It's a Fax: An Old Platform Still Adds Value

Ann All

I just returned from a family vacation in Florida, where my 10-year-old son used a Flip video camera more than his digital camera, shooting video rather than still photos. He's not the only one. I see a fairly even split among parents recording memories at school events, between those using cameras, phones with cameras and video cameras. Video is becoming an integral part of our lives, thanks to our infatuation with YouTube, Facebook and other sites that allow us to share video with our friends, families and, uh, sometimes total strangers.

 

But is this trend entering the workplace? (Other than giving us something better than stale jokes to forward to colleagues in email, that is.)

 

Writing for Forbes, Ted Cocheu (whose company Altus is in the enterprise video business) says companies are increasingly interested in using video for training and other purposes. He offers the examples of Cisco, which has created "a rich media portal" to offer its employees access to podcasts and video training materials, and Oracle, which saved time and money by hosting a video sales kickoff meeting.

 

Sure, Cocheu has a vested interested in promoting use of video in the workplace, but he makes some good points. Some people find it easier to learn and retain information they view as video vs. reading instructions. (Thus, all of the "how-to" videos popping up all over the Web, illustrating everything from how to make a piecrust to how to change a tire.) Lots of corporate information is conveyed verbally - through in-person presentations, seminars and the like. It makes sense to capture that information and present it to employees in an accessible format.

 

A Workforce Management article mentions an interesting use of video at the Cheesecake Factory. (Free registration is required to read the article.) The restaurant chain allows employees to create, upload and share video clips on job-related topics through a portal called Video Cafe. The article refers to it as "YouTube with a corporate twist." It promotes the portal to employees with, what else, a video, which can be viewed on the site of its technology partner Wisetail.


 

Jeff Stepler, the company's VP of organizational engagement, says the videos have helped Cheesecake Factory cut its content development costs and "increase the relevance and authenticity of the learning." Some of the video content is incorporated into more traditional training materials.

 

When I interviewed him a few months back, Sean Poccia, director of information services for Comag Marketing Group, used similar wording to describe his company's portal, which features video training tutorials, calling it "kind of like an internal YouTube." The company also distributes training DVDs to some of its staffers.



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