How IP video is reshaping corporate communications
Sub-Saharan Africa is ripe with potential. Advancements in mobile technology have transformed the region, turning it into a competitive market, particularly for the corporate sector. The region is rich in cultural and linguistic diversity, which means employers need to deliver unified communications to ensure they have a unified workforce.
As Africa’s corporate world continues to grow, organisations need to ensure they implement an effective communications strategy in order to remain successful. A key addition to any company’s internal communications strategy is video, as it provides them with an effective way to deliver high-quality information and training, as well as fostering collaboration and engagement.
What is IP video and why should businesses use it?
The rise of the internet – and more recently of connected devices – has reshaped the corporate landscape in Africa. The infrastructure in the region has significantly improved in recent years, which has increased the demand for IPTV, which essentially means the ability to deliver live and recorded TV or video to any device, via an organisation’s existing IP network.
An IP video system enables staff to keep up-to-date with company news in real time by delivering live news and corporate updates to communal area screens, as well as each member of staff’s PC and mobile device. It also facilitates staff training by archiving learning materials and corporate updates for on-demand playback, which employees can view at their convenience.
Across sub-Saharan Africa, we are experiencing a greater demand for IP video solutions, particularly in sectors such as banking and healthcare. Our work in the region and around the world has also enabled us to identify three key ways IP video will help shape corporate communications in sub-Saharan Africa over the coming years:
1) Improving decision-making
Over the past decade, the financial sector in Africa has grown substantially, turning it into a significant player in emerging market banking. It is forecast to continue growing, primarily driven by economic growth, the demand for financial services and the rapid uptake of mobile technology.
In order for banks to remain competitive, it is crucial that employees are able to react quickly to fluctuating markets. IP video provides bankers with an invaluable tool to receive breaking news at their desks and act in real time to ensure that their investment strategy adapts to a fast-paced market.
The Exterity IP video solution is already in use at Bank of China (Hong Kong), the world’s fifth largest bank with over 13,000 staff. The IP video system delivers a number of financial news feeds directly to bankers’ desks, which enables staff to evaluate transaction risks and keep track of the latest financial trends and regulations in real time. Information impacting the whole group is distributed to screens in public areas, enabling the bank to maintain the highest standards of service.
2) Adapting business strategies to new trends
Healthcare in Sub-Saharan Africa is a high-growth market worth an estimated $21 billion; this figure is expected to double over the next decade. This will lead to an increase in demand for more tailored services, particularly in private healthcare, where patients expect in-room entertainment and to use their own mobile devices during their stay
Pharmaceutical giant Sanofi understands the role that enterprise IP video can play in its strategy, and uses it to provide valuable information to its 20 R&D sites and three separate business units across Paris, where it controls its global communications. IP video enables it to quickly distribute medical news and vital updates to staff across all its premises. This empowers staff, who can now quickly access the latest research and news, enabling Sanofi’s R&D teams to learn about new diseases and strains in detail, and equipping its client liaison staff with qualified responses to questions related to new viruses, or increased resistance to traditional medicine.
3) Catering to a continent of young people
By 2030, Sub-Saharan Africa’s contribution to the global workplace will exceed that of the world combined. In many African states, more than half of the population is under 25 years of age, which has led to it being called “the continent of young people”. Millennials and Generation Z’s in Africa have grown up with a strong mobile culture, and as this tech-savvy generation crosses the threshold into the workplace, it will expect employers to be digitally-savvy and embrace flexibility.
Businesses need to respond to the smartphone era by extending the reach and availability of relevant digital content, which empowers employees to view information at their convenience, stay up-to-date with corporate information and better engage with an organisation’s culture. This is all key for businesses looking to attract and retain the next generation of talent.
It has also led to remote working gaining momentum, with a study finding that one third of workers in South Africa work outside of their company headquarters for half the week or more, and 62 percent work remotely at least some of the time. By integrating IP video into their communications strategy, organisations can cater to a mobile workforce by giving them access to corporate information and news on-the-go. This leads to faster decision-making, better engagement rates and a feeling of belonging.
The future is video
Over the coming years, the African market will continue to evolve rapidly as more organisations start investing in the region and more young people enter the workplace. In order for businesses to remain competitive, they need to ensure employee productivity is high and members of staff are engaged with the organisation’s business and culture. We anticipate that IP video will be the route most businesses will take when implementing an effective communications strategy and welcome the opportunity to see the world’s youngest continent embrace technology further.
Colin Farquhar is the CEO of Exterity, a global leader in enterprise IP video technology.