Wednesday, May 19, 1999, Vol. 113, No. 100

Satellite feed Satellite feed The use of satellite technology streamlines training and continuing education in the corporate world By KATHLEEN BURT The Daily News In rooms across the country, nationally known speakers are training business people how to become better executives, make better investments and better market a product or business. The beauty of this training is it can be done by top names in the industry without paying hundreds of dollars to fly to the location of a speaking engagement. Technology has brought these speakers to Memphis time and time again. For example, Michael Dell, chief executive officer of Dell Computer, will appear via satellite broadcast in more than a dozen Edward Jones offices in Memphis on June 30. This hour-long broadcast is free to the public. Edward Jones has been hosting broadcasts with high-caliber executives such as Dell since 1994. The investment firm uses the satellite system so often, in fact, it put its own satellite in space to use for the broadcasts. "We are exceptionally odd in the investment industry in that one of the best pieces of marketing we have is this satellite system," said Kent Mathis, investment representative for Edward Jones. "Its a great tool for Jones because we do the investment business so different. Were more one-on-one. This is another thing that sets us apart." Through the satellite broadcast system, Jones can conduct interviews and training sessions with chief executive officers and hold continuing education sessions and general business seminars on a wide range of topics. The schedule of upcoming events and the list of local branches is available at "Dell is one of the highest traded stocks on the market on a daily basis. Its a widely traded company. For the CEO of a widely traded company like that to, in essence, come to your local brokers office and you to be able to talk to him, thats very exciting," Mathis said. These broadcasts usually open with the speaker making comments, which can range from broad to narrow topics, and a question-and-answer segment at the end. When Jones does a seminar, especially one of the caliber of the upcoming event, there is a festival-like atmosphere surrounding the broadcast, Mathis said. "We encourage people to get there about 30 minutes early. There are refreshments and everybody mingles and talks a little bit, and we have information about the company. For this event, well try to have some Dell pins laying around, just to try and make it a festival, a fun night out," he said. Jones is planning to put another satellite into orbit near the end of the year. With the new satellite, Mathis said, real-time technology and Internet messaging for questions should become available. While Edward Jones uses its satellite to inform the public, other organizations use satellite technology to provide continuing education for those within the profession. One such organization is the Memphis Bar Association, which regularly hosts continuing legal education for members. The MBA has used satellite broadcasts for continuing education for about 10 years, said executive director Anne Fritz. "There are national topics or topics that are more narrow in scope that there arent very many people involved with here. Since there are usually not that many people involved in it, its not worthwhile for us to do a seminar on that, but since theyre broadcasting it nationally, people can come and learn about that," Fritz said. "They can hear national speakers without having to travel outside to a conference or something like that." The schedule of CLE events is available on the MBA Web site at The travel aspect is one of the biggest advantages to using the satellite feed. "From a scheduling standpoint, its more cost effective. Also from back office support, travel agents and getting people to the airport, its less expensive," said Jay Myers, president and chief executive officer of Interactive Solutions Inc. in Collierville. Myers company deals with satellite technology and video conferencing. But, he said, the Internet will become a large player in the conferencing picture this summer with the introduction of Internet protocol video streaming. Video streaming is technology that brings one-way communication and almost real-time moving pictures to computers around the world. Sitting in front of a computer monitor to hear and see a speaker would eliminate bringing people together in conference rooms and allow hundreds of participants to receive training without leaving their offices. Interactive Solutions is hosting a seminar on the new technology June 16-17. As technology advances and computers improve, a seamless video stream will become reality, allowing for events such as music videos and live television to be viewed the instant they are broadcast. "Its a very dynamic industry that is hitting its stride now," Myers said.