When you’re running an enterprise in a country the size of Australia, how you communicate and update your workforce becomes a massive logistical problem.
First, as the sixth largest country on the planet, there’s the sheer size of the country to consider and secondly, there’s the associated challenge of travel. Flying employees and instructors to training centers is expensive – more so than in other regions – and driving the long distances involved isn’t efficient either.
It’s a challenge the Ford Motor Company of Australia encountered in bringing their dealer networks up to speed on new model features as they were introduced, and in training their technicians in repairs and modifications to their line of vehicles.
Even using online technologies was problematic and around 2009 Ford realized they needed to update the way they were delivering training and communication.
“Ford had been using a satellite broadcast system but it was expensive and lacked interactivity,” says Peter Verechia, Managing Director of XpertCast, a Refined Data partner which delivers both live-interactive and ‘on-demand’ training solutions across Australasia, Asia-Pacific and Africa. “Internet-based solutions had poor picture quality and couldn’t address the poor connectivity available to dealers outside of the large urban centers like Sydney and Melbourne.”
XpertCast was founded by Verechia initially to meet Ford’s needs and the first product they rolled out was Ford Connect, an on-premise deployment of Adobe Connect, in January 2011.
For Ford, the benefits were palpable out of the gate. Dealers were able to join sessions from anywhere at any time and enjoy a great learning experience at a fraction of the cost. But there were still challenges to overcome. Adobe Connect was unable to broadcast HD versions of Ford’s video content without constant buffering for those in the rural areas and there seemed to be no solution that Adobe could come up with.
Enter Talking Stick and Cachet, video delivery solutions from Refined Data which eliminated those problems and have been in use at Ford ever since. These custom extensions for Adobe Connect work like the apps on a smartphone, extending the capabilities of the base product to provide a robust and powerful learning environment.
“The Refined Data solutions were miles ahead of anything else and they still are,” says Verechia, and there were massive cost savings.
For Ford, which wanted to train both their sales teams and their technicians, with a range of multi-media inputs including pre-recorded video, webcams, slide-decks, documents printed collateral, social media and live virtual classrooms, it was the obvious choice.
As Verechia notes: “Since then, XpertCast’s system using Refined Data’s Talking Stick has been a successful export and we now deliver to 13 countries across the Asia Pacific region and China, for Ford Motor Company.
“We deliver to around 230 dealerships in Australia and New Zealand, but we also serve over 1,500 dealers across the Asia-Pacific region, including China,” said Verechia.
They also now have studios in Shanghai, Bangkok, Jakarta, Melbourne and XpertCast’s client list has expanded to include BMW, Fiat/Chrysler, Nissan, the News South Wales Department of Education (TAFE), Sewells Group, TTi, Lincoln and Next Step Training Solutions.