Level 3 delivers huge quantities of video across its vast networks -- so it only makes sense for the content delivery network (CDN) giant to heavily leverage productive video internally. (See Defining Productive Video.)
Telco Transformation recently interviewed Anthony Christie, CMO of Level 3 Communications Inc. (NYSE: LVLT), on how Level 3 is using video for internal communications and operations. Below, in Part I of this two-part Q&A series, Christie addresses both the obvious and more subtle benefits of video conferencing, video-based training, and video branding. In Part II, which we will post in a few days, Christie specifically discusses Level 3's role in productive video delivery -- and, in turn, video's role in Level 3's IT operations and DevOps.
Telco Transformation: Where is video coming into play so as to make data accessible for Level 3's thousands of employees spread across disparate geographical markets?
Anthony Christie: Our 13,000 employees span the globe, along with our more than 10 million fiber miles serving 50,000 global customers. Bridging the geographical gaps is instrumental in sharing our vision, collaborating to meet our common goals, and addressing the evolving needs of our customers.
Some predominant uses of video for us are focused on the delivery of "just-in-time knowledge sharing" or quick hits of video that address urgent needs or changes for DevOps, [as well as] virtual walkthroughs from subject matter experts of various tools and systems, and recording of team and other peer meetings to ensure members who could not attend are included. Sometimes, teams use a webcam to record the actual [entire] room -- not just a [face-to-face] Skype recording -- so that folks who couldn't attend almost have a "telepresence-like" feel when viewing the recording.
TT: What is the difference between video conferencing and "telepresence"? Is the distinction important?
AC: Distinctions can be drawn between telepresence and video conferencing mainly in terms of the user experience and the sense of immediacy. With telepresence, the intent is to give the impression that users are in the same room. Video conferencing looks and feels different; there's more of a remove. That said, with the right infrastructure in place, video conferencing can be reliable and effective at bridging users across disparate locations. There are also some medium distinctions -- for example, the use of slides versus animation in a presentation.
TT: How else is Level 3 leveraging productive video internally to train, educate, and/or otherwise personalize organizational messaging for its employees?
AC: In sales training for both new college graduates and more experienced hires, video is becoming another tool to help new hires hone their pitches, demonstrate and practice communication and sales skills with feedback from peers and coaches, and participate in collaborative learning and coaching. We also do this for media training of corporate spokespeople. In terms of sales and [related] training, we've found virtual walkthroughs from subject matter experts to be highly effective.
Level 3 executives and management use video extensively to personalize organizational messaging across our geographically dispersed employee population of 13,000 employees operating from 500 markets in 60 countries. In fact, our C-level executives use video extensively for quarterly "all-hands" calls.
TT: Is there an "urgency" to video that other methods of internal enterprise communication can't seem to replicate?
AC: Absolutely. We're visual beings. We know that seeing someone's facial expressions when they're speaking provides important context that a voice over the phone or an email can't convey. Our culture is embracing video as a primary communication channel -- from FaceTime, Facebook Live, [and] Periscope, [to] even Snapchat or Vine. We're becoming accustomed to connecting "face-to-face" in our personal and professional lives. Level 3's media and social media teams use video, [including] Periscope and Facebook Live, to share executive insights on trending news topics -- from security, to video, to cloud. This takes on greater significance in the enterprise space as businesses look to reach customers across broader geographies; they rely on video to bring employees together and to connect directly with key audiences.
— Joe Stanganelli, Contributing Writer, Telco Transformation