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AI and IoT to Revolutionize Workplace Communication: Insights from Netpresenter's CEO Frank Hoen

How will AI and IoT transform workplace communication?
By Gresheen Libby
May 20, 2024

In an exclusive interview with TechNews180, Frank Hoen, CEO of Netpresenter, shares his vision for the future of workplace communication amidst the integration of emerging technologies like AI and IoT.

With extensive experience in employee and emergency communications, Netpresenter is at the forefront of addressing the challenges posed by remote work, social media distractions, and the deluge of information in today's digital age. Hoen discusses how AI will filter and manage notifications, ensuring effective communication without overwhelming employees, and highlights innovative solutions like the Corporate Screensaver to keep remote teams engaged.

Recognizing the unique communication challenges in the US and European markets, Netpresenter continues to tailor its strategies to foster clarity, engagement, and compliance in corporate communications.

Gresheen (GG) Libby: Given Netpresenter's extensive experience in employee and emergency communications, how do you see the landscape of workplace communication evolving in the next five years, particularly with the integration of emerging technologies such as AI and IoT?

Frank: We anticipate significant changes in the landscape of workplace communication over the next five years, particularly with the integration of AI and IoT. Organizations today face a challenge in that they have lost some control over their communications with employees, many of whom spend one to two hours on social media during work hours. In the Dutch context, the average person spends almost 2.5 hours a day on social media, and can even go for up to five hours for young people. Another alarming fact is that the average office worker is distracted 11 times per hour, and can only concentrate on a task for three whole minutes.

To counteract this, companies must find new and effective ways to reach their employees without overwhelming them with excessive information.

Over the next five years, we expect AI to play a crucial role in this arena. AI assistants will not only help employees with certain tasks but will also act as a filter between employees and the overwhelming flow of knowledge and notifications. This integration of technology is essential; if organizations fail to adapt, they will find it increasingly difficult to effectively communicate with their employees and may even fail to meet legal standards for employee communications.

Gresheen (GG) Libby: With the proliferation of remote work and distributed teams, how do you see communication strategies evolving to ensure effective collaboration and engagement, particularly in industries with traditionally office-based cultures?

Frank: With remote work becoming the norm, traditional communication strategies, especially in office-centric industries, must evolve. At Netpresenter, we've recognized that traditional tools like emails and digital signage within physical workplaces often fail to reach every employee consistently, especially those working remotely. To enhance engagement and ensure information retention, we've developed the Corporate Screensaver.

This tool functions similarly to digital signage but is adapted for home use on personal computers, ensuring that crucial company messages reach employees wherever they are. Unlike passive digital signage that requires physical presence, Corporate Screensavers deliver repetitive, non-intrusive messages directly to all employees' screens. This approach not only minimizes corporate spam but also ensures that essential communications are noticed without disrupting workflow. For a more comprehensive solution, our full suite of communication tools supports a true omnichannel strategy, crucial for keeping remote teams informed, engaged, and safe.

Gresheen (GG) Libby: In the realm of corporate communication solutions, what are some common challenges you've observed that are unique to the US market compared to the European market? How does Netpresenter tailor its strategies to address these distinct challenges?

Frank: We've observed unique challenges in the US market compared to the European market. One common challenge is that employees in the US are often overwhelmed with messages even before they step into the office or begin working. Additionally, there's a tendency for employees to not actively seek out important information they should know. This situation highlights the inadequacy of current communication tools. As we’re aware, attention spans are also declining - with the constant barrage of information from various sources, capturing and maintaining employees' attention becomes increasingly difficult.

To counteract this trend, Netpresenter employs strategies that prioritize brevity, clarity, and visual appeal in its communication solutions. By delivering concise and visually engaging messages, we ensure that important information is not only noticed but also retained amidst the sea of distractions. This tailored approach enables organizations to effectively overcome the unique communication challenges present in the US market and foster greater engagement among their employees.

Gresheen (GG) Libby: With Netpresenter's focus on solving communication challenges, could you elaborate on how your solutions assist organizations in maintaining effective communication during crisis situations, especially considering the differing regulatory frameworks and cultural norms between Europe and the US?

Frank: Netpresenter's solutions play a vital role in assisting organizations to maintain effective communication during crisis situations, accounting for the diverse regulatory frameworks and cultural norms across regions like Europe and the US. Our approach encompasses both prevention and response phases, recognizing that well-trained employees are essential for managing incidents safely.

Our proactive strategy involves reinforcing crucial information through repetitive visual communication until employees demonstrate understanding. For added support, our system sends alerts to those who may have missed or not fully absorbed the information.

This approach mirrors the functionality of a full-scale internal AMBER Alert system, ensuring maximum reach and potentially saving lives. Notably, entire countries and regions, such as Rotterdam, leverage Netpresenter for instant alerts and prevention strategies. These best practices from the public sector seamlessly translate to the corporate world, reinforcing the importance of visual communication in crisis management.

By focusing on visual clarity and ubiquity, Netpresenter empowers organizations to navigate crisis situations with resilience and efficiency, regardless of regulatory nuances or cultural differences. Our solutions serve as a cornerstone for effective communication during times of uncertainty, ensuring that critical information reaches employees when it matters most.

Gresheen (GG) Libby: How do you approach the balance between utilizing digital communication platforms for efficiency and maintaining the personal touch and authenticity necessary for effective employee engagement and organizational culture building?

Frank: Balancing digital communication platforms for efficiency with maintaining personal touch and authenticity for effective employee engagement and organizational culture building is key. At Netpresenter, we approach this by focusing on bringing information to employees in a way that fosters social cohesion and connection among colleagues.

Our approach ensures that information is delivered in a manner that allows employees to view it uniformly, fostering a sense of unity and shared understanding. Rather than requiring employees to seek out information, we actively bring it to them by leveraging a push communication method, thereby eliminating the need for extensive searching and promoting a cohesive organizational culture.

Importantly, we recognize the significance of delivering information in a manner that is non-disruptive yet imbues a sense of warmth and social connection. By striking this balance, Netpresenter ensures that digital communication platforms enhance efficiency while preserving the personal touch necessary for effective employee engagement and culture building.

Gresheen (GG) Libby: Considering the increasing importance of transparency and authenticity in corporate communication, what strategies do you recommend for businesses to navigate sensitive topics or crises while maintaining trust and credibility with their employees and stakeholder

Frank: It's crucial for businesses to prioritize transparency and authenticity in their communication strategies. At Netpresenter, we recommend several strategies to achieve this.

Firstly, organizations should proactively convey crucial information rather than waiting for employees to seek it out. By using platforms like Netpresenter, businesses can ensure that important updates are disseminated swiftly and comprehensively, allowing them to take the initiative in communication rather than merely reacting to events.

Additionally, providing a centralized platform for communication ensures that all employees have access to the same information simultaneously, reducing the risk of misinformation or confusion. This fosters a sense of transparency and trust within the organization.

Furthermore, businesses should acknowledge and address concerns raised by employees and stakeholders promptly and openly. By engaging in two-way communication and actively listening to feedback, organizations can demonstrate their commitment to transparency and authenticity.

In navigating sensitive topics or crises while maintaining trust and credibility with employees and stakeholders, I recommend leveraging interactive tools like polls and pulse surveys. Polls offer a quick and efficient way to gather feedback on various topics, from organizational decisions to employee preferences. Additionally, pulse surveys provide invaluable insights into the organization's sentiment over time, allowing leaders to track trends and identify areas for improvement in employee experience.

Sharing insights from these interactive tools with stakeholders fosters transparency and demonstrates a commitment to addressing concerns and making necessary changes. By actively soliciting and responding to feedback, businesses can navigate sensitive topics and crises with authenticity, reinforcing trust and credibility among employees and stakeholders alike.

Overall, by adopting proactive push communication strategies, leveraging technology platforms, and prioritizing open dialogue, businesses can navigate sensitive topics and crises while maintaining trust and credibility with their employees and stakeholders.

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