Titan ‘dogfooding’ Misses The Point

Adrian J Cotterill, Editor-in-Chief

Titan with last week’s announcement of its new internal video network (T-TV) are trying to eat their own dog food when they should, in fact, be sipping their own champagne!

It can take 2 days or more for a piece of information / message / communication to get round to everyone in a medium to large sized enterprise and that’s even with email, Intranets, Instant Messaging, Voice Mail and the such like – so any effort by a business to improve that DOES makes a lot of sense.

Many large organisations have rolled out their own internal communication networks – they are often seen in multi-nationals and / or investment banks – for the latter a piece of information rolled out / received before the competition can be worth (monetary) millions and don’t get us wrong, internal corporate communication networks are very important (and can be highly lucrative for vendors and suppliers).

So, in our usual style, here’s some comment on the Titan announcement and internal video networks in general…

  • Titan Outdoor sound like they are playing catch-up – a network like this should have been in place years ago.
  • An internal communication network is as much like TV as High Impact or Retail networks are so why call it T-TV?
  • Why the focus on the “twenty three 40-inch, broadband-connected LCD screens”? In a corporate communication network, screen based digital signage is important but certainly not the be all and end all. Employees usually sit at desks, usually in front of a PC so it makes sense to direct most of your communications effort onto the little screen in front of the employee not the large screens scattered around the reception area, cafeteria and conference rooms.
  • You don’t link up your offices and then tie your employees to working in an office – you link up your employees and allow them to work anywhere and everywhere. In some instances a focus on big TV type screens in offices can do more harm than good – those employees who are ‘remote’ get left out. Remember also that employees carry around a tiny little screen in their pocket which is very important – it’s called a mobile phone!
  • The most common mistake with internal corporate communication networks is that word in the sentence, ‘internal’ – companies need to spend as much time communicating to their shareholders and their customers as they do their employees. Sometimes, just sometimes a network such as this can be too inward facing.
  • We don’t particularly like the terms Intranet or Extranet but an Extranet with a client login area at least gives a slightly better impression of being customer facing and being accessible from anywhere (Intranets accessible via VPN’s not withstanding)
  • Folks who are building Intranet’s from scratch these days MAY be wasting their time. Google has a lot of the framework you can already re-use – it’s called iGoogle and you can even share it and the widgets you use or develop for it with your customers. Better still you don’t need to manage it (that much), it’s there 24/7 and accessible anywhere in the world
  • Cisco have one of the best global corporate communications networks with two multi-million dollar production studios – which, even before they had a signage solution, encompassed, desktop based video etc. We don’t know whether Titan engaged with Cisco at all (or even if Titan have a Cisco account manager / VAR) but they certainly should have done and we would recommend any large corporate to look at how Cisco operate their version of the ‘internal video network’ – even if it’s for the process ideas
  • One of the nicest signage type products we have seen in this space is VisioSign’s Infoboard. Based in Copenhagen they aim their product squarely at the corporate / corporate communications market and they offer great integration between corporate intranets, bulletin boards and signage systems.
  • Whilst not particularly signage oriented we also really like the predominantly web video based Kulu Valley solution, which is used by many of the really big investment banks.
  • We are not suggesting that this is the case in this instance BUT there is always the danger with internal video networks that they end up as EGO-TV – the CEO and his exec team slap on some make-up, stand in front of a camera and pretend they are the TV star they always wanted to be. It takes a lot of hard work and time to make an internal video network part of the fabric of the organisation – just one of the reasons why it definitely isn’t television. The video network needs to be fed by everyone in the company and become part of a daily routine (another reason why desktop based video is the main integral part AND I am afraid to say it, why email is still the number 1 alert mechanism needed as well

Titan Worldwide Flips the Switch on Intranet Video Network Called T-TV

Largest Privately Held Out-of-Home Company Cuts Virtual Ribbon on Digital Network in Offices Around the World

NEW YORK, May 6 /PRNewswire/ — Titan is putting its money where its digital mouth is. The world’s largest privately held Out-of-Home advertising sales company has launched an internal video network of 23, 40-inch, broadband-connected LCD screens for its 800+ employees in 20 offices around the world.

Titan kicked off the network launch with a ceremonial “digital” ribbon cutting today by its Chairman Bill Apfelbaum that was seen simultaneously by all offices and time zones. T-TV, as it will be called, will be a central communications hub for the company and display a variety of content from employee announcements to industry news to video announcements by Titan’s President and CEO, Don Allman.

“As we work to finalize our digital strategy, we realized that T-TV was the ideal way to keep people up to date on Titan activities as well as put to use some of the exciting technology that our team is using,” said President and CEO of Titan Worldwide, Don Allman. “Titan takes a fresh, innovative approach to the Out-of-Home advertising industry, so it is only appropriate that our means of internal communication reflects that. We want our employees to be up-to-speed on company news and events whether they sit in New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, Dublin or London.”

Lastly we hope that Don isn’t serious when he says above “…put to use some of the exciting technology that our team is using…” – the best technology solution to run an outside billboard network is hardly the same as the best solution to drive a corporate communications network.

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