Tag Archives: communications

13th June Webinar Recording

Thank you to everyone who attended the Digital AgricultureHow high speed broadband and digital technologies will help you increase profitability and productivity webinar yesterday evening.

Here is a recording of the webinar for those who want to recap on some of the topics discussed or for those who missed it.

Please leave your comments and feedback below. If you liked the webinar please share the recording by clicking on one of the social media icons below.

 

Prepare Your Business For The Opportunities With The NBN

Fergal Coleman – Director of Symphony3 recently presented on the how businesses can prepare for opportunities presented by the NBN.

Below are the slides of the presentation. Some great information there on using the NBN, how your business needs to change and what are the benefits.

After you view the slides let us know via twitter how you have OR plan to prepare your business for the digital economy.

[slideshare id=22101633&doc=digitalbusiness-broadband-20may20130519-130528224135-phpapp02]

Run through some of our diagnostics to prepare your business for the NBN.

Visit The Digital Rural Futures 2013 Conference

With 12 keynote speakers and 58 breakout and poster presentations the conference offers the chance to interact with some of Australia’s mostDigital Futures Region innovative business leaders, academics and regional development organisations, as well as farmers and farmer peak bodies, to set the scene and increase general awareness of delegates across a range of challenges and opportunities. See Professor David Lamb from UNE talking about the Conference running in Armidale 26-28 June 2013.

Click here to learn more about the conference.

Smart Homes – How Will They Help?

The Broadband Smart House Project

The goal of the Broadband Smart House project is demonstrate the use of the real-world applications of the NBN, including home automation, remote health monitoring, video-conferencing, rehabilitation, education, remote business, sensor monitoring, and environmental sustainability.(Source: RDA Northern Inland, 2013)

A smart home in Armidale, NSW has been created to conduct live workshops & demonstrations on the benefits of this new technology. The house is fitted with functioning installations where a typical family of four can try out the new technologies. At first instance the house will also be used by local TAFE and University students to trial and demonstrate various cutting-edge projects across a range of areas.

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Uni TV Switched At The Rural Clinical School in Shepparton

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Ken Clarke watching a dental procedure on Uni TV. (Source: IBES, 2013)

The Victorian Minister for Technology, The Hon Gordon Rich-Phillips officially switched on the Uni TV project on Friday 12 April at the Rural Clinical School in Shepparton.

About The Uni TV Project

The Uni TV project delivers dental education via Internet Protocol Television (IPTV). Dental education has usually been restricted to face to face interaction where students were forced to attend classes in person. However, with the launch of the program students can now view transmissions live and on demand of high-definition 2D and 3D images of procedures.

Final year students in the Doctor of Dental Science will trial this technology to enhance their learning. Uni TV provides them with a great opportunity to stay up to date with their course from a remote location. For example, students from the Rural Clinical School in Shepparton can access relevant material for their studies even while away from the main campus.

Speaking at the switch on, IBES Senior Research Fellow Ken Clarke said, “IPTV infrastructure was designed to be scalable. It can provide multiple simultaneous channels for many independent ‘broadcasters’. Various educational, community, and professional organisations could use IPTV to reach their own target audiences with specialised services supported by various business models.”

Uni TV is a partnership between the Melbourne Dental School and the Institute for a Broadband-Enabled Society (IBES), Ericsson Australia, AARNet and Panasonic Australia. It is supported by the Victorian Government’s Broadband-Enabled Innovation Program (BEIP).

Social enterprises deliver commercial capabilities with effective tools of trade

Today’s update is a guest post from Jessica Purbrick-Herbst, community manager for Social Traders. Jessica gives some tips on how social enterprises can use the digital economy to support their communications and marketing activities, and grow their businesses.

A social enterprise is a business that has a social purpose, and invests the majority of its profits (50% or more) into delivering that purpose. The social enterprise business model is robust and sustainable, and is increasingly becoming the business de rigueur as entrepreneurs seek alternative forms of profit distribution.

In context, there are over 20,000 social enterprises in Australia, with footprints in every Australian community. For some examples, consider your local bowling club, RSL or sporting league. Within this business model, the social enterprise sector may support a disadvantaged group (long term unemployed, disabilities, young and at risk). Or the production of low cost fruit and vegetables may provide access to fresh produce for everyone in the community. A social enterprise may be a cafe, a film production agency or community centre. It can also be a financial institution (for example, Bendigo Community Bank) or a packaging and distribution unit.

Just like any business, a social enterprise needs customers, and tools of the trade. Having access to the national broadband network (NBN) will enhance business growth across all sectors, by improving the speed, reliability and access to internet connections around the country. For social enterprise, utilising online marketing tools, directories and of course social media will help to grow the business, bringing in new opportunities.

Strong and stable internet connections have already enabled social enterprises in Tasmania to find customers globally; Victorian social enterprises to compete for business around Australia, and Melbourne social enterprise caterers to provide online ordering systems to corporate clients across the city. Without this network of reliable internet access, these businesses would miss opportunities and struggle to meet their social impact goals.

Top Tips for Hume Region Social Enterprises

  1.  Develop a practical, integrated marketing plan which coordinates online and off-line business growth activities.
  2. Communication activities need to be integrated (supported and consistent).
  3. Going online doesn’t have to be expensive. Utilise blogging platforms like WordPress or Tumblr to establish an online presence. Try Facebook and Twitter to support your activities. Use a regular, brief, action-orientated newsletter (try Mailchimp) to reach existing customers and find new ones.
  4. Don’t sign up for every shiny new online system – find the two or three preferred hangouts that are used by your current and potential customers, and build from there.
  5. Sign your business up for a free listing on The Social Enterprise Finder (www.thesefinder.com.au) – Australia’s only directory of social enterprises.

For further information and access to online tools and resources, go to:

Images and video links:

Kiewa Valley Engineering – process and systems innovation

Kiewa Valley Engineering is a family business in Wodonga, where they have been involved in the Structural Steel industry for over 35 years. We spoke to Dave Robin about the online technologies that are used in this manufacturing sector business.

Business overview

KVE are a proud Australian family business with more than 35 years experience as a Structural Steel Manufacturer. We offer advanced manufacturing capability, with domain specialisation in four industry sectors; Power (T&D), Transport & Infrastructure, Mining/Resources and Commercial/Building.

Over our long association with the Structural Steel Industry, KVE has developed many systems and processes to enable ‘best practice’ to be developed, encompassing all facets of our business including quality, manufacturing, pricing, and certification & training of our excellent staff. Our internal IT&T systems ensure transparency, high degrees of automation and manufacturing excellence. Our current pricing system has matured significantly, to the extent that it is now an end-to-end process with extremely accurate cost of manufacture. That allows us to be confident that we are offering the most competitive cost structure whilst still delivering the highest levels of quality and manufacturing, on time, every time.

Tell us about the web technologies you are using in the business

  • We regularly use cloud based sharing software to transfer information from the Administration team out into the workshop.
  • We’re about to introduce a new timekeeping system, which will involve tablet computers feeding information into a database in real time.
  • Our new communication system is in the final stages of implementation, and will rely heavily on high speed internet to enable services like video conferencing and desktop sharing.

What benefits have you gained from using these tools?

By using cloud based sharing software, we have dramatically reduced the amount of paper pushed into the workshop. We hope to continuously improve this, so that eventually the workshop will be completely paper free. Also, by using the tablets to feed information into our database we replace the need to use day cards, and can remove the lag between data entry and reporting on that information. Our new communication system will improve our ability to actively share ideas easier and demonstrate alternate approaches to our clients, particularly through desktop sharing.

How do you plan to use high speed broadband in your business when the NBN arrives?

The NBN will enhance all the web based systems we currently have in place, resulting in a more efficient workplace, and better communication with our clients.

What advice do you have for other businesses who want to maximise their use of web technologies?

Anything is possible with the use of the internet. Keep track of best practice in all aspects of your business, and continually look for ways to improve your business processes, systems and practice.

Do you work in the manufacturing sector? We’d love to hear how your business is evolving to use the range of new tools that are becoming available – leave a comment below, or contact us via our Case Study form.

Content is king! Peter Fitz, Moreland Council.

We spoke to Peter Fitz at Moreland City Council, about the importance of visual content online, and how to make your content compelling. Peter’s work on Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Communication (CALDCOM) has recently won the Victorian Multicultural Commission’s Award for customer service excellence, and the National Multicultural Marketing Award for the Government Category.

 

Moreland is an extremely diverse council region, where residents speak 132 language groups, and half of the local households speak a language other than English at home. The council initially had translated material available for eight languages, leaving the others to ‘fend for themselves.’

Simple messages and using vision conveys a lot more meaning than dot points on a website. The NBN enables this to be taken to the next level – taking whatever graphics you have and bring them to life. We’ve started animating our drawings, testing them with different migrant groups, neighbourhood house settings, ESL courses, and they work well. While the project began as a way of communicating with CALD audiences, it soon became apparent that this was a powerful tool for communicating with the wider community. People can learn about council business far more quickly via images and video.

The storyboard approach has helped address many community problems by helping to get issues from the classroom into conversations at home. Council service issues, such as improving recycling and reducing contamination, and social issues such as gambling, bullying and domestic violence have used this approach so far.

In a recent example, a truckload of asbestos-containing building materials were dumped on a roadside. When council staff arrived on the scene, they found children playing in the hazardous material. Door-knocking in the area revealed that only one of the 25 nearby households spoke English. The council has now created a storyboard that staff can use to quickly communicate the danger of handling asbestos waste.

The time and effort required to create a storyboard varies, depending on the complexity of the issue – though the cost of production and distribution is coming down, as better software and NBN access become available. Boards typically have 6-8 cells: introducing the issue, finishing with call to action, and tackling 2-3 things in between.

Visuals like storyboards and animations quickly convey meaning. Peter notes that writing for them is always a challenge, as you can’t do everything. Treat them as conversation starters instead, to get the audience thinking and asking questions. YouTube has shown that people can create small videos, without needing huge productions, that can can help to solve problems.

Social Media at the City of Wodonga

We recently spoke to Sue Beatty, Community Relations Manager at Wodonga City Council. She explained how social media has become an important part of her council’s communication strategy.

 

Wodonga Council’s social media campaigns have allowed them to reach and engage with an audience that previously had little involvement with council services and affairs. They adopted a measured approach to building their social media presence – making sure that each development had been properly considered, and putting policies in place before acting.

Like many councils, one of Wodonga’s earliest social media forays involved a Facebook council page. In order to overcome initial difficulties in getting enough Likes for their content, they ran Facebook competitions that helped them attract more followers.

Wodonga Council was also the joint winner of the 2012 Government Communications Australia award for Best New or Digital Media. This award was received for their YouTube channel, featuring “Mrs Mac’s story time.” Every fortnight, new story book readings are added to the channel – watched by local primary school students, and a growing audience of fans around the world.

Sue’s advice to other councils that are considering their move into social media is to take your time making sure that you have appropriate processes in place. Resourcing is particularly important to consider – make sure you have the staff to react and respond as needed.

Fishbowl PR shares insights into effective online communications

Fishbowl PR is a specialist public relations company, founded in 2010 by Birgit Schonafinger. The company is based in Beechworth, and works with clients from across north eastern Victoria.

Tell us about your market and customers

Our major market segments are medium to large businesses, government agencies and not-for-profits. We work with clients to improve communication with their stakeholders – in most organisations these include staff, customers, government agencies, community groups and the media.

Part of our role at Fishbowl PR is to develop communication plans: identifying who will communicate what messages, when and how.  A constant part of the business is educating prospective clients about just what public relations is, how it can benefit them and how it differs from, but works in conjunction with their marketing activities.

Which web technologies you are using in the business?

  • Our website is our main online presence. Here people can get a quick snapshot of our expertise, order services and make inquiries, learn more about public relations and connect with us on social media sites.
  • We advise clients on using social media, and tools that can help them to manage their social media presence.
  • We can also recommend monitoring tools which pick up any mentions of the client’s business name online – allowing our clients to see who is talking about them, and what they are saying.
  • We undertake training through online webinars, and use online phone conferencing facilities for our business meetings.
  • We have experience with TripAdvisor – a major travel website, where customers rate and recommend accommodation providers and restaurants.
  • We also use e-newsletters and surveys, through systems such as Mailchimp, Constant Contact and Survey Monkey.

What benefits have you gained from using these tools?

The obvious benefit of developing an online presence is being easy to find. Our social media presence has also helped us to win clients by drawing on personal recommendations through sites like Facebook and LinkedIn; demonstrating the power of those connections, both online and in person. It also illustrates the power of being endorsed by a third party, and how we trust other people’s recommendations.

We have also found online webinars to be a great training tool, reducing our travel time and costs while helping us keep up to date on the latest in communication practise.

How do you plan to use high speed broadband in your business when the NBN arrives?

We see the NBN offering greater access to high quality video conferencing, online meetings and training options.

What advice do you have for other businesses who want to maximise their use of web technologies?

Businesses should undertake some research on their target audiences for marketing and PR purposes. Once you understand your audience’s preferences, you can choose the best tools to reach them with – don’t just choose a tool that you like and hope they will come.

That research helps shape your communication plan, which should consider your resourcing levels and ability to manage your chosen tools. Developing a social media policy in advance can help determine who is going to be able to say what on behalf of your business online. Once a business invests those resources, monitoring is important to help them to find out which tools are working best.

Do you run a business in the Hume Region that uses the internet effectively? Send us your insights and opinions via our contact form.