What Every CEO Needs to Know About Video Conferencing

With people being told to work from home, video conferencing is now a daily part of life for CEOs and their businesses. Zoom has emerged as the leading platform for people’s video conferencing needs with over 300 million users. Zoom is known for being a free or low cost solution that provides the much-needed face-to-face interaction at this time.

Video conferencing platforms such as Zoom are popular because of their simplicity. However, Charles Thiede CEO and Co-Founder of London-based technology firm Zapnito, believes this can also be its weakness. Charles said, “For CEOs trying to deliver premium services, it simply does not work. It is an unbranded and fragmented user experience.”

For organisations with an intellectual overhead, such as consultancies and advisory firms, the delivery of expertise and knowledge is a vital part of service experience. The way this is done effectively varies from the physical world to the online one. Charles continues, “Video conferencing tech isn’t built with recording and publishing in mind, meaning it only really exists at a certain point in time. This has led to CEOs deciding to use platforms like Zoom to try and jam a live experience into the internet. However, the real point is that the beauty of the internet is that it can last, and it can be available on demand.”

What Zapnito offers is a digital ‘home’ for brands, event organisers and publishers which is a ‘clean uncluttered’ branded space to communicate to their networks. He adds, “The truly important thing for these organisations is the community behind it and building long-term relationships with, and between, these people. Now more than ever. The brands that have these strong relationships are the ones that will survive.

“Rather than using a generic video conferencing platform, a Zapnito-powered business is given the video panel tools to deliver a consistent user experience. This allows them to create a white-labelled platform for face-to-face and networking interactions with the event or brand community.”

Beyond the user experience there is also a focus on contributing back to the community. Charles Thiede adds, “The seamless record and publish functionality of Zapnito means that you can use the content to share expertise, promote collaboration and demonstrate to the wider world the expertise you have within your organisation. Therefore, it becomes a place where CEOs can generate awareness and leads for the business, as well as creating a hub of expertise that their community can access at any time. This is something Zoom could never replicate.”

Video conferencing platforms like Zoom have surged in popularity because they serve a purpose but are not the solution to everything, especially when it comes to communication with clients. Charles Thiede concludes, “Zoom is important, now more than ever, for CEOs and their businesses to bring people together for face-to-face meetings and provide some resemblance of human contact. But we need to be careful when stretching this beyond internal meetings to events and to delivering professional services. As a CEO you also want to be reassured that your community is protected against digital threats and so need security that you can trust.

“There is a temptation to ‘just use Zoom.’ This may be doing a disservice to the people that matter most, your clients and the community.”

AP launches new video content exchange platform

The Associated Press has launched a live video content and service exchange platform to help provide live coverage of breaking news and events around the world.

AP Live Community helps to connect live video publishers and contributors across borders, enabling broadcasters to book service providers to cover stories simply and at low cost. The service will allow publishers to deliver live content of breaking stories and events where coverage would not otherwise be feasible.

The project has been developed in partnership with video broadcasting platform LiveU. It will work alongside the AP global news infrastructure offered by AP Global Media Services, which includes fixed studio and live positions in 30 sites around the world and live footage of international events.

The free-to-access platform uses LiveU’s technology as the basis for automatic pairing via the AP Live Community’s platform. AP will manage billing, saving both video producers and consumers from arranging individual payments.

Content producers will be able to maximise revenue by offering assets to multiple publishers, while local video crews will deliver cost savings by using regional knowledge to save time and resources.

AP Business Development Director Paul Shanley said: “As demand for live content increases, [AP Live Community] eliminates the complexity broadcasters currently face in having to source video production crews who are able to competently deliver live coverage.”

French government mulls investment in Alcatel-Lucent — report

The French government may buy a minority stake in Alcatel-Lucent SA (EPA:ALU) as part of efforts to protect the telecommunications equipment company’s patents, Bloomberg reported today citing insiders.

An anonymous government official said that the investment was one of the options being contemplated, after in December the company agreed a EUR2bn (USD2.6bn) financing deal with Credit Suisse Group AG (NYSE:CS) and Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:GS), partially secured with its intellectual property. The purchase is reportedly likely to be carried out via state vehicle Fonds Strategique d’Investissement SA (FSI).

Other options being considered by the government include a combination between Alcatel-Lucent and rival Nokia Siemens Networks BV, as well as an investment in the French firm’s undersea cable business. According to the sources, the government will take a decision concerning its involvement in Alcatel-Lucent after the company names a successor to CEO Ben Verwaayen.

A spokesman for the French finance ministry, as well as representatives of Alcatel-Lucent, Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs declined to comment. Bloomberg could not immediately contact a representative of the FSI for comment.

America Movil completes share offer for Royal KPN

Mexican telecommunications group America Movil SAB de CV (NYSE:AMX) announced the completion of its EUR8.00 (USD10.06) per share partial offer for Royal KPN NV (AMS:KPN) saying it had bought the targeted 27.7% stake in the Dutch telecommunications and ICT services provider.

On 27 June when the EUR2.6bn partial offer expired, AMX said that 562.5m KPN shares, or 39.66%, had been tendered to its bid since its launch on 30 May.

As by the deadline, the Mexican group had already piled up a 24.91% KPN interest through deals outside the offer, AMX said it would accept only a 2.82% stake tendered under the offer, representing around 7.11% of the tendered stock.

The partial offer succeeded despite the opposition by KPN management and supervisory boards which deemed it opportunistic and undervaluing the company’s potential.

In its current statement, AMX said that via this investment it had reached its goal to secure a meaningful minority stake in KPN which has a good position in significant European markets.

The Mexican group will settle on 3 July the payments for the KPN stock tender under the bid, it said.

AMX, which held 4.8% in KPN before launching the partial offer, sees this deal as an opportunity to expand outside the Americas as it sees geographic diversification to be key to its growth. This is its largest investment in Europe so far, the buyer has said, adding it would use own cash resources to finance it.

KPN had 44.5m subscribers at the end of 2011.

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America Movil’s secures a 21% stake in Dutch KPN

Mexican telecommunications group America Movil SAB de CV (NYSE:AMX) announced it had reached a 20.92% ownership level in Royal KPN NV (AMS:KPN) after buying further shares of the Dutch telecommunications and ICT services provider in a number of transactions.

Following these deals, including 27 transactions outside regular market trading, AMX holds 299.52m KPN ordinary shares, the buyer said. The Mexican group paid prices ranging from EUR7.51 (USD9.44) to EUR7.70 a share for the additional KPN stock, it said.

AMX is carrying out a EUR8.00 per share partial offer aimed at securing a stake of 27.7% in KPN. The company, which held 4.8% in KPN before launching the partial offer on 30 May, said the EUR2.6bn bid would stay open for acceptance until 27 June, unless extended.

With this move, the Mexican telecom wants to expand outside the Americas, betting on geographic diversification as key to its growth after it had so far provided it with increased profit and cash flow stability as well as strong ratings, it has said.

Meanwhile, KPN’s management and supervisory boards, reiterated their advice to shareholders against the offer which they deemed opportunistic and undervaluing the company’s potential.

As alternative to the bid, the boards looked into options to sell German mobile business E-Plus and create shareholder value superior to AMX’ offer. This process, however, failed to lead to a deal, with KNP blaming the outcome on “adverse” financial markets conditions. However, KPN said the process had revealed potential significant synergy value via in-country consolidation in Germany.

The Dutch group also plans to start in July the sale of its KPN Group Belgium (BASE) unit, after completing the review of this business, saying it would use the funds from the sale to boost its credit profile and financial position.

For AMX, this is its largest investment in Europe so far, it has said, adding it would use own cash resources to finance it.

For more on AMX’s stakebuilding in KPN, click here.

Mexico’s America Movil continues building a stake in Dutch KPN

Mexican telecommunications group America Movil SAB de CV (NYSE:AMX) said it had bought further 3.7m shares of Royal KPN NV (AMS:KPN) in a transaction outside regular market trading and raised its stake in the Dutch telecommunications and ICT services provider to 8.12%.

The additional stock was bought at a price per share of EUR7.90 (USD9.95), AMX said.

The Mexican group is currently carrying out a EUR2.6bn partial offer aimed at increasing its KPN stake to 27.7%. AMX, which had 4.8% in KPN before launching the partial offer on 30 May, has said that the EUR8.00 a share bid will run until 27 June, unless extended.

AMX is using this deal to expand outside the Americas, as it views geographic diversification to be key to its growth after it had so far provided it with increased profit and cash flow stability as well as strong ratings, it has said.

KPN’s management and supervisory boards, however, deemed the offer opportunistic and undervaluing the company’s potential and had advised shareholders not to tender their stock to it.

Arguing against the offer, the boards said that it fails to reflect the value derived from KPN’s current transition of its Dutch business and its profitable growth in Germany and Belgium.

As an alternative, the Dutch group’s boards have proposed to start a strategic review of the company’s German business E-Plus in addition to the ongoing review of its Belgian mobile operations, as they expect such a move to unlock superior value for shareholders.

The deal is AMX’s largest investment in Europe so far, it has said, adding it would use own cash resources to finance a deal.

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