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Eskom's grid of MediaTiles

Eskom's grid of MediaTiles

Eskom has taken delivery of its first batch of Tactile Technologies' cutting-edge MediaTile Sign-In-A-Boxes, and has begun installing them in 22 of the main offices in and around Bloemfontein, Kimberley, Benoni and Nigel.

Why would Eskom need such a state-of-the-art communications solution, one may well ask? Well, in the light of recent crisis situations that struck Eskom at short notice, they decided to improve employee communication by making use of the latest technology - the MediaTile. Global trends are moving towards a paperless environment.

During a recent survey to determine the effectiveness of internal communications, the results proved that in Eskom, the trends are in line with the rest of the world and people prefer to receive messages electronically through visuals, audio and graphics. Seeing is believing; definitely preferable to reading a memo, a bulletin, meeting minutes or even speaking on the telephone.

The MediaTiles will indeed make information more believable and immediate, and Eskom employees will be able to react without delay to information and immediately manage any occurring crisis situations.

"With these MediaTiles we are trying something creative and out of the box to redefine our company culture, business values and priorities. By communicating internally with the MediaTiles as a medium, important business priorities and messages will be communicated effectively and will have a positive impact on employees," says Geraldine Du Preez, Bloemfontein area communications practitioner for Eskom's North Western region.

"Our next big event will be a safety day which will take place simultaneously at all the offices and installations. There will be an address by the general manager, interviews with staff members, important presentations and so on, all coordinated from the MediaTiles. We are confident that this will be experienced as a shared event, even though participants are spread all over the country."

The MediaTile simplifies the two main complications which had restrained previous narrow-casting contenders from becoming more widely utilised; these being ease of installation and management, and operating skills. Non-3G Digital signage broadcast networks need regular attention from techies to maintain connectivity, and to service and update the operating and editing software; all deeply daunting tasks for your average Joe.

"This is a pilot project but it has been going just fine so far," says Bloemfontein area technical manager Deon Strachan.

Eskom is using MediaTile's 3G option - definitely the easiest to manage - as it needs nothing more than a wall plug to get it up and running. Once plugged in, the Tile will automatically connect to the Internet and download the content it is directed to play, a technophobe's dream come true. All media, jpegs, video, flash movies or even PowerPoint presentations can be streamed to any or all of the MediaTiles from any computer which is online, independently or collectively.

The dedicated browser-accessed software, Media Cast, is super simple and takes on average only 30 minutes for a complete media virgin to get their head around it and start editing, looping and streaming (among other things) like a pro.

The Tile's track record in the US is reason enough to be confident for its future with Eskom, and although it is to be used initially only for urgently needed co-ordination and communications purposes, other departments - in time - may feel the urge to have a go. As a human resource management tool it has proved itself invaluable, and as an edutainer it has many possibilities.

From the get go Eskom has had a trouble-free run with this pilot scheme, and it seems highly likely the MediaTile will become Eskom's national communications skeleton, helping to keep everyone's lights burning and to switch on a few more, too.

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