Jet Streaming

Boeing began streaming with audio in 1996, using RealAudio from Progressive Networks (now RealNetworks). Rikel Getty, now senior director of streaming media for Exodus Communications, was at Boeing when it first began streaming. "Boeing had large pipes, and was moving large sets of airplane data around the world," says Getty, "so our foundation was very strong for audio and video." Upon its merger with McDonnell Douglas in 1997, Boeing's employee base instantly doubled from 100,000 to 200,000. That meant that management had to find a way to get the word out. "Phil Condit [Boeing's CEO] wanted to talk to those employees directly, and in order to do that he needed something like streaming media," says Getty.

Having video available over the Internet and intranet is important for a company as large as Boeing, because it has many employees, suppliers and customers that it wants to accommodate across the globe. "You've got people in Wichita who make a forward section; you've got people from Grumman who make a tail assembly; you've got people in China who make landing gear. And then you have the general public that says, ‘Hey, that would be kind of neat, to see the first flight,'" says Bob Jorgensen, spokesman for Boeing's Shared Services Group.

From the employee perspective, the ready availability of audio and video can enhance the work experience, as well, Jorgensen says. "Our employees in the engineering and computing arenas ask, ‘Am I working at the cutting edge of technology? Are the projects I'm working on truly exciting?' When you're working with video streaming, you're working on the cutting edge of what's new. When you are working on the Space Station, you are working on something that is truly exciting," he says. "Those are the kinds of things that cause people to come to The Boeing Company, to stay at The Boeing Company, and to feel good about The Boeing Company. We know that is value added."

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