Maintaining dialog between councilors in spite of the health crisis
During lockdown in the Hauts-de-Seine department, Fontenay-aux-Roses’ elected representatives wished to convene the city council and inform their citizens of its deliberations. The city hall was already using a collaboration tool, but its CIO was looking for a solution that offered more functionality to enable smoother dialog between the councilors. Teams from Orange Business Services provided the solution for this project.
Simon Bigay, Fontenay-aux-Roses City Hall CIO
Detailed preparations for the day
The CIO opted for the secure, cloud-based Cisco Webex collaboration platform. “This solution enables all participants to be seen at the same time and also provides technical controls to turn individual microphones on and off more easily,” explains Simon Bigay, CIO of Fontenay-aux-Roses city hall. Additional functionalities, including sharing documents onscreen and video sharing, are also available. The security offered by the solution was an important factor in its selection, guaranteeing the confidentiality of the information exchanged.
Within 24 hours of the request from the city hall, Orange Business Services made the platform available to the CIO, who was able to conduct his first tests. The two partners were in constant communication to bring the CIO quickly up to speed. In seven days, the platform was operational for a first meeting. The CIO also provided individual support to each city councilor to get to grips with the tool and install the module needed for the conference to run smoothly onto their own equipment (computer, tablet and smartphone).
Virtual meetings, a new part of municipal life
Fifty individuals, including 29 elected representatives, took part in the city council’s first virtual meeting on Thursday, 23 April 2020. After the mayor’s address, each participant raised their hand to indicate their presence and to ask to speak. Working with city management, the CIO ran the technical side, activating councilors’ microphones and checking sound quality. Streamed live on YouTube and Facebook, the meeting is available to view on replay for those who could not watch live. To date, it has already been viewed over 1,200 times. Following this first success, city hall is planning to hold its next municipal council session by videoconference.
“Other municipalities have been in touch, asking for information about our system,” notes Simon Bigay. An assessment may even be made for the long term on whether to hold “hybrid” council meetings that combine a physical session with councilors also participating by videoconference. This digitization will require additional functionalities (polling, voting, etc.) as well as training support for users.