(2004), "Broadcasting success", International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, Vol. 53 No. 3. https://doi.org/10.1108/ijppm.2004.07953caf.003Download as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Cisco creates regular broadcast content from its own TV studio for its internal network of 30,000 users worldwide. Broadcasts cover a wide variety of presentations from executive level announcements to work group and marketing presentations. But broadcast is not the only distribution method – anyone missing one of the live sessions can pick it up later – on demand – through the Cisco Media Network portal.
Steve Frost, Cisco UK and Ireland video solutions claims that “Broadcast applications are an essential part of Cisco’s working culture. For individual viewing, we sit at a PC and have separate windows for video and Powerpoint; for larger groups we use a big screen”.
To avoid network congestion, the live broadcasts are multicast: a single stream is delivered to strategic distribution points in the network then replicated on local LANs. The on-demand content is sent to local servers where it sits ready to be accessed by individual users.
Cisco also has its own instant messaging system, with the look and feel of a public service client, in which users can add family and friends to their “buddy” lists. The network is designed so that there is no visibility of the Cisco infrastructure from outside the firewall and quality of service for our voice traffic over IP is always ensured.
A third broadcast application is a partner e-learning extranet, involving a series of collaboration tools including video and voice bridges, all over IP. Cisco users can dial a supplier, for example, from the desktop into a voice bridge and then share data with them using Web client on their PC. A remote user could do both from their PC or laptop using an IP “softphone”. Frost suggests that the organisation has taken well to the new technologies. “It is now part of our culture to fire up ad hoc video and Web conferencing sessions as well as take the regular broadcasts. It promotes a self-service environment, empowering individuals in the right way.”
Perhaps the promise of easily accessible Web conferencing is now to be realised. Certainly a number of organisations think so and a recent Frost & Sullivan report valued the European market for Web conferencing services at 14.1 million. The impact and ubiquity of the IP protocol seem have brought together a range of technologies to offer all-encompassing solutions. However, there is an irony in that the market would have expanded much faster if it were not for the economic downturn; yet Web conferencing might just be a money-saver (compared to the cost of international travel) in such tight times!