A little more than a year ago, our small Strategic Programs group in IBM Global Business Services (GBS) started experimenting with a new kind of conversational webcast, a live panel discussion that brought an IBM thought leader together with other subject matter experts via webcams, and enabled viewers to be an integral part of the discussion via Facebook and Twitter.
Last week, we streamed our latest episode, which focused on the future of mobile commerce. Because it represents one of the best examples of what we’re trying to do, I wanted to share it here and describe a little about the strategic thinking behind our virtual discussions, or vPanels. You can browse the full library of past vPanels via this Bitly Bundle. And you can subscribe to the series via RSS.
For several years, IBM’s communications, marketing and corporate citizenship function has been striving to reinvent much of what we do in light of the profound shifts in how people relate to each other, and to businesses, in the era of the Social Web.
Where many forms of communications — corporate messaging, advertising, investor relations and media in general — used to take the form of massive, one-way broadcasting, the Web has clearly moved toward a model that revolves around conversation, give-and-take and genuine interactions between people. The bullhorn has given way to the discussion forum and the townhall meeting.
Our group had done a lot of work on other innovative webcast projects, such as a ’round-the-clock, ’round-the-world, live webcast for the 2010 Global CEO Study, and we operated one IBM’s earliest and most-trafficked Livestream channel, so we naturally became interested in new ways to virtually facilitate the kind of panel discussion and Q&A experience one encounters at a physical conference or meeting. As webcams, broadband and online video programming have boomed, we also saw an economical way of bringing people together, even when they might be geographically dispersed. The vPanel was born in mid 2010, with our first topic: on the impact that globalization and sustainability was having among graduate and undergraduate students.
Since human expertise is key competitive asset in Global Business Services, IBM’s consulting organization, we also saw an opportunity to raise the public profile of some of our experts and leaders, such as Jen Okimoto, Saul Berman, Paul Papas, Kalman Gyimesi. Naveen Lamba and Paul Beaulieu. Putting them in the good company of experts from organizations such as MIT Sloan Management School, ReadWriteWeb, The Acumen Fund, and Social Media Today simply made good sense, , and has helped us build our web of strategic relationships..
Making those conversations interactive was another natural way to be a the leading edge not just of what is technological possible, but what is sociologically necessary as the evolution of the “social business” unfolds.
Finally, we have been able to make this social approach dove-tail with the real business interests and priorities of IBM. For example, this most recent vPanel on Mobile Commerce is well-aligned with the new Smarter Commerce consulting services lead by Paul Papas.
Speaking of Smarter Commerce and webcast innovation, we launched the Smarter Commerce practice with a live video experience that was truly virtually: Paul Papas provided an overview of the new practice from inside Global Business Services’ 3D, voice-enabled and web-based Virtual Center, and we streamed the briefing and discussion live to the Web.
Since we’re always on the prowl for new and richer ways to support conversation, live interactions and multimedia, please share any suggestions, tips or insights you’ve picked up on across the Web Wide World.