Persatuan Pemudi Islam Singapura (PPIS) is a nonprofit organization working with families across 17 centres in Singapore. They offer a range of social services, from family counseling, to pre- and after-school care for children. They’re also about to open a residential reentry centre for ex-offenders, all part of their mission to empower women and help families up. When Covid-19 forced PPIS to take their essential outreach services online, Senior IT and Facilities Manager, Thariq Aziz, chose Neat devices to deliver the highest quality online meeting experience for staff, volunteers and clients.
When did PPIS start using video conferencing?
“Prior to my joining PPIS, there was no video conferencing as the organization operated in quite a traditional way. Our staff frequently had to travel to meetings and – although Singapore is not too big – it would still take around 40 to 50 minutes to travel from the main office to the West End. I realized this was not only time consuming but also costly, so I started looking into video solutions. We rolled out Microsoft Teams internally in November 2019 and, when Covid hit, we started using Zoom as well, as it was the platform our clients were more familiar with.”
How did you deliver your services over video?
“The transition from face-to-face physical counseling and training sessions was very hard. For the younger clients, it was easy as they were used to video calls. But for our more senior clients, they still wanted face-to-face sessions. With the help of the counselors and caseworkers, we created walkthrough instructions for these clients in English, Malay and Mandarin. There was a steep learning curve, but after a few weeks everyone got used to it. Plus, our staff stopped calling the IT department for help, which I took as a good sign.”
Can you give us an example of how video helped with your clients?
“We had a client who was under a tremendous amount of stress in their own home during the lockdown. The client was having difficulty speaking, but being on video meant our counselors were physically able to see the person and help calm them down. Video also enables our teams to better detect when a person is at risk. For instance, I just attended a course on the hand signs people can use to show if they’re in danger of domestic abuse. Being able to see people clearly over video, in crystal clear definition, means such initiatives can really work.”
Video enables our teams to detect when a person is at risk… Being able to see people clearly over video means such initiatives can really work.
How did you discover Neat?
“The main issue we had was sharing our limited number of Zoom licenses. Occasionally, this led to disagreements amongst the teams who were all under great pressure. That’s when we thought, ‘How about we have rooms you could book together with dedicated video systems and licenses?’ I started researching options and I soon discovered that Neat matched our requirements.”
Our staff especially loved the Symmetry function… I brought our CEO over and showed it off to her, as I wanted her to know that what we’d bought would really benefit the organization.
Once the Neat devices were up and running, what did your staff think of them?
“We bought Neat Bar and Neat Board, without the installation service as I thought it would be a good experience for my team to install the devices. All in all, it only took us about an hour to install three Neat Bars and one Neat Board. Once up and running, we loved the Neat Symmetry function. I brought our CEO over and showed it off to her, as I wanted her to know that what we’d bought would really benefit the organization. We have hybrid training sessions now using Neat Board and when there are multiple trainers, Neat Symmetry makes sure they are framed together, even though they’re standing separately. I think that experience really helps how we deliver programs.”
Finally, how was the experience of working with Neat from the perspective of a nonprofit organization?
“We really appreciate that Neat supports nonprofits. Not every company is willing to help us out because of the bottom line and profits, but Neat really recognises the value of work we do. We think that’s a very good standpoint and we appreciate it a lot. Thank you.”