Human Resource Executive Magazine recently published the following article by Microspace VP of Sales & Marketing Greg Hurt. Human Resource Executive Magazine caters to an audience of vice presidents and directors of human resources, providing them with news, personnel benefits, training and development and more. More than 75,000 HR professionals currently receive the publication.
Training On Demand Technologies: Pros and Cons
In a world where instant communications have become the norm, employees expect to have immediate access to information from the corporate office no matter where they are. But while the Internet makes it easy to send email or access material on a remote computer, tasks such as beaming a live video feed of the CEO to branch offices or making sure every salesperson can see the latest product updates are a match for more specialized technologies, such as satellite systems.
Satellites have the ability to broadcast a large volume of information to an unlimited number of places at once. While Internet transmissions involve linking one distinct location to another, a satellite can feed information simultaneously to antennas located anywhere in its coverage area, which can span an entire continent.
Just as television networks distribute programming to TV stations and cable systems via satellite, corporations can use satellite networks to efficiently move large quantities of video, data or audio to multiple locations. For training-on-demand applications, which may involve sending large data files and video feeds, satellites can be attractive. Since they allow bandwidth-intensive transmissions to jump over bottlenecks that can plague earthbound Internet links, satellites can help ensure that all employees have access to the same information at the same time.
Users can view the information as it is broadcast over the satellite or retrieve it later from a local hard drive. Requests for clarification-or other transmissions back to headquarters-can travel over conventional Internet connections, which compliment a satellite network.
It may seem complex to install and operate a corporate satellite network, but due to technology, adding satellite connections to a company’s telecommunications infrastructure is not much more difficult than installing a basic Internet-access system. A small dish on the roof connected to a PC-sized box in a server closet is all it takes to enable a branch office to gain access to whatever information is coming from headquarters.
In addition, the network can be set up to allocate only as much bandwidth as a particular transmission requires. Material that must be live, for example, would likely receive a larger slice of the satellite’s capacity than a group of documents and slides intended for employees to view on their own time.
Either way, using a satellite to send the data to every site in a network with a single transmission can lead to savings compared to sending a separate copy of the material to each location, because the same bandwidth serves every location at once.
Many companies are using satellite communications to improve the way they do business.
For example, after one year of study, a unit of John Deere and Co., the farm machinery manufacturing firm, last year adopted satellite technology to improve its communication with 5,000 employees at some of its locations.
The company’s commercial and consumer equipment division concluded that its monthly employee meetings would be more effective if broadcast live to employees at remote locations instead of relying only on graphics and other still images. Another benefit is that John Deere will be able to easily expand its training operations in the future without incurring higher transmission costs, since satellite broadcasts cost the same regardless of the number of locations tuning in.
Satellites are by no means a replacement for readily available communication tools such as a basic Internet connection or telephone. A satellite network may be better seen as an addition to an organization’s telecommunications infrastructure, adding capabilities that shine in specific circumstances.
Satellite technology is a way to increase an organization’s efficiency in the broad context of its overall operations.