Using an Intranet to Disseminate Internal Corporate News

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 Using an Internet to Disseminate Internal Corporate News  





Keeping everyone in a corporation up to date about the latest news in the corporation is a never-ending, often impossible task. It's particularly difficult in large corporations with many departments and divisions that are geographically separated.

There are many ways that intranets can be used to solve the problem and keep everyone in a corporation informed about corporate news. Corporations can post their company newsletter on intranet Web pages. Because Web pages can be updated so much more quickly than newsletters can be created-and because there is no delivery time involved-the newsletter can be far more up to date than traditional printed newsletters and, with no printing and mailing costs, Web newsletters are less expensive, too.

Intranets can also be used to deliver literally up-to-the minute news flashes. The Java programming language can be used to create news tickers that can flash the breaking news across the top of the newsletter home page. Intranet broadcast technologies can be used that will send out a news flash to everyone connected to the intranet that will run on top of whatever applications they're currently running. And electronic mail can be broadcast to everyone inside a company with important news, such as press releases, or news about quarterly corporate earnings.

An intranet can also deliver more in-depth information in more involving ways. Audio clips and video clips can be delivered via streaming technologies, so that people can listen to interviews with corporate executives, for example, or see news reports about the company.

An intriguing technology for delivering news to intranets is so-called offline news readers. With this technology, corporate news-and news from the outside world-can be delivered to everyone on an intranet.

Offline news readers work on a client/server model. An offline news server carries the latest corporate news. To update the news on the server, someone only needs to fill out an HTML-based form, and that information is put into the proper format for broadcast. Only certain people on the intranet are allowed to update the news on the server.

Since people on an intranet may want to read news about the outside world, not just about the company itself, the offline news server also has on it that kind of news as well. The server gets this news by connecting to another news server on the Internet, which sends it the information.

To read the news, people need an offline news client. The client connects with the server at intervals set by each user, and downloads the news. People can customize their news feeds to get only the kind of news they're interested in. Once the news has been delivered to their local computer, they can use the client software to read the news. They can also click on links in the news stories that will launch a Web browser, and then contact a site that has more information about that particular story.

Disseminating Corporate News and Documents via an Intranet

It's often difficult for people within a corporation to keep abreast of company news. Using a variety of technologies, intranets can broadcast and make available the most up-do-date corporate news. Pictured here is the way that our fictional record company CyberMusic uses their intranet to deliver corporate news and information.

  • The CyberMusic company newsletter, which is updated weekly, is posted publicly on an intranet Web server. Employees can contact the server at their leisure to read the latest corporate news.
  • A Java ticker runs across the top of the newsletter page. This ticker is used to display news alerts and the latest news. It is updated every hour of the working day, so that people can read the most up-to-date news about CyberMusic, such as which recording artists have recently been signed, and where CyberMusic records are on the record charts. Every time a person views the newsletter, the most up-to-date news is downloaded for display by the Java ticker.
  • Electronic mail is used to send everyone on the intranet the same information that is being sent to the outside world. For example, at CyberMusic, every time a press release is issued, that release is also sent via e-mail to everyone in the corporation.
  • An intranet can be used to deliver instant "alerts" to anyone connected to the intranet. Server broadcasts can be directed to every person connected to the intranet based on their TCP address. These broadcasts are not host specific and appear over whatever application is running. "Offline news readers" can be used as a way to deliver intranet news to everyone at CyberMusic. This software works on a client/server model: The client connects to the server and gets the news. Anyone can then read the latest news while at their own computer. See the next illustration to see how offline news readers work.
  • From the Web newsletter, there are links to discussion areas, so that people can discuss the latest happenings at CyberMusic. The discussion areas are used not only to air people's opinions, but also so that anyone in the corporation can publicly post notes about what is happening in their department. These discussion areas take advantage of the Network News Transfer Protocol used by USENET.
  • CyberMusic uses streaming audio technology to deliver the news. Streaming audio lets people listen to news reports over the intranet, from their computer. At CyberMusic, this audio news includes clips from the latest records released, and interviews with corporate executives.
  • CyberMusic also uses streaming video technology, which allows people to see and hear videos across the intranet, while at their computers. Anyone working for CyberMusic can watch any video made by any CyberMusic artist, while seated at their computer, using streaming video technology.

Using Offline Web Readers to Deliver Corporate Information

One way that intranets can be used to easily and effectively deliver corporate news to people is to use so-called "offline readers"-software that allows people to read news by having it automatically retrieved by their own computer, instead of forcing them to connect to a Web or other intranet server to get the information. Pictured here is a popular offline reader called PointCast. Offline news readers like PointCast can retrieve intranet news as well as news from the Internet.

  • When an intranet administrator wants to have news delivered to people's desktop computers on the intranet, he or she fills out an HTML-based form that contains all the information to be delivered. The form can include news stories, as well as URLs that people can connect to.
  • PointCast software on an intranet server converts information in this HTML form into a format that it will use to make the news available.
  • As a security measure, only authorized people have access to filling out the form, or have access to the intranet PointCast server. If someone wants news delivered via PointCast, they will have to contact an individual who has the rights to use the server.
  • PointCast can be used to deliver news other than just intranet news, in a variety of topics, including breaking news stories, politics, business, entertainment, sports, financial information, and more. In order to deliver this non-intranet-created news, the intranet PointCast server connects to a server on PointCast's Internet site, and downloads the news. This news now resides on the intranet server, along with intranet news.
  • In order to get news delivered to them, people on an intranet must have the PointCast client software. People can customize what kind of news they want delivered to them-for example, to get sports but not entertainment, politics but not weather. An intranet administrator can set it up so that everyone will receive intranet news, however.
  • Using the PointCast client, the person can now read the news on his or her own computer. The software can also be set up as a screen saver so that when the computer is idle for a certain amount of time, the news will flash across the person's screen.
  • At set times determined by each individual, the PointCast client software connects to the intranet PointCast server. The software downloads the news that the person has requested. A person can also manually tell the client software to download the news at any time requested.
  • Often, in news and intranet stories, there are URLs to sites that have further information. When that link is clicked upon, an Internet browser is launched, and the specified site is contacted. The person can now read more in-depth news. For example, on an intranet, a brief news story may go out about the company's quarterly earnings. A link to a Web site could be embedded in the story that would have more in-depth financial information, and links to corporate financial database.




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