City of London at night
City of London ready for Olympic Business Deals (Pic. londonview.com)

Mayor of London Boris Johnson today welcomed the opening of the London Media Centre (LMC), which will host over 6,200 accredited and non-accredited journalists from 832 media organisations from around the world during this summer’s London 2012 Olympics.  The centre will be a home to journalists visiting London to capture the numerous business deals that are likely to be signed during the Olympics.

While journalists covering the sporting events will be based at The International Broadcast Centre within The Olympic Park, non-sporting international reporters and bloggers from 66 countries visiting London during the Olympics will have access to a state of the art media centre in the heart of Westminster.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: ‘This will be a summer like no other, presenting an unparalleled opportunity for London to show off its wares to a global audience of billions. An inquisitive army of reporters, camera crews and photographers are migrating to our city to see not only sporting history in the making, but everything that makes a host city tick. From the iconic to the little known, we want these media professionals to be offered an unparalleled experience of the capital and a smorgasbord of great stories. This will ensure that future tourists and businesses get a taste of why London is the best place in the world to visit and invest in for years to come.’

London hopes that this summer’s Olympics will also provide a marathon of deals that will showcase the city as a creative business-friendly destination.

The capital will not just see an influx of journalists from around the world, but of public relations practitioners who will be managing the communications for clients and employers alike during the games.

UK Trade and Investment recently stated that the games could see a boost to UK Plc worth £13bn over the next four years. But this figure might not include the deals that will be sealed during the games and will act as a tonic during the current global business malaise.

With under 20 days left until the opening ceremony, it will be the business pages that will be worth looking through during the #London2012 games.

The BBC launched its much-anticipated ‘Democracy Live’ online service on Friday. Offering ‘live and video on demand video coverage of the UK’s national political institutions and the European Parliament’, the site brings politics to the public. Giving people insight into government and how our elected representatives and institutions work.

It was two years ago when the corporation’s Director General Mark Thompson gave a speech at Westminster on trust, politics and broadcasting where he outlined his view on how the BBC could help make politics more relevant to every citizen in this country.

At the time Thomson said, “We want to take our coverage of Westminster, the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly, the Northern Ireland Assembly, the European Parliament, as well as local councils up and down the land and turn them into the most engaging, the most creative multimedia portal for democracy in the world, using BBC Parliament and our other television, networks, radio, the web and mobile. Since then MPs and news outlets have come under more scrutiny than ever before.

In his speech Thompson added, “Direct access to information about your MP or representative: how they vote, what they stand for, how you can contact them. Survival guides and in-depth analysis of current debates and current legislation. Easy ways, for anyone who wants to, to plug into and take part in the debate. And all of it available to every secondary school in the UK as part of a strengthened commitment by BBC Learning to supporting citizenship and modern media literacy.”

I understand that the BBC has invested between £1-£1.5 million on Democracy Live, with the most significant cost being the 11 members of staff focused on the site.

Up and until the launch accessing such information and real-time feeds were available through either the Parliament site or through paid-for services such as those offered by companies such as DeHavilland.

What will make Democracy Live work is the use of speech-to-text recognition software offered by Blinkx. It is understood that Blinkx will the use both the phonetic and text transcripts to create transcripts and meta-tags that can be added to each video.  Blinkx also has a speech to text success rate of over 80 per cent, which is expected to increase as the site and video services beds in.

I also gather that the beta’s of the site that were presented to politicians during conference season were well received.

So, politics through the BBC, scrutiny of politicians and their decision-making though the BBC.