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Innovative Technologies for Investor Relations

The utilisation of innovative technologies in Investor Relations gains more and more weight. The global finance crisis led to uncertainties across financial markets. The reactions on incoming news and information from Investor Relation departments impacted the market heavily.

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Jan Johansson (President & CEO of SCA) during an annual general meeting (Photo: SCA)

That is why it is now an important task for the management of such companies and their Investor Relations departments to re-gain trust. The target is to enable a target-driven direct communication to investors, analysts and other stakeholders without giving a wrong impression or deliver data that would lead to wrong assumptions. For this communication to happen, more and more organisations utilise innovative technologies. Such technologies are also known as “Unified Communications” tools and aid Investor Relations significantly with the efficient communication with a usually large number of recipients. On top of that many investors and analysts are scattered across the globe and therefore subject to time zone related difficulties.

Important technologies within the Unified Communication tool-set utilised in Investor Relations are:

Video Conference Services

Video conferencing services allow organisations to rapidly and easily get in contact with one or many investors or analysts. This way of communicating is becoming more and more attractive as the prices for video conference system deployments have significantly going down recently – becoming a much more affordable solution. Beyond the normal functionality of communicating with audio and video dimensions, high-end video conferencing technologies also allow sharing screens or other digital content into the video conference, such as Microsoft PowerPoint presentations or business plans in form of a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet for instance. Now one is able to present such files live without sending the data per mail prior to a meeting., which cuts a lot of issues like “having an out-dated file” at hand during the conference. Video conferencing not only is a great way of delivering high quality communication, but also can save a lot of costs and increases productivity of teams. While Investor Relations officials would be required to take a plane to fly to an appointment, now the very same person can save time and costs by arranging a video conference and getting the message across to many even on the same day.

Live Video Streaming via IP

Another way of delivering information from important events is the live video stream via internet or intranet. Like this an organisation can easily broadcast from an annual general meeting (AGM) and deliver a video feed in HD not only to on-site audience but also to remote investors and analysts. The video stream could be watched from Notebook, PC, Mac, Tablet or even from Smartphones. With Digital Signage the event could be embedded into information displays that could be deployed in meeting rooms or public areas. The possibility of facilitating IP Video Streaming do not always require an own infrastructure and staff for events that happen only once per year. They can be also booked as a service and the streaming solution will be provided by specialists at scalable costs. If an organisation however runs events at a high frequency or requires video transmission for other reasons, they can invest in own infrastructure and managed services to look after their infrastructure. This would enable an organisation to flexibly utilise video streaming solutions and would save costs on long-term outlook.

Video-on-Demand Platforms

QSC AG, Quality Service Communications, Annual General Meeting, AGM, IP Video Streaming, Analyst

Analyst focused on watching an annual general meeting (Photo: QSC AG)

A Video-on-Demand solution serves archiving purposes and enables the playback of any previously recorded videos, video conferences or events in case someone could not attend the live video stream. You could for example provide access to shareholders, who would usually not be able to see the live broadcast due to being in another time zone. This kind of solutions is also known as “Corporate YouTube” using the role of YouTube as “mother” of all Video-on-Demand platforms. Also for Video-on-Demand solutions organisations can choose between solutions managed and hosted for them or deploy them in their own infrastructure and have it supported by managed services to ensure a maximum availability to the users.

Summary

In summary we can see that innovative technologies such as Unified Communication tools are utilised in Investor Relations and being a great value-add to the communication and delivery of information towards stakeholders of internal and external nature. A business case is relatively quick assembled, since the technologies increase quality in communication and also steadily decrease costs that would normally be spent on travel and hotels. Also the technologies can greatly increase productivity of teams even if they are not in the same place.

Technology Inside: Anatomy of a Good Digital Signage

Digital Signage? What is it used for?

Whether we are talking about a huge chain of stores or just a very market-oriented location, digital signage systems seem to be useful to all varieties of business. Sometimes, these systems can even be useful to entertain customers in line while they wait to purchase their goods. Of course, the main purpose is not necessarily to keep us entertained while we are waiting in line or in at the dentist.

The digital signage system is an excellent opportunity for retailers and manufacturers to focus their client’s attention on their latest products or promotions. And the thing is that, seeing how you are already in the store, the signage advertising does have the chance to be a better selling system more traditional forms of advertisement. But the secret is just in delivering the kind of content that is personally relevant to the customer in a way that compels them to take action, and a lot of that actually boils down to the quality of the system itself because, if you can actually see pixels or the image is fuzzy, you are not going to be interested in the product even if it is good.

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What the System Should Look Like

The complete system can be as complex or as simple as the store can afford to make it. Ideally, you would have a series of monitors that receive a signal from a central unit. How often that feed changes is one of the crucial aspects of how successful a signage system will be. It can be used to display ads for different products but it is really great when the store can afford to put up information that the clients will value, such as cultural attractions and weather updates.

Combining the ads with promotions going on in the store and information that is relevant to the client is essential as it will engage your audience in a more effective manner. Customers are rarely interested in knowing what new products have been brought into the store. However, if they glance at the board that is showing what new movies are playing, it may be interesting to see that bananas are on sale down the street.

How the Software Works

There are several software packages on the market that have been designed specifically for the digital signage system. The most basic software will just play whatever feed it is given and it is very little more than a fancy media player. However, there are other systems that can display two or even three sources of information at once or that deliver a secondary live feed. This live feed is extremely interesting in car shops, for example, because it allows you to see how they are working on your car and, if you are like me that is really going to make you feel very comfortable while waiting.

Other software systems also allow the operator to make actual changes to the feed. So if my mechanic finds that he needs to change more than he first anticipated on the car, he is going to ask me about it. But he is also going to feed that data into his system and I can get a live view of how my bill changes and why.

What Are the Your Basic Hardware Options?

As far as the hardware is concerned, you really can’t go too big with this system. Of course you go wrong in how you use it and never make your money back, but you can choose between foot-long LCDs, plasma or project monitors. Your choice depends on how much room you have and what kind of cash you’d like to spend. There will obviously be a digital player to provide the feed or you can use a computer and that will immensely increase your display capabilities. Finally, there are a host of cameras that can be added so the system has the live feed we’ve talked about.

The great thing about a digital signage system is that it is basically comprised of individual products that you probably already know about. So it can be a very interesting experience to research each product, especially if you are tech-oriented and enjoy learning about a technology before you use it.

6 Benefits of Digital Signage

6 benefits of Digital Signage that can help your business gain more exposure

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Example: Sky promoting on Digital Signage

Digital Signage is a type of electronic display that is used to advertise and build awareness of new products. The images are displayed via LED, LCD monitors and may be projected as well.

This type of signage is usually found in hotels, retail and fast food outlets, airports and train stations, among other places. The content that is seen on the monitors is uploaded and controlled by computer using specialized software.

As an advertising medium, Digital Signage works so well because it strikes the perfect balance between subtly and “in your face”.

When compared to traditional print advertising and billboards, digital signage carries a number of benefits which include:

 

 

  1. Reduced costs
    While the initial outlay for the sign may be a lot more than what a print ad would cost the money that will be saved on printing costs further down the line.
  2. Web connectivity
    Digital monitors can be connected to the web which allows news feeds, Twitter feeds, currency updates, weather updates and more to be incorporated into the display. Blog post and video content from video sites such as YouTube and eHow may be included in the display as well. For example, in a doctor’s office a monitor could display general health facts and tips and feature real-time news RSS feed and weather updates.
  3. Attracts attention
    The advantage is that it grabs attention in a more subtle way – Whereas traditional advertising methods such as television, print and radio capture attention in a more direct manner.  The high definition displays combined with vivid colours and the ability to include elements such as news feeds and online video allows advertisers to break through the noise (associated with traditional advertising) and connect with customers.

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    Example: GMS providing news feed via Digital Signage outside the office

  4. Content is easily updatable
    In addition to cost savings one of the great advantages behind digital signage design is the ability to update content at the click of a finger (or rather a mouse button). For example, a restaurant could utilise a series of digital menu boards that display different menu’s as the day progresses – i.e. breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  5. Influence purchases decisions
    When you take into account that most decisions are made in store, a digital display that uses a combination of high quality images and video can have a powerful influence on buying decisions.
  6. Platform to showcase work
    If you run an architectural firm for example, you could set up slide show to allow prospective clients to view some of your completed projects. People tend to trust peer recommendation over advertising and displaying projects you’ve worked on for others will promote your brand and reinforce trust in your services.