Simon Lindgren, IT Strategist at Södertälje kommun, one of 290 municipalities in Sweden, is no stranger to using video meetings as a way of expanding support and services to individuals and to make the municipality work more efficiently. In 2018, Simon started investigating the possibilities of using video meetings with external healthcare providers, family homes, guardians and institutions, as well as directly with clients. In these meetings, highly confidential and very sensitive information is often discussed, so security and privacy have become increasingly important.
The meetings would include members from various external organisations and institutions, and in some instances also clients. It’s often the municipalities’ representatives who have to travel to, for example, external hospitals or other care providers, so potentially video meetings could save considerable travel time for the municipality employees. However, it was crucial that the security of the video meeting solution could be trusted.
There’s been an increased focus on tougher demands for security and privacy in the public sector in recent years and today public sector organisations are no longer permitted to use cloud-based solutions from countries outside of the EU. Advanced encryption and strong authentication via electronic identification such as BankID or SITHS, are now also required. All this disqualified many of the usual consumer-focused video conference solutions on the market.
The municipality initially turned to Inera, a company owned by Sweden’s municipalities and regions, working to simplify sourcing of digitalisation solutions. Inera already had a frame agreement in place with Compodium, but as the agreement at the time didn’t include authentication, which was very important to Södertälje municipality, Simon turned directly to Compodium. The frame agreement has subsequently been updated so it now also includes authentication.
Compodium’s solution was implemented in the autumn of 2019 and in the initial set-up, the municipality trained meeting hosts for 5 virtual meeting rooms.
When the Covid-19 pandemic escalated in the spring of 2020, the demand for video conferencing exploded and Simon realised he had to increase the number of meeting rooms. Use of these rooms has tripled since the solution was implemented. Today, there are 17 meeting rooms which can all be used simultaneously. The rooms are divided across Individual and Family Care/Children and Teenagers, Individual and Family Care/Work and Provision, Individual and Family Care/Adult Abuse and Social Mental Health, the Authority for Care of the Elderly and Disabled, and Student Health. The number of meeting hosts has also increased substantially, to 430.
“Compodium managed the very fast expansion during the Spring quickly and easily, and new meeting rooms were delivered the following working day,” explains Simon.
Compodiums’ service-based digital meetings can be used in three ways; via a web interface, a Windows client or a smartphone app for Android and iOS. There is no need for additional equipment because a computer with a camera, a tablet or smartphone works fine. This makes it really easy to begin and means that employees can use the solution remotely, so they’re not tied to the office.
Each meeting room has a host who will call participants into the room after they’ve logged in from the meeting room lobby.
The high level of security and authentication means that employees, external parties and clients can be confident that their meetings are confidential and can only be reached by authorised participants.
The municipality’s video meeting users have saved considerable time by not having to travel to meetings, time that instead can be used to provide increased support and service to individuals. Management are seeing great possibilities with this new technology, and they are very supportive of its future use.
And there are other advantages with video meetings as they can sometimes be more focused than face-to-face meetings, taking less time with discussions staying on point. They can also act as a complement to physical meetings and offer additional follow-up and support for individual clients.
“It was really good that we already had the solution established when Covid-19 struck. It made it easier for our operations to keep up continuity in the contact with clients and the support network around them. Virtual meetings have also helped our internal communication,” Simon said.
Simon concluded: “By using Compodium’s video meeting solution we can be sure that we comply with existing regulations and follow guidelines for managing confidential and private information. The fact the solution also saves us time and money and is simple to use, is extremely positive.”