Immersive video enters the workplace

Why organisations are turning to IP video in their internal communications strategy

Image: Exterity

An effective communications strategy is key to attracting and retaining talent. According to the Holmes Report, companies with effective communication strategies have 47% higher returns to shareholders, more engaged employees and less employee turnover. So how can companies improve their communications strategy?

By using video – Internet Protocol (IP) video, specifically. Currently, the average employee spends 40% of their working time on internal email that adds no value to the business, and more effective means of communications are rising to the fore with this increasingly tech-savvy workforce. To make corporate communications more efficient, and to increase usage of video, companies need a system that delivers video to any type of device – from computers to smartphones and tablets, ensuring employees remain productive and engaged, regardless of their location.

What is IP video and why do organisations need it?

IP video enables staff to keep up to date with company news in real time by delivering TV and video, over an existing network, to corporate desktops, communal area screens and mobile devices. Such content can include live news and corporate updates. It also facilitates staff training by archiving learning materials and corporate updates for on-demand playback, which employees can view at their convenience. What's more, integrating video into internal communications provides employers with several benefits: according to a Ragan Communications study of 713 communicators (including business owners, managers and content producers), 76% of respondents said that video improved internal communications with remote employees, and 58% found it increased alignment with company organisational goals.

Exterity has helped numerous companies across the world to integrate IP video into their communications strategy, which has enabled us to see first-hand the six main benefits it provides.

1. Enhancing the employee experience

When looking to enhance the employee experience, the first things that spring to mind are offering more employee perks, revamping the office space and organising more team events. However, one process that companies often overlook is simplifying the technology process.

SAB Miller (recently acquired by Anheuser-Busch InBev) is one of the world’s largest brewers, with a presence in over 40 countries. After deciding to invest £30 million promoting key products in the UK, the company set about revamping its image to appeal to a younger audience, which included choosing new offices. However, SAB Miller also recognised the importance of overhauling its technology. By implementing a new network – aimed at running its IT, telephone and AV systems – SAB Miller enabled the distribution of multimedia material such as video, TV and DVDs, through a single network. This resulted in digital media being available on any TV screen, reflecting SAB Miller’s refreshed brand image.

2. Spreading crucial information

An ongoing challenge for companies with staff spread across multiple locations is ensuring they can easily access key information relating to their industry.

This was particularly important for pharmaceutical giant Sanofi, which employs 11,000 staff worldwide. Sanofi has 20 R&D sites and three separate business units in Paris, which required a communications system able to quickly distribute medical news and vital updates to staff across all its premises. To achieve this, Sanofi deployed an end-to-end Exterity IP video system, which distributes medical news to all staff across the numerous locations. Staff now have instant access to the latest research and news, enabling its R&D teams to learn about new viruses in detail, and empowering its client liaison staff with qualified responses to questions related to new ailments, or increased resistance to traditional medicine.

3. Enabling real-time reactions

Some high-pressure industries, such as the financial sector, need to act quickly to situations that can change in the blink of an eye. By enabling staff to receive news and act on it in real time, IP video has become an invaluable tool.

The world’s fifth largest bank, the Bank of China, employs over 13,000 staff. It deployed an IP video system in Hong Kong, enabling its staff to evaluate transaction risks and keep track of the latest financial trends and regulations in real time. By providing bankers with relevant financial feeds directly at their desks, while ensuring that information impacting the whole group is distributed to screens in public areas, the bank ensures it maintains the highest standard of service.

4. Catering for a mobile workforce

An increasing number of organisations have a blended workforce, meaning a variety of employees who have a range of different contracts such as full and part time. This has a direct impact on attracting and retaining talent, leading the most successful organisations across Europe to offer flexible and remote working. According to research by BT, 88% of German respondents rank flexible working as one of their most important employee benefits, confirmed by 80% of UK, 75% of Spanish, and 59% of French respondents.

By enabling staff to access corporate information and news on-the-go, organisations empower their staff, which in turn leads to faster decision-making, better engagement rates and a feeling of belonging, wherever they are in the world.

5. Appealing to the next generation of workers

Millennials and Generation Z’s already use video in Higher Education institutions, accessing a range of TV channels and lectures recorded by professors to support their studies. As more of this tech-savvy generation cross the threshold into the workplace, the importance of video in corporate communications will continue to grow, as millennials alone will make up 75% of the workforce by 2030.  Tech-savvy staff view video as an effective tool that enables them to work remotely, view information at their convenience and stay engaged with an organisation’s culture.  By making video an integral part of internal and external communications, organisations can retain a competitive edge and ensure that they attract and retain the best talent for years to come.

6. Improving unified communications

Digital signage has become a key component of an organisation’s overall unified communications strategy, and is also now a natural companion to IP video. The integration of digital signage and IP video enables administrators to manage their communications systems seamlessly and ensure the right content is being displayed on the right screens - including mission critical messages delivered to all displays in case of an emergency.

The signage system can be tailored to various audiences, including public areas, staff rooms, factory floors, or the CEO’s office. By using digital signage, organisations can manage authorisations to ensure that the right members of staff access valuable information. For example, while a CEO and senior management will be interested in receiving financial news and data, new starters will need to learn about the building, workplace safety and the corporate overview as they settle in. This capacity to allocate information and turn any screen into a digital signage display enables organisations to speed up decision-making for time sensitive tasks, while providing a laidback and helpful atmosphere in public areas.

For effective communication, nothing will kill the video star

Video has pervaded every aspect of our daily lives, and companies need to be able to quickly deliver relevant information to employees in this medium if they want to improve staff productivity and engagement. The combination of IP video and digital signage is the recommended route to achieve this as it ensures information is delivered to every member of staff, regardless of their working habits, location, device or interests.