When the government shifted en masse to telework at the start of the pandemic, the one tool that made the new dynamic possible was video. Meeting platforms like Pexip, Zoom, and Teams allowed coworkers to collaborate, meetings to continue, and training opportunities to persist in a new medium. But even as COVID recedes, those video tools aren’t going anywhere. They’re going to be integral parts of the new hybrid workforce model, enabling federal employees to be more flexible in how they accomplish their jobs, and where they accomplish them from.
So as federal agencies consider making these video platforms a permanent fixture in their toolboxes, they should consider 3 key factors for long-term success: security, interoperability and flexibility.
Data security and privacy matter
The first is security; tools for the hybrid workforce should not be any different than the regulations and policies mandated for in the office. One meeting solution built with security in mind is Pexip. Its video platform is designed for enterprise use, and it gives agencies control over their data with multiple deployment options.
“As a global software company, we understand that the federal government has rigorous security needs. And we demonstrate our commitment through adoption of FIPS 140-2 compliance and Joint Interoperability Test Command (JITC) certification,” said Peter McCarthy, vice president of Public Sector for Pexip. “All of the features needed to achieve these certifications are available to our entire customer base, even those where certifications are not as important.”
Part of that dedication to security includes encryption. During the pandemic some consumer-focused products were brought into government that didn’t have encryption turned on. Pexip natively supports encryption up to the highest industry standards so that no user or administrative intervention is required. McCarthy said the goal of encryption is that the user shouldn’t have to think about it. They should feel comfortable that the system is working to protect their information and ensure compliance with departmental policies.
Other security controls include ensuring access to all meetings is appropriately managed. For instance, Pexip uses PIN numbers to keep people from accidentally logging into calls. There are also administrator controls that allow federal employees to monitor and adjust settings throughout the entire enterprise. And finally, Pexip uses multi-factor authentication to further protect access to mission critical systems.
Connect multiple meeting platforms
Agencies often use multiple collaboration tools across departments. This can make it difficult for employees to join meetings they’re invited to, while adding cost and complexity to the IT team managing it all. Interoperability matters, because agencies have made lots of small buys for lots of different technologies. That means they’ll need a platform with open standards for interoperability to connect multiple meeting technologies together. That’s where Pexip comes in. Agencies can use many of the tools they already have, and add new tools on top of them.
“One of the things that we do that’s very unique is we connect video conferencing systems, which could be from a variety of different large manufacturers like Cisco or Poly, to modern collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams,” McCarthy said. “We can be the glue between those two systems that don’t normally talk to each other. It’s about enabling a simple user experience for employees. Whether they’re at home, or whether they’re in their government office, it’s the same familiar workflow to join their meetings.”
And that experience is improved via artificial intelligence to make it feel more natural, McCarthy said. Through a process called Adaptive Composition, Pexip automatically zooms and crops speaker images to improve eye contact, and adjusts the sizes of the speaker windows to give active speakers and larger groups more screen real estate. Together, these help reduce video fatigue by creating a more dynamic, engaging meeting experience.
Give employees and citizens a great experience with a single platform
And because Pexip is so versatile and interoperable, it isn’t limited to the role of collaboration tool for internal teams. It can also facilitate public-facing video functions in a secure way.
“If you’re talking about a particular government-to-citizen type of interaction, agencies can use the same video platform they use for meetings to provide digital citizen services. Whether it’s on Capitol Hill, whether it’s with Homeland Security working with citizens at the border, or even working with industry experts that are being called in to help with everyday government,” McCarthy said. “It’s really the flexibility of the Pexip software platform that allows government workers to meet with others outside their own agency – including constituents.”
One example of how this has been happening during the pandemic is in the judicial system, McCarthy said. Courts have been using Pexip’s platform for remote video arraignments, which involve not just the judge and the citizens, but also state and local agencies in many instances. There’s also been an increase in demand from the Department of Veterans Affairs to use for telehealth. McCarthy said Pexip’s ability to scale was very important to the VA meeting its mission.
“It’s not just for applications for government to government, but it’s really for applications outside of government,” McCarthy said. “There are a lot of different use cases where government needs to work not only with other agencies, but industry, corporations, their constituents.”