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IT looks for online video to boost training, collaboration

IT looks for online video to boost training, collaboration

Some firms are taking advantage of technology that's banned from many corporate desktops

While some companies are still struggling to keep employees from watching online YouTube videos in the office, others are turning to video technology to improve internal training and collaboration, and to expand external marketing programs.

For example, Rohm and Haas a US manufacturer of specialty chemicals, construction materials and other products, later this month is launching what it calls a "corporate YouTube" site for its 15,000 employees around the world.

Other companies are taking a less expensive route by posting internally created videos on YouTube and other social networking sites to market themselves and their wares.

Rohm and Haas said the internal video site will be used to provide its workers with training programs and a way to more easily get information about a wide variety of topics from their peers.

Charles Wallace, chief technical architect and IT director for global architecture and infrastructure at Rohm and Haas, said that a searchable library of online videos supports the natural tendency of workers to "bypass the knowledge base and go to their next-door neighbour [at work] or to the employees who know" to get answers to questions.

Wallace said the company expects that the system will cut back on travel needs - a big priority for the manufacturer - by providing Rohm and Haas employees with access to one another via video programs.

The company's internal affinity groups - workers with common interests in performance management, career development and mentoring - were among the creators of the first videos for the library, which will be called PrimeTime, Wallace added.

Rohn and Haas said it expects 50 to 75 Prime Time videos to be available to employees when the program begins operating.

The videos are created and will be run using the Studio hosted webcasting service from Interactive Video Technologies, Wallace said.

The hosted Studio tools combine and synchronize audio and video, PowerPoint presentations and screen captures with "one-click publishing," according to Interactive Video officials. The system can also track the use of those videos, the company said.

Over the long term, Rohm and Haas plans to extend access to Studio so additional employees can make videos for the library, Wallace said.

Greg Pulier, founder and chief technology officer of Interactive Video, described the efforts Rohm and Haas and other companies as a move to "democratize webcasting" by allowing more employees to create and view videos on their corporate desktop systems. For example, a top salesman could create on his own a video that demonstrates his process for selling products, he noted.

Pulier described the video sites created by companies such as Rohm and Haas as a kind of second-generation corporate video strategy.

"A lot of organizations start [out by] using YouTube to post corporate videos," he said. "When they reach a point where there is too much stuff on YouTube, they start to look for another solution."

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