Higashi Kagura Town Hall improves AI voice recognition and transcription with better sound through MXCW & MXW
Higashi Kagura Town in Hokkaido, Japan, celebrated its 130th anniversary in 2023. It is considered the gateway to northern Hokkaido and has long been known as “flower town” thanks to its colorful flower festivals each year. The town is also popular for natural hot springs and outdoor activities in the surrounding forest parks, and it is one of Hokkaido's leading producing areas for rice and vegetables.
Like many small- and mid-sized local governments, Higashi Kagura Town is struggling with human resource shortages and limited budgets. As it seeks to reform its administrative operations, the town is working on several measures to improve efficiencies. The mayor is a strong proponent of digital transformation (DX) and utilization of advanced technologies to allow employees to focus on the most productive tasks.
The town wanted to reduce the burden of creating minutes for town councils and committees. Previously, meeting audio was recorded using an IC recorder and then manually transcribed. To speed up and simplify this demanding process, the town trialed AI voice recognition, however the quality of recordings was too poor to obtain sufficient recognition accuracy.
The Legal Information Services team determined that the microphone system had to be updated. Rather than simply refreshing the permanently installed system, Higashi Kagura Town aimed for an upgrade that would support their DX ambitions. The new solution had to be adaptable for use in a variety of ways and locations, including outside of the town council, which made portability a key condition.
System integrator Sapporo Transistor implemented a multi-system solution consisting of the Microflex Complete Wireless (MXCW) Conference System and Microflex Wireless (MXW) Microphone System. Both systems can be used individually or combined to suit the town’s conference needs. Additionally, the IntelliMix P300 Audio Conferencing Processor enhances digital audio inputs and is further connected to a tablet which runs a voice recognition app in real time. All Shure equipment is stored in movable racks so it can be easily moved to other rooms or buildings if and when needed.
In typical town hall meetings, MXCW640 Conference Units are placed at the seats of council members and chairperson. MXW8 Wireless Gooseneck Microphones are provided to other participants who are answering questions during proceedings, allowing them to speak freely without having to pass around handheld microphones.
MXCW has been well-received by all users. Even participants without training or knowledge of the system find the “speak” button simple and intuitive, and the built-in loudspeaker allows them to clearly hear the voices of other speakers.
The superior Microflex microphones have been highly effective in clearly capturing all talkers, and the IntelliMix DSP further helps to adjust for the varying volume and intonation of speakers. Previously, less than half of the data recorded was correctly recognized and transcribed by the AI software. By switching to Shure, voice recognition accuracy has improved to up to 80% and staff now only have to make minor corrections in transcripts.
For administrative staff, preparation work is now also minimal: they can quickly move and set up the necessary equipment in different spaces without detailed training or manuals. Staff only have to take the conference units or wireless microphones from the storage rack, insert the rechargeable battery in the MXCW640 units (if used), and place the units at each seat.
Shure's conference system has extremely high audio quality and has greatly reduced the burden of creating minutes. We want our staff to utilize this system in various ways and connect it to further improve DX .
Yuto Fukada, Chief of Legal Information Section, General Affairs Division, Higashi Kagura Town
|MXCW640||23||Wireless Conference Unit for Microflex Complete Wireless conference system. Configurable as Chairman, Delegate, Listener, or Ambient Microphone unit.|
|MXW8||13||MXW8 is compatible with 5", 10", and 15" Microflex® gooseneck microphones.|
|MXWAPT8||2||The eight-channel MXWAPT8 uses automated frequency coordination to assign clean frequencies to wireless microphone transmitters.|
|IntelliMix P300||3||Don’t let echo, noise, or distortion take over the meeting. The IntelliMix® P300 digital signal processor enhances every aspect of conference audio.|
|MXW2/SM58||2||With an interchangeable SM58® microphone cartridge, MXW2/SM58 features dual transmit antennas that maximize transmission strength based on the user’s hand placement.|