Mark Stanborough, sales manager EMEA & APAC at Cabletime. www.cabletime.com
The past decade has seen tremendous change in the financial services sector and not least in its efforts to manage decades-old legacy infrastructure and embrace digital technology. This is an enormous ship to turn around, but for traditional banks and finance businesses the transformation is necessary. It is the only way that they can compete against challenger organisations whose agility has enabled them to move quickly, and with limited funds to revolutionise their operational efficiency and improve the services and experiences they offer to customers.
According to a survey by Gartner, digital transformation is more important for banking, a first priority for 26 percent of respondents, than for all industries. It comes just before digitalisation at 25 percent. Growth and market share is another key priority, followed by the complementary focus areas of profit improvement and customer focus at 12 and 11 percent respectively.
One element of this transformation is the mechanisms by which banks and other financial companies visually communicate with, not just customers, but their own internal staff and stakeholders too, many of which are spread across multiple locations in multiple countries. The adoption of improved digital infrastructure is allowing them to reach large audiences with ease, making a greater impact than ever before.
IPTV and streaming technology is no longer restricted to just delivering time critical news and financial data, it is also improving internal engagement, motivating teams, delivering superior training where it is needed and enabling organisations to broadcast company-wide presentations and briefings. Where IPTV, streaming and digital signage were once siloed applications, the underlying technology has now converged, opening up the ability to distribute web content and live TV broadcasts alongside a full array of media sources.
Financial sector companies are realising the benefits of a broadcast-style service in a corporate environment. They are investing in superior content and delivery management which allows them to control the frequency and distribution of their communications and ensure the messages they are disseminating both internally and externally can have a significant and long-term effect on employee and customer loyalty.
Setting out the objectives
Like all areas of digital transformation however, the deployment of IPTV and streaming is a major undertaking and the technical barriers can seem daunting. The first item on the agenda is to establish their objectives and set realistic budgets. Working with an informed, experienced integrator is a good first step, because they will be able to advise on what’s possible when it comes to disseminating information effectively across the organisation. Factors such as the spread of locations, the availability of network bandwidth and how communications content can be delivered across multiple devices, are fundamental, and best assessed in a partnership with a specialist.
To communicate effectively with staff and customers, the IPTV, streaming or digital signage platform must deliver on performance but also be easy to use and manage on a day to day basis. A holistic approach is needed, because much will depend on the size of the project, the location of display screens, the different types of messaging that will be used and so on. It involves looking at software and hardware solutions that are most closely developed to meet the company’s specific needs and giving attention to the Content Management System for control, the content creation software to ensure impact, and also the players behind each screen.
It’s never easy to choose from the wide array of available technologies, but an important guide when making a product selection in this sector is to consider the long-term. Not all providers of IPTV & digital signage solutions are delivering complete products from one manufacturer. Instead they act as third-parties and bring together components, albeit often of good quality, to create the system. What’s wrong with this? Further down the line, the bank or financial trading company is unlikely to want to rely on that third-party for warranty claims, or if they want to upgrade or expand the system in a couple of years and want the same equipment again. Buying sophisticated streaming and digital signage solutions through third-parties is becoming less popular, the future is with companies who have complete control over all aspects, and can deliver reliability, scalability and security. Accreditation of manufacturers’ products should also be considered, to make sure all licenses and standards are being adhered to.
Once installed, the focus should then be on delivering memorable content. Clear messages, imagery that captivates internal and external audiences, and short, powerful videos will create a strong impression. And it needs managing properly. If this doesn’t happen, then messages will become out of date or irrelevant, and the audience will stop paying attention. Choosing an easy to use CMS tool will make this process flow smoothly and give the administrator the power to make changes where and when they are needed. The CMS should also allow users to control different areas and deliver content to create impact to specific audience.
Many companies in the financial sector are already using IPTV and streaming technologies, and have honed their ability to acquire, store and schedule media content before distributing it in high quality where it is needed and with precise accuracy. It is supporting their brand identity, delivering vital information and providing entertainment. It creates a better working environment because employees can see bulletins at a glance and use the information to inform their decision-making processes. In reception areas, meeting rooms and boardrooms visitors are receiving communications that have been planned and created with careful foresight.
Those who are still considering IPTV should remember the infinite new opportunities that this technology provides in creating memorable visual experiences in their corporate environment. But to ensure their investment realises a full return, they must plan ahead and select the appropriate core technology from a provider who will be with them for the long-term.