Moving Helsinki City to next level in their online video communications

A story how Icareus helped City of Helsinki to revamp their online video user experience, for both external and internal communications

HELSINKI logo

Helsinki is the Capital of Finland and a leader in digitalization

Helsinki is the capital of Finland and the country’s economic center. Helsinki region boasts with over 1.5 million inhabitants and almost 800.000 jobs. Helsinki is Finland’s cultural, administrative, political and business center, the hometown of many large companies and the an employer with almost 39,000 employees. For more information visit http://www.hel.fi

The Helsinki-kanava (Helsinki-channel) is Helsinki’s online video communications channel and offers important and current content to citizens, tourists and city employees. In 2019 videos were watched on the Helsinki Channel more than 400,000 times. There were 75 live broadcasts with over 54,000 views. The most watched video was “Living in an apartment building” engaging visitors more than 36,000 times. The most watched live broadcast was the “Mayor’s Independence Day for Fourth-graders”, which was watched more than 24,000 times.
Experience Helsinki Channel at https://www.helsinkikanava.fi/fi/

Summary

Helsinki had witnessed the growth of (online) video in both internal and external communications. Their video platform was outdated and needed to be updated to meet today’s requirements and to face the future challenges with ease.

Icareus Suite Online Video & TV platform was selected through a tender process to be used for Helsinki-kanava, the central hub for all of city’s video communications.

Through the new Helsinki-kanava online video portal Helsinki can communicate in an effective way with their citizens, tourists and their employees about current and relevant topics via both live and on-demand video and podcasts.

The product

The Challenge

Reliable and objective video communication

Today, fake news, illegal copies of videos, videos from social media services, and other unwanted content pose a threat to brand-safe public communications. Studies have also shown that both the number videos watched and the engagement times are significantly higher, if the videos are on the organization’s own website. Helsinki knew that as a city it must provide objective, neutral and reliable information via its own brand-safe environment. 

Social Media is not the right platform for Helsinki’s video communications

Video is an effective form of communication and social media reaches large audiencies. Unfortunately social media services like YouTube or Facebook were not a solution for Helsinki because video engagement is on average only 6 seconds and people quickly switch to new content. Additionally majority of Helsinki’s content is informative, and entertainment content is what thrives in social media, thus it was not seen as the right platform for Helsinki.

Live streaming, recordings, videos and podcasts

The City of Helsinki produces many types of online video content, including live streaming of city council meeting, press conferences, concerts and seminars; in addition they publish event recordings and produce other videos, and podcasts. The new video platform had to support all this, as well as live and file transcoding, subtitling and adaptive streaming. High-quality and global content distribution was demanded for the best possible viewing experience.

Flexible, robust and versatile video cloud platform

The main technical challenge was to build a cloud platform to provide reliable and secure internal and external video communications in flexible manner. Helsinki had already a vast catalogue of on-demand videos and produces live streams on daily basis. Especially the few big live events per year require substantially more capacity than the “normal hours”, so the platform had to be easily scalable, even on a short notice. Helsinki’s wish-list was a long  one.

Branded (and brand-safe) video portal and easy management

Helsinki has a very strong brand identity and naturally wanted to implement that also on their online video service, so the selected video cloud had to meet Helsinki’s look-and-feel requirements. In addition, the video service had to provide easy and reliable content management tools for all communications personnel within Helsinki city, most of whom do not have any technical expertise.

Integrations to 3rd party data systems

There were also legacy data systems that had to be integrated to the new platform e.g. data solution for webcasts of city council meetings.

Content sharing to other news and video services

Helsinki shares it’s content to news outlets, websites and TV channels, which had to be taken into account in the distribution scheme.

Helsinki-kanava_screens

The Solution

Helsinki-kanava (Helsinki-channel) online video service

Helsinki -channel (In Finnish Helsinki-kanava) is a public video portal that collects all the video clips, live events, webinars and podcasts produced by various departments of the city to a single hub. Citizens can also upload their own video content via a ”My Helsinki” –portion of the portal. Helsinki got its own secure and robust video cloud service that enable the to offer high-quality, efficient and engaging video communication.

Customized responsive web video portal

Icareus’ video cloud includes a variety of video website templates that can be edited, customized and published easily and quickly according to the customer’s brand. The existing use-cases include public video portals, company intranets as well as education and training sites. Helsinki-kanava is a responsive website based on the City of Helsinki’s visual guidelines and service needs, it is based on Icareus video portal templates. The service was published in the city’s own web domain.

High quality multi-language user experience with WCAG accessibility

The user experience is enhanced with a high WCAG accessibility level of AA and multilanguage support in Finnish, Swedish and English.

Easy tools for all the non-technical content editors

All of the over 100 communications people within Helsinki has access to the platform to produce content to their own sections like healthcare, sports, education, culture, and thus Helsinki-kanava is a vivid portal with growing amount of up to date content.

High scalability

Icareus video cloud offers Helsinki the option to scale-up the service even for short term needs, an option that they use again and again. The reason is that the most popular content, live music concerts from different events in the city,  have reached record of 100.000 viewers,  for the Vappu 2020 –event on May Day.

Secure Solution for internal video communications

Some of the content produced by Helsinki is intended only for employees of the City of Helsinki. City personnel is using helsinki-kanava for internal communications and training videos that are restricted and visible only within Helsinki City Intranet. Icareus Suite offers numerous ways to limit viewing to only the desired audience.

The results

Helsinki have now one single content hub for video for citizens, tourists and personnel. It enable Helsinki to streamline their video communications and better use the power of video. Helsinki can also engage the younger audiences who prefer video and provide all in all better service to their citizens.

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Videos produced per year
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Number of Live streams in 2020
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Number of communications experts using Icareus Suite platform

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