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A Whole New World

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Video webcasting is coming of age as a key communications tool for Bryan Williams.

Williams is manager of interactive services for NEC Unified, an Irving, Texas-based subsidiary of Japanese electronics manufacturing giant NEC. The subsidiary is responsible for selling and distributing NEC enterprise telecommunications gear in the North American market.

In his role, Williams is responsible for making online training content available to the network of 500 NEC channel partners and resellers who distribute the company’s enterprise telecommunications gear in the North American market.

Williams’ job has been getting harder as NEC Unified embarks on a comprehensive product line overhaul that requires rapid and information-intensive communications with the company’s far-flung dealer network. For Williams, online multimedia represents the single best way to achieve the communications objectives laid out by top NEC executives.

"It’s like we’re going to our dealer channel and saying, ‘Hey guys, it’s a whole new world,’" Williams says. "We have to rethink the best ways to get this training out to them."

An increasingly important part of the recipe is video webcasting. For all of 2007, Williams and NEC Unified produced almost 40 webcasts devoted primarily to training the dealer network. As the company gears up for a string of new product releases in 2008, Williams is anticipating that he and his team will distribute between 15 and 20 webcasts in the first quarter of the year alone.

"Online video gives us the biggest bang for our buck," Williams says of the decision to produce more online training in support of the anticipated 2008 wave of product introductions. "We can pack a ton of information into a single webcast."

Building on Experience
Williams’ interest in expanded webcast deployment did not emerge overnight. Rather, it is the byproduct of a long history of experimentation and learning about online multimedia and other web communications technologies.

The NEC unit has been an early adopter of web-based communications solutions for the past decade. For instance, it first began using web-conferencing services with integrated VoIP capabilities in the late 1990s. In 2000, the company began experimenting with webcasting and since then it has gradually expanded its use of online multimedia.

One of the appeals of video webcasting for Williams is that it provides a forum for conveying training information on an enriched basis to dealers who can access the information when and where they want it.

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