E-communication involves incorporating the use of a variety of access tools to reach a geographically dispersed audience. To establish communication with internal audiences, organizational leaders have long relied on tools such as voice-mail broadcasts, e-mail alerts, announcements on the corporate intranet, articles in newsletters and the “cascade” model of passing the messages through layers of management. With the increase in Web portals, worldwide audiences enjoy constant access to organizational text and graphics.
Research in cognitive science has demonstrated that retention is twice more likely when a learner sees something as opposed to reading. Research also suggests that seeing and hearing content is five times more effective than reading. When devising a communications strategy, the objective of the communication and the diverse learning styles of the workforce become key considerations. If goals extend to motivation or retention, IP video offers significant advantages.
IP video usually means more than just the video and audio components. A participant in a live or archived video presentation can take advantage of any number of media options. When the presentation is live, the audience can post questions and comments to the presenter. For portability or retention, participants can download just the audio files.
Whether in the form of high-impact live broadcasts or on-demand streaming media, the use of video over IP has enhanced the quality and reduced the cost of executive communications, product introductions and market updates. By eliminating intermediaries (management layers), use of video allows consistent communication throughout the organization.
E-communication efforts bolstered by a learning infrastructure that supports a video component present a host of benefits:
- Reduced time to market to communicate features and benefits of new products or services.
- Improved organizational agility and morale with frequent executive communications.
- Increased customer intimacy through regular access to experts within the company.
- Increased sales force readiness through anytime-anyplace access to product and service information for the “feet on the street.”
- Reduced cost of access in terms of travel, telecommunications, event management, etc.
When utilizing video as a means of delivery, organizations have two options. Broadcast video over IP allows real-time access to a live presentation. The participant can watch the presenter, ask questions via instant messaging, see presentations and view screen-shots.
Video-on-demand offers anytime-anyplace access to the video, audio and slide presentation. The content for video-on-demand may include presentations of past broadcast videos or those created especially for the purpose. Knowledge-bytes include short (30-second to two-minute) video file attachments that demonstrate a solution, which sales personnel may receive as an e-mail alert to demonstrate product use or troubleshooting tips. Training video-on-demand segments, on the other hand, include longer-duration modules or lessons.
IP video and e-communications make knowledge available to the learner wherever and whenever needed. Through effective use of video, organizations have reduced the geographic barriers among managers, employees, channel partners and customers. The content is current and can be easily updated and then re-deployed within minutes. The efficiency and effectiveness of video as a tool for knowledge sharing makes it too compelling an application for organizations to ignore.
Tom Kelly is vice president of the Internet Learning Solutions Group at Cisco Systems Inc. Nader Nanjiani is marketing programs manager of the Internet Learning Solutions Group at Cisco Systems. For more information, e-mail Tom and Nader at firstname.lastname@example.org.