The Federal Employment Agency in Germany
"My Video Appointment" provides secure video communication for digital citizen services
How the Federal Employment Agency in Germany (Bundesagentur für Arbeit), with the support of Voigtmann GmbH and by using the Pexip technology platform, ensured contact with citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic in just a few months with a video communication solution.
About the Federal Employment Agency (BA) in Germany
The Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit, BA) is the competent contact for job and training placement and at the same time Germany's largest service provider on the labor market. Every day, it advises people on career-related issues and supports millions of citizens with financial benefits such as unemployment and child benefits. Its stated mission is to be "close to the customer." This means it aligns its advice and support with people's lives. The Federal Employment Agency comprises 100,000 employees in 156 employment agencies with around 600 branches, 302 job centers and family welfare offices at around 100 locations. Approximately 14,000 counseling sessions take place every day.
As a result of the Covid pandemic, digitization processes at the Federal Employment Agency in Germany were massively accelerated, as personal consultations were no longer possible due to contact restrictions. The primary goal was to stay in touch with customers. A data protection-compliant and highly scalable video communication solution was sought out to ensure that day-to-day work and consultations could continue.
The solution was designed by the BA's IT-Systemhaus together with Voigtmann GmbH and has facilitated the BA's communication with citizens since October 2020. Due to the high security requirements and the certification for the existing video conferencing platform, the Norwegian technology platform Pexip was used as the video gateway. The BA decided to implement Pexip on premise.
"My Video Appointment" (Mein Video Termin) now enables a secure exchange via video, chat, audio, and collaborative document editing, bringing people together from anywhere and using any device, giving them quick and easy access to the services of the Federal Employment Agency (BA).
Pexip Solutions in use
- Pexip Infinity self-hosted, on-premise solution
- Pexip Cloud Video Interoperability (CVI) for Business Skype for Business
- The mission was to be "close to customers". To do this, the agency needed secure video communication as a new consultation channel for customers as part of the digitization strategy and in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Requirements for the solution: very high standards of security and data protection, low-threshold access to the service, and participation in consultation appointments with just three clicks.
- Pexip Infinity platform with Skype for Business integration
- Customized web app and booking system created by Voigtmann GmbH
- Pexip for Secure Communications
- Positive customer feedback and relaxed atmosphere during consultation appointments
- 1,000 locations connected, 60,000 video appointments conducted, 3 million call minutes completed (usage volume as of July 2021)
- 95 percent of customers recommend the Federal Employment Agency's video telephony solution more (survey as of July 2021)
As part of their "Strategy 2025," Germany's Federal Employment Agency wanted people to be able to access their advisory services from home or on the road without much effort.
"Everyone should have easy access to an advisor at the BA, even without a long commute to one of our branches," says Kai Burkard, Senior IT Architect for Communication & Collaboration at the Federal Employment Agency (BA). "This in turn means that consultations can only be provided with a suitable technical solution."
On the basis of this challenge, the BA began pursuing the "My Video Appointment" project for secure video communication, starting in October 2019. The most important requirement criteria for the solution, according to Burkard, were very high standards of security and data protection, low-threshold access to the service, and being able to participate in consultation appointments with just three clicks.
At the beginning of 2020, all public authorities, including the BA, faced a major challenge due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, as all offices had to close immediately. Nevertheless, employees needed to be able to reach customers.
"The pandemic massively accelerated and scaled the video communication project," says Kai Burkard. "This turbocharge accelerated the project so much that we are at a point today that we otherwise wouldn’t have reached for five years."
Picture: © Bundesagentur für Arbeit
The "My Video Appointment" solution is designed to achieve the following objectives:
- BA customers should be able to participate in counseling appointments online from home or on-the-go with just three clicks
- They are be able to participate using any device without installing additional plug-ins
- They are offered secure exchanges via video, chat, audio and collaborative document editing, regardless of operating system
- The solution complies with the BA's very high security and data protection requirements (GDPR/DSGVO-compliant use as well as hosting of data in accordance with European law)
To ensure the highest level of security, the Federal Agency chose Pexip's self-hosted, on-premise solution. Pexip Infinity is certified by Microsoft and is used as a video gateway to the existing Skype for Business environment.
By using Pexip, the Federal Employment Agency always has full control over its data and thus combines proven functionalities with the highest European data protection standards in its established IT landscape.
"Pexip, with its focus on security and its certification for Skype for Business, has fulfilled all the requirements for us for the right on-premise video gateway and enabled us to integrate it into our workflows," explains Kai Burkard.
Pexip's open API interfaces also play a role in the desired interoperability with Skype for Business, enabling integration with the various services and workflows and thus representing an important building block for the web app developed by Voigtmann GmbH.
"My Video Appointment" - the secure video communication solution designed and implemented by the BA's IT-Systemhaus together with Voigtmann GmbH - has been available for use since October 2020 and fully reflects the look and feel of the Federal Employment Agency. Through "My Video Appointment," BA advisors can maintain customer counseling online - even during pandemic times:
Bild: © Voigtmann GmbH
"Pexip, with its focus on security and its certification for Skype for Business, has fulfilled all the requirements for us for the right on-premise video gateway and enabled us to integrate it into our workflows.“Kai Burkard, Senior IT Architect for Communication & Collaboration at Bundesagentur für Arbeit
Results: Access to video meetings in just 3 clicks
Customers of the Federal Employment Agency (BA) can get to their virtual consultation appointment in just three clicks:
1. select appointment
2. open access link
3. connect with the respective consultant
"My Video Appointment" works independently of the browser, the end device or the operating system and is ready for use immediately. It does not require downloading any programs or plug-ins that may compromise security. Another important feature: BA customers can access advisory services even in low-bandwidth environments by choosing between high and low image quality on their mobile devices. This allows them to save data volume. The integration of business intelligence rounds off the scope of the solution - this enables analyses and statistics on "My Video Appointment" at the touch of a button.
Another central component of the Federal Employment Agency's "My Video Appointment" solution is the Voigtmann GmbH's comprehensive shell application. Thanks to reliable end-to-end encryption, it ensures that no personal data is leaked to the outside. It also integrates functions ranging from customer directories to individualized correspondence and test calls to feedback options. Audio, video, and chat features cover all aspects of a consultation.
95% recommendation by BA customers
Currently, all services in the SGB III legal area - i.e., the employment services - can use "My Video Appointment" for online counseling. Over 1,000 locations of the Federal Employment Agency are already connected. For the SGB II legal area - basic benefits for job seekers - there is currently a pilot project involving 46 job centers. At the end of each video call, customers are asked in a mini survey about their satisfaction with the digital consultation and a recommendation rate is determined. In previous surveys, 95 percent of customers recommend the Federal Employment Agency's video solution to others. Over 3 million call minutes have already taken place via this (as of July 2021).
"The employees report a relaxed atmosphere on the part of the customers through the use of 'My Video Appointment'. Our solution eliminates the stress of commuting. Therefore we will continue to rely on consultations via 'My Video Appointment' even after the pandemic and continue to scale the solution" says Lucas Albracht, Product Manager „Mein Videotermin“, Bundesagentur für Arbeit.
Learn more about Pexip's secure, flexible solutions for government agencies.