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A Whole New World

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Dealer training is an essential component of NEC’s business activities. Individuals who represent NEC’s products in the enterprise marketplace are required to receive training courses designed to teach the basic attributes and features of sophisticated telecommunications systems. With its training, NEC also goes beyond the bits and bytes, providing its dealer partners with expanded tutorials on how to properly portray NEC’s products to prospects and strategies for addressing key customer concerns.

Historically, many dealers would have to pay for their employees to travel to NEC Unified’s offices for needed training. Other dealers would participate in regional training sessions put on by traveling NEC sales representatives. Either way, training typically required upfront investment in time and travel on the part of NEC and its partners.

With the experimentation with webcasting that began in 2000, NEC began to recognize the value in using online multimedia to capture training sessions and making them available online.

However, the company still wrestled with significant costs and inefficiencies in the development of its webcast content. With the company’s original set of webcast publishing tools, as many as three multimedia professionals would be needed to capture a single presentation. Also, the company’s initial publishing system offered little in the way of editing flexibility.

In 2005, Williams started hunting for ways to reallocate the company’s existing budget for webcasting technology into a publishing solution better suited for supporting his sprawling schedule of training-oriented webcast video productions.

Solution and Approach
After almost 4 months of product evaluation, Williams decided to license the MediaPlatform multimedia publishing solution on an application service provider (ASP) basis from IVT. The MediaPlatform option replaced another software service that NEC had been licensing from another vendor on a monthly basis.

The decision allowed NEC to lower monthly licensing costs and gain greater control over the company’s ongoing webcasting activities, Williams says.

Another key factor for Williams was that the MediaPlatform solution was hosted on IVT’s servers, allowing the NEC team to access the software on an ASP basis. That allows Williams and his colleagues to access ongoing projects both at work and at home. Additionally, the template development tools provide NEC’s multimedia team an array of options for building fresh interfaces for webcast presentations that can be easily accessed and implemented by NEC’s online trainers.

Williams and his team have gradually expanded the implementation of the technology into other communications applications, moving beyond dealer training and into the development of internal webcasts in which top NEC executives deliver presentations for the NEC work force. Late in 2007, the company also used the tool to redistribute video and PowerPoint presentations from its annual "analyst day" event, making content from the day available on an on-demand basis. However, the bulk of the company’s webcast activity remains focused on the dealer-training events.

Measuring the Benefits
Even before the 2008 boost in webcast training, NEC already was garnering significant benefits from the way it uses online video to streamline the way it communicates with its dealer network. The impact of web multimedia on NEC’s day-to-day activities is quantified in multiple ways:

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