As David Attenborough warned earlier this year, our climate is in danger and the need to take action has never been more urgent.
Data shows the amount of carbon dioxide that has built up in our atmosphere – due to burning coal, gas and oil since the 19th century – is probably more than in the past three million years combined, becoming the highest it’s ever been in human history.
Recent research by the Carbon Trust reveals that almost three quarters (74%) of organisations expect their environmental priorities to become more important next year. Nearly two thirds (63%) of businesses are also planning to increase their sustainability budgets in 2021 as a result of the pandemic.
The end of the year is approaching and at Compodium we’re already planning for 2021. Equipping organisations to fulfil their sustainability priorities is central to our company’s values and purpose.
Our secure, authenticated video communication platform, Vidicue is helping our customers to reach their environmental commitments. In addition, research showsremote working, supported by the use of video communication technology, raises productivity and improves people’s work-life balance by reducing their need to commute.
The associated benefits of fewer traffic jams, particulate and carbon emissions are tangible progress towards a greener, cleaner future for all – especially for our children and future generations.
I hope that over the coming months we can take our learnings from this unprecedented time and use them as a force for good.
Wednesday 16th October marked the launch of our Vidicue platform. Since then, demand has been accelerating at a rate far faster than anything we at Compodium had anticipated.
Putting it into context, we know the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way we communicate, with research by Ofcomshowing that adults are now spending over four hours per day online. And during lockdown, the number of people making video calls doubled.
Research by Forbes shows us organisations are becoming increasingly aware of the value video communication brings to colleagues, as they become more dispersed and in-person interactions increasingly less practical.
Security concerns go hand in hand with video communications, particularly where children are involved, which is why more and more people are turning to Vidicue to solve this issue for them.
Our Vidicue platform is highly secure, as all users have to authenticate before they’re admitted to a meeting, providing a double layer of trust.
Our partners are finding that more and more customers are requesting Vidicue’s military grade security level to protect users and organisations. In fact, Ofcom’s research found that nearly two thirds (57%) of adults support improved regulation of video-sharing platforms.
Vidicue’s inbuilt security features mitigate the potential for data and GDPR breaches, bringing reassurance to organisations and their employees.
I think that explains why we’re seeing such an upsurge in interest for Vidicue. So far, our customers are delighted with the service they’re receiving from Compodium, particularly the customisable and scalable nature of our solution.
As we head into the winter, we’re envisaging that changes to our ways of working will become more embedded, with many people continuing to work remotely.
With Vidicue, we’re continuing to drive innovation to bring our customers cutting-edge technology, highly secure with an optimised excellent user experience.
It’s incredible to think the earliest ideas about transmitting an image at the same time as audio began as long ago as the 1870s, when Queen Victoria was still on the throne.
The technology to take things to the next level hadn’t been invented then, although the first telephone was patented in the US in 1876.
It wasn’t until the early 1900s that the first video camera was invented by John Logie Baird. Video cameras didn’t really catch on until the 1970s, quite a long time after the Bell’s Lab video phone was developed in the late 1920s.
So, it’s not surprising that the word ‘video’ didn’t evolve until 1935, and people didn’t start using the phrase ‘video phone’ until the 1950s.
Much of the technology that was being developed during the majority of the 20th century was funnelled into analogue television.
It took until the 1980s for video communications to gather momentum, when transmitting video images became possible over analogue phone lines, although at that time it was extremely costly.
How digital changed everything
The switch from analogue to digital marked a significant change in the world of video communications.
Compodium launched during that period, in 1997, when we began by helping people to connect with one another via telephone lines. Compodium were delivering pioneering services such as bringing people together from different parts of the world for remote conferences.
Back then though, the concept of secure and authenticated video communications wasn’t even on the radar. Compodium’s first Vidicue platform was launched from 2010.
The challenge of video has always been the amount of data needing to be transmitted as it’s far more than with an audio call. High definition video calls need almost 11 MB per minute, which is much easier to service today with superfast fibre network connections.
At Compodium, the quality and stability of the images we’re transmitting is very important because we know that regulated industries such as healthcare professionals rely on them to make diagnoses and treatment decisions.
Hand on heart, it makes me feel so privileged to know that some people are using our platform to save lives every day. There’s no greater honour than that.
Today we’re in a global video communications revolution, with demand booming as people are becoming more aware of what the technology can do for them and their business.
As we launched our new Vidicue platform in October 2020, we’re feeling excited as a company about the benefits this will bring to our customers. As we seamlessly migrate our existing customers onto the new platform, they’ll experience even better stability and quality, with all the military-grade security features that already provide so much value.
Over time, we’ll be introducing other innovative features to give our customers superior functionalities, surpassing their expectations.
We’ve also recently welcomed our new CEO Charlotte Berg, an accomplished leader who’s bringing her charisma, expertise, global network, thought leadership and professionalism to drive Compodium to the next level.
We’ll be taking forward our global expansion plans and moving into new markets as more and more businesses see the value that Vidicue brings.
There may be many motivations for someone planning to carry out a cyber crime… or maybe none at all. Where opportunity exists, so does risk. And with it, the need for protection. Amit Walia, Chief Revenue Officer at Compodium, explains why no suits of armour are needed with Vidicue’s high level security.
Amit, how secure is Vidicue?
Our security on the Vidicue platform is military grade, catering for all regulated industries that seek trusted communications.
We have inbuilt cyber security features including end-to-end encryption, in-house data management and unique virtual meeting rooms.
Our software is built around Compodium’s own algorithms, designed by our technical team in Sweden using our own source codes.
With all of these features in place, customers are protected against any potential cyber-attack – no suits of armour required.
How reliable is Vidicue?
All our customers across any sector can rely entirely on our Vidicue platform to keep their video communications safe, with positive user experiences.
In the last few months across the world there’s been an explosion of virtual communications. People are talking to one another more than ever, using a whole range of different platforms.
I’m not here to compare platforms, but what I can say is this: Compodium’s entirely different to anything I’ve been involved with before, even having been in the industry for over twenty years.
Is that what made you join the company?
I joined as an advisor and investor and then took to the operational business leading worldwide sales and marketing because I was drawn to the company’s unique value proposition, the team and the platform.
We’re very close, there’s no hierarchy or individual glory. I know I couldn’t be successful in what I do without the team who work alongside me.
I enjoy being part of a global team and staying in touch is easy because we use our own technology.
Whether I’m talking to prospective customers or working with the team regarding on-going projects, every day is different and I’m genuinely proud of the benefits our Vidicue platform creates.
Vidicue safeguards users against unauthorised people accessing meetings by requiring them to verify the identities of all participants. This is especially important when there are children involved – parents and teachers need to be able to trust that their children are not at risk of being exposed to inappropriate material via third parties.
Healthcare professionals in different locations are using Vidicue to make urgent life or death decisions when every moment matters. In situations like these, there isn’t time for a patient to be waiting for a specialist to visit, they need to know there and then what to do to save that person’s life.
Knowing Vidicue is helping to save lives is an amazing feeling.
Who are your customers?
Vidicue is a solution for all regulated industries, such as finance and healthcare as well as Government and Enterprise.
Our platform is customisable because it’s modular and suits a wide range of customers. From the outset, we treat everyone as an individual and work with them to create the most appropriate solution for them.
We’re motivated by providing the right solution for each customer and their particular industry. What works for a community healthcare provider, for example, may not be suitable for a firm of accountants or Government officials.
We value our customers’ loyalty too, making sure we look after them with our suite of global logistics hubs. We have a 24/7 technical helpdesk available, giving customers access to over 400 engineers globally, covering 9 different languages.
Compodium have an extensive portfolio which includes Connected Events, Web Casting and Video Conferencing Professional Services.
We want our customers to expect value for money but most importantly we deliver an optimised service from the global team at Compodium.
Our customers tell us they enjoy the peace of mind that our identity verification process gives them. It ultimately provides reassurance from a data privacy perspective, addressing key points such as GDPR and complete data protection.
Underneath, there’s a web of complexity – processes, a network and data – but to our customers it simply works.
With such a broad reach, you must value diversity?
Diversity brings different people, experiences and ways of thinking into the mix, enriching our lives and sparking creative and innovative thinking.
We’re fully committed to equality and diversity within the company, bringing in new colleagues with fresh ideas and expertise to lead us into new markets.
We’re proud of our recent appointment, Charlotte Berg as our CEO. She brings a new approach to Compodium, with thought leadership and the strategic vision for accelerating global growth.
We’re also expanding our global salesforce and we were delighted that Anette Ericsson joined us as Head of Marketing earlier this year. The marketing team has subsequently grown under Anette’s stewardship and is operational in Sweden and the United Kingdom.
What’s your strategy for the rest of 2020 and beyond?
Building our affiliations with the United Nations, addressing key topics such as sustainability, climate control and working with regulated industries.
We’re going through a significant period of growth, expanding into Europe, the Middle East and Africa as well as Asia and the Pacific.
Our innovative technology is cutting edge but what really sets us apart is the way we look after our customers.
At a time of universal upheaval, we’re working harder than ever to provide our customers with reliable, secure services while surpassing their expectations.
Finding harmony between the different aspects of life is central to our happiness and wellbeing.
Sadly we’re still living with uncertainty, so prioritising wellbeing is more important than ever to avoid burnout, a state of exhaustion that the WHO recognised as an ‘occupational phenomenon’ in 2019.
The Covid-19 pandemic has led to many people working remotely and relying on video communication platforms to keep in touch with their colleagues.
Openness and honesty about the challenges and joys this brings are essential. It’s important to recognise that people are often balancing work with parenting or caring commitments.
Home-working has become a familiar and relatable situation, often injecting humour into our days, with pets and children making guest appearances or a knock at the door mid-meeting.
In many ways, our working lives have become more informal and personable, which I think is a positive change as it’s helping to break down barriers.
With social distancing requirements likely to be with us for the foreseeable future, it’s important that we continue using video communication technology to make our lives easier.
Video calls give people the ability to check in with their colleagues as well as engaging more formally for meetings. Keeping in touch is helpful for wellbeing as it’s a time to reflect on how things are going, resolve any issues or just to talk.
We’re all navigating our way through challenging times, and people are sharing innovative and resourceful ways to help us make the most of this unprecedented era.
Finding the balance
Many health and fitness practitioners are using video communication technology to continue their teaching, with classes on everything from yoga to karate happening in living rooms far and wide.
Online workouts with Joe Wicks became a daily routine for many during the national lockdown, seeing him awarded with a Guinness World Record and an MBE.
Work colleagues are also using virtual meetings to keep in touch socially with one another, engaging in virtual quizzes and after work drinks. And organisations are providing online wellbeing talks and activities to help people with their mental health during the pandemic.
Whilst the new normal is still as much a goal as a reality, video communication is making the difference to people’s lives, helping us to find the balance between all the aspects of our lives.
It’s exciting to consider how this will evolve over the coming months and years as people find ever more innovative ways of harnessing the opportunities it brings.
Hi Martijn, please could you explain more about Vidicue?
Vidicue is a secure, authenticated video communications solution that brings two or more people together in a virtual meeting room.
Organisations only have to share a web link to a lobby and can organise their call flow into lobbies with virtual waiting rooms. Virtual meeting rooms are uniquely created for every meeting and will be removed when it ends.
We’re currently using Vidicue across Sweden for patients and healthcare practitioners to communicate with one another.
What’s particularly special about Vidicue?
A double layer of trust. Ease of use. No implementation needed.
Patients and healthcare practitioners can each trust that the person they’re speaking to is who they say they are, because they have to authenticate their identity before the meeting can start. This is also helpful when individuals haven’t met each other before.
It’s vital for patients to know they’re in the virtual room with a qualified and legitimate practitioner. We’ve all heard horror stories about people pretending to be doctors, but with Vidicue only authenticated people can enter the room, making it highly secure.
For the practitioners themselves, their license to practice could be on the line if they give advice or prescribe medications to the wrong patient due to mistaken identity. After all, the patient hasn’t checked in at a reception desk on their way.
Healthcare is high stakes. No one wants errors to be made, which is why minimising risk is so important.
Organisations need to ensure they’ve done everything in their power to prevent problems arising, and Vidicue provides that reassurance. Privacy laws are stringent.
That’s great, so how’s Vidicue working in practice?
Vidicue isn’t just for community clinics.
We’re saving lives with Vidicue; bringing specialists into operating theatres, maternity units and hospital departments where every second counts. In complex and unpredictable situations, such as a breech delivery in obstetrics, practitioners can jointly make timely and potentially life-changing decisions.
Outside hospitals, we’re making healthcare more accessible than ever before by removing the need to travel. Vidicue empowers patients, especially those who live rurally or have more complex needs, because it enables them to speak to a healthcare practitioner without leaving their home or having to rely on someone else to transport them.
Vidicue also supports a holistic approach to care by providing the opportunity for additional people to join a consultation, by invitation. Interpreters, for example, can be present in the virtual room, which is fundamental for people who rely on sign language, or where there are spoken language barriers.
Where requested or required, family members can also join consultations. This is ideal when one family member is a carer for another, or where there are children involved.
Equally, team members from other specialities can join meetings, speeding up decision-making and improving the standard of care.
Vidicue is a highly flexible solution.
Amazing, but is Vidicue easy to use?
Vidicue is very easy to integrate into an organisation as only the meeting link to the lobby needs to be shared with the patient or customer, so their existing booking system can be used. To enable ad hoc meetings the link can also be shared on the organisation’s website.
We customise Vidicue to suit each setting. What works in a hospital won’t necessarily be right for a doctor’s surgery. We talk it all through with our customers to start with, to make sure we’re giving them what they need.
Before a virtual meeting can take place, individual users have to authenticate their identity. There are different ways of doing this depending on where you are in the world. In Sweden for example, people use their BankID or SITHS, an identification card.
After the authentications, the meeting participant(s) end up in the virtual waiting room of a lobby. The healthcare practitioner will select the participant(s) from the queue and start the meeting. The address to the meeting room is therefore not known at all before the meeting starts, improving security from third parties joining.
Could you see Vidicue working in sectors other than healthcare?
Absolutely. In fact, any regulated industry where security is important, such as legal, banking and finance, education and government departments.
Video conferencing is a commodity nowadays, but when unauthenticated meetings take place, information can be accessed by third parties and shared inappropriately, destroying trust. For organisations, it could also result in fines and negative media coverage.
Martijn, what’s your role within Compodium?
I’m the Head of Business, Worldwide Operations and Business Development. I live in the Hague, in the Netherlands and each day looks different. One day I can be supporting our partners and the next looking at new ways to take Vidicue to the next level.
Right now, we’re expanding internationally at pace, moving into the Middle East, the Netherlands and the UK.
We’re an ethically motivated company; we want to help people and make our customers’ lives easier whilst holding true to our high standards.
Bengt, what made you start Compodium 23 years ago?
As an early video conference pioneer, I had worked with communications technology and hardware video system sales for many years prior to Compodium. But I realised that too often we oversold more video infrastructure hardware to customers than they actually needed. This led to the idea of starting a specialised video conference service agency.
I remember our first assignment came from the Swedish government. They wanted to conduct a series of national video conferences to analyse the Estonia disaster, which was when MS Estonia, a cruise ferry, sank in the Baltic Sea and hundreds of people died. People discussed whether the ship should be lifted from the bottom of the ocean or left as a burial ground in the sea.
Compodium was running the whole conference production and in one of those meetings, from a video studio in the far north, one tiny lady at the back of the room said she had a message for the government. The camera zoomed to her and she said, ‘I am a survivor, my husband died and from my heart I’d like to say, please keep it as it is’. People were moved and cried in the big parliament hall. I felt that it was amazing to be able to take a message from her straight into the heart of the government, to bring true democracy.
It was long before digital telephony and smart phones were commonplace and I thought, this is the technology and services I must spend the rest of my life exploring further.
Truly amazing – this was your inspiration?
Absolutely. Video communications are very democratising, and I’ve always been excited by the opportunities they offer. This experience sewed the seed for our further developments and over time, our technical video platform has grown to be one of the most complete in the field of B2B e-health and clinical telemedicine. We form links between more than a hundred hospitals and a thousand care clinics across Sweden.
We provide thousands of hours each day in meeting capacity, giving professionals the opportunity to share knowledge whilst working in another hospital in a completely different locality.
We’ve grown to be super experts in both upholding quality and knowing what’s needed for doctors and healthcare professionals. Over time, we’ve built up specialist knowledge that’s helped us build a funnel of trust with healthcare practitioners. We are so proud to be a business that provides value for mankind in this way.
How is Compodium helping to save lives?
Let me give one example. There are thirty-four maternity units in hospitals in Sweden, where babies are born daily. Statistically, a number of these will be born with suspected heart failure. There are several different causes, and doctors have to decide quickly whether urgent intervention is needed, as this could make the difference between life and death.
A less experienced doctor in a smaller hospital may consult a specialist obstetrician from one of the university hospitals over a video emergency line. Using the live clinical images being shared between them, they can make a mutual decision about whether to undertake a trauma lift of that newborn or to continue care at the local hospital.
An unclear image due to a poor quality video link would present a significant risk of incorrect diagnosis; such a situation is out of the question. It must be super good quality, so practitioners can trust that the image sent from the maternity unit’s ultrasonic device is exactly the same as the image received at the specialist’s location.
Compodium provides that dependability because it offers seamless connectivity, enabling a trusted bond between two healthcare practitioners: nobody will have a life on their conscience.
This is just one example of how our solutions for telemedicine work for practitioners every day.
What about digitisation in society in general?
As society is becoming increasingly digitised, the need has arisen for a trusting and secure solution for video consultations to take place between a doctor and his patient. For many years, our software developers have added functionality to the platform to address this need. We now call the solution Vidicue.
Vidicue is a secure multiparty video communications platform that is enabling patients and healthcare practitioners to talk to one another remotely, saving costs, time and carbon dioxide emissions. It’s very important that a doctor can legally ensure that the right patient arrives at the meeting. In the same way, it is necessary for a patient to trust that it is a legitimate doctor holding their consultation, not an unknown person dressed in a white medical coat.
Vidicue therefore supports a variety of digital authentication methods including Bank ID, to ensure the correct identity of all participants in the video meeting.
Vidicue provides a higher level of trust that allows professionals new, clever ways of organising workflow processes.
How are the changes taking place in the world right now affecting Vidicue?
The world has accelerated five years in the space of a few months.
The Covid-19 pandemic has shown us how easy it is to share knowledge and run our working lives with digital tools. It’s still possible for many people to earn a living without going to a physical place of work, although of course not for everyone.
A major disaster is cutting across society at the moment, putting pressure on the welfare system, on schools, clinics and places of worship. People are learning to adapt their lives and video communications are at the core of this change.
Panic over the pandemic has eroded into a more sensitive discussion of how we need to communicate remotely in the best ways possible. With that comes an awareness of the need to choose a system that agrees with an organisation’s security and trust requirements.
Vidicue provides this level of security via end-to-end encryption. Beyond even that, by removing the need to travel, Vidicue brings services to the user and connects them to a digital world more securely than ever before.
I think our societies will change dramatically over the coming years. It’s possible to have many benefits of a city life in the countryside. People were spending hours commuting, at great cost, but now they’re realising productivity hasn’t been compromised as a result of working remotely.
What are your plans for Vidicue?
We are humbled by what Vidicue is helping people to do and achieve every day of their lives, and as a business we are continuing to develop the platform.
We’re now quickly moving into different sectors, and expanding internationally, based on our healthcare knowledge. Our main focus is addressing services to regulated industries, where information cannot be made publicly available due to personal and professional privacy laws.
We are an ethically motivated company, putting purpose before profit, and we are inspired by integrating the very latest technology into Vidicue to continue our customer-focussed journey.
By Charlotte Berg|2020-10-01T10:07:04+02:00October 1st, 2020|Categories: Blog, business, Latest Articles, News|Comments Off on Bengt Grahn, Compodium’s Founder, reflects on taking delicate human conversations to the highest level of trust
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.”