Peer review: RCF Forum 9000

The RCF Forum 9000 Digital Conference and Voting System is the flagship of the Forum Delegate, Discussion and Simultaneous Translation systems, which also includes the Forum 6000 and Forum 2000. Collectively they are known as ‘The Congress Solution’.

Where do you use the Forum 9000?

In council chambers and chambers of congress requiring a sophisticated solution, with an electronic voting system that will identify the voter’s eligibility, and automatic camera tracking control.

What do you like about it?

The Forum 9000 came out at a time when we were being challenged by councils wanting much more sophisticated systems, such as electronic voting, but with intuitive software that would enable the system to be operated by unskilled personnel.

Although the system complies with the IEC 60914 standard we like the way RCF have offered some optional modifications to suit the individual requirements of the councils. For instance RCF have rewritten special software to enable the Queuing System to be breached if there is a point of order and widened the scope of the camera system protocols to make it more compatible.

The ease of set up and the fact that the software is very friendly and user-configurable, with easy to recognise icons, is a further factor. The intelligibility is impressive (in fact the system can be connected to an external PA and relayed to other sites). Finally, with the Forum 9000 you don’t need to have separate Chairman, Secretary or Delegate units, as any one of these functions can be programmed into the same console. If the need arises to replace a console it’s simply a programming issue.

In short, this is a fully featured piece of kit, which is very cost-effective, as you can activate all the add-ons with nothing more than minimal expenditure. RCF’s engineers have always been prepared to work closely with us to provide solutions.

What we would change

Well RCF would wipe the floor if they had a radio version with the same functionality. But it’s more a question of what else we would like to see. We had requested a modular, flush-mount version (for fitting into cinema seats etc) — but RCF have now come up with this. Whenever we have offered suggestions in the past RCF have acted on this immediately, generally responding by return.

In Use

The intuitiveness of the software is demonstrated at the Welsh Assembly Education Centre where the voting/interpretation system at the old council chamber is used every day by junior school kids — helping them to debate in English and Welsh, and generally familiarise themselves with the democratic process at an early age. They had no trouble using it five days a week and the system has proved to be virtually indestructible! Another slightly offbeat application is at the University of Ireland School of Interpretation in Galway where they are training candidates for the European Parliament — in Gaelic.

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