Media in the Real World

Over the past five years, music and video pirates and pundits have moved in and out of the headlines like a child that has just discovered the wonders of a revolving door. During those same years, corporate America did exactly what it is supposed to do—looked at new technologies with a healthy mix of interest and skepticism, watching patiently as technologies and standards matured, costs fell, and "gee whiz" ideas became real contributors to efficiency and profitability.

There is No "Typical Enterprise"
Today, digital media makes sense in the enterprise—just ask Steve Cameron, Manager of Corporate Communication Technologies and Services for Air Products. "Let’s face it, we’re not a leading-edge technology company," Cameron jokes "but we must be doing something right."

Air Products clearly is doing something right—they have 18,500 employees and annual revenues of over six billion dollars with healthy margins. The company serves a wide variety of customers in electronics, energy, healthcare, and manufacturing with atmospheric and specialty gases, high performance materials, chemical intermediaries, and usage and safety training for it all.

While at first glance this might not sound like digital media heaven, Air Products has a broad and complex set of communications needs. In the past, digital media technologies have helped Air Products solve many problems, but they’ve also created new challenges.

"Communications at Air Products isn’t as clear cut a proposition as cutting a CD and hoping it sells," according to Ken Herr, Principal Media Technologist. "We have live video webcasts, on-demand presentations that combine video and synchronized slides, and everything in between—all going out to employees in 30 countries over a complex network infrastructure."

Media can flow to any of a dizzying array of intranet web sites (there are over 500 at last count), plus the company’s public information media portal, and a set of secure extranet portals for Air Products’ customers to access the latest in product, training, and safety information.

"The tools to create content are readily available—almost too available," Herr adds. "But there was no infrastructure for managing, monitoring, and evaluating all of it, let alone doing it cost-effectively."

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