe the idea of needing to provide technical support to a system that is not their own. But no such support is required.

And then they jump to concern about security, quality control, and who will monitor the system. And we tell them – and demonstrate – that RevolutionaryText provides end-to-end quality assurance and all within an encrypted, continually (real-time) monitored system with built-in redundancy to prevent hiccups from becoming catastrophes.

They’re still skeptical.

We do more demonstrations. We let them talk with administrators and I.T. personnel where RevolutionaryText is installed. They ask pointed questions. They get answers.

At some point, it sinks in. This is the optimal solution that is different than anything else they’ve ever seen. Remote court reporters working and operating through technology that is independent of their network at a cost that is way less than they could have dreamed.

That’s when it happens. That’s when the I.T. guys do break into their happy dance.