The impact of technology and the digital era has served as a catalyst for the period of dynamic change the South African corporate world has undergone in recent years, which has enabled businesses to flourish. As the corporate world in South Africa continues to grow, organisations must implement an effective communications strategy in order to remain successful. With younger generations entering the workforce, video has become a key addition to any company's internal communications strategy to provide an effective way of delivering high-quality information and training, as well as fostering collaboration and engagement.
Enter Internet Protocol Video
The combination of the rise of the internet, the leaps and bounds of mobile technology and improving infrastructure in South Africa has seen an increased demand for video, whichessentially means the ability to deliver live and recorded TV or video to any connected device, via an organisation's existing IP network.
Businesses are recognising the numerous benefits of video, which include enabling staff to keep up-to-date with company news in real time through live news and corporate updates delivered to communal area screens, as well as to 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.
The growing demand for IP video solutions, particularly in sectors such as banking and healthcare, led us to open our local Exterity office in Johannesburg; to better understand the needs of the local market and provide a better service to our customers. We've built up a thorough understanding of the region, which has enabled us to identify three key ways we think IP video will help shape corporate communications in Sub-Saharan Africa over the coming years:
1) Enable real-time decision-making for financial traders
Banking is big business in South Africa. The past ten years have seen the region grow into a significant player in emerging markets financial services.It is forecast to maintain this momentum, which will primarily be driven by economic growth, the demand for financial services and the rapid uptake of mobile technology. In order for this high-growth sector to remain competitive, employees must be able to react quickly to fluctuating markets. 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 an ever-changing market.
The Bank of China (Hong Kong), the world's fifth-largest bank with over 13,000 staff is a perfect example of how video can be used in the financial industry. It deployed an IP video system to deliver several financial news channels directly to bankers' desks, empowering staff to evaluate transaction risks and keep track of the latest financial trends and regulations in real time. Information impacting the whole group is also distributed to screens in public areas, enabling the bank to maintain the highest standards of service and uphold its prestigious reputation.
2) Ensuring business strategies adapt to new trends in healthcare
A major area of growth and heavily dependent on new trends, sub-Saharan Africa's private healthcare industry is worth an estimated $21 billion today, and this figure is expected to double over the next decade. Video has the potential to play a significant role in improving in-patient technology solutions as well as enabling the provider pharmaceutical industries to stay up-to-date with the latest medical news and research.
Pharmaceutical giant Sanofi uses IP video to share the latest medical news and internal guidelines with staff across its 20 R&D sites and three separate business units across Paris (France), where it controls its global communications. As the healthcare industry in South Africa continues to grow, it will become even more crucial for staff to be able to access breaking medical news quickly and IP video can help companies achieve this.
3) Attracting the next generation of talent
Sub-Saharan Africa has been dubbed "the continent of young people" due to the fact that, in many Southern African states, half of the population is under 25 years of age. Many Millennials and Generation Z's in South Africa cannot remember, or do not know, what it was like to live in a world before everything from banking to watching films could be done via a smartphone. As this tech-savvy generation becomes the dominant age bracket in the workplace, it will expect employers to be equally digitally savvy and embrace the flexibility technology can offer employees.
Increasingly, businesses are adapting to the strong mobile culture by extending the availability of relevant digital content to mobile devices, enabling employees to view information at their convenience, stay up-to-date with corporate information, wherever they are. This is key for businesses looking to attract and retain the next generation of talent.
The future of the world's youngest continent
The South African market is expected to continue rapidly growing over the coming years as more organisations invest in the region and more young people enter the workplace. The key to any thriving business is ensuring employee productivity is high and that members of staff are engaged with company culture. We anticipate that more businesses will make IP video an integral part of their internal communications strategy in order to achieve precisely this.