World Trade Centers Association Hopes Streaming Turns Education into a Revenue Source

For most of the world’s population, the World Trade Center ceased to exist in late 2001. But for Guy Tozzoli, project manager on the Twin Towers and president of the World Trade Centers Association (WTCA), the WTC lives on through almost 300 World Trade Centers scattered across the globe.

Almost every major city—including Tehran, Baghdad, and Kabul—has a World Trade Center. In all, almost 750,000 businesses are members of a WTC somewhere in the world. The WTCA, in business since 1970 and nominated each year for the last decade for a Nobel Prize, is also instrumental in back-channel negotiations on critical global issues.

Like any global organization, though, the WTC faces the challenge of educating its members on new opportunities and process improvements. The cost to put the word out to each of the approximately 300 WTC executive directors is costly enough, let alone the cost to educate a quarter of a million WTC members. So the financial burden, as the organization grows, has continued to grow dramatically.

As such, a prototype project has been underway for the last two years with Phoenix-based Global 100, LLC to address education as an earnings source rather than a cost burden to the organization. And streaming appears to be a key factor in not only keeping costs in check, but also providing revenues for the non-profit association.

The educational model is straightforward and has been used before in localized pockets: costs for educational design and initial live delivery by a trusted source, such as a college professor, is covered by a sponsor company whose product is then used as a case study of how the product or service fits the solution. That delivery model doesn’t scale, though, without the use of technologies to deliver the live event to other locations around the world.

"The use of streaming, especially live, is critical to providing timely information to the wide range of WTC member companies," said Raymond Carolin, managing partner of Global 100, LLC. "Live streaming allows one location to host the event, at no cost to the host location, and also allows the host location to invite those who might not be able to attend in person due to time or travel constraints."

The host location is also able to charge non-members to attend the events, whether on-site or via a streaming link. Once the event is completed, the event is archived in a high quality version and then transcoded to high-quality streams complete with embedded presentation details such as PowerPoint slides.

To scale the model from a prototype to a working system, Global 100 presented its model to about 100 WTC executive directors this week in New York at the WTCA’s annual training seminar. An example was shown whereby would provide sponsorship of a CRM process educational program, which then would be taught by a professor from a nationally known university.

"We see a potential value for our members as we start up our World Trade Center," says Sheena Tuyet Nguyen, general director of ACM Company, Ltd., which owns the WTC license in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. "Our members need to understand how to work with suppliers and customers on a global stage, but can’t afford to fly to many training seminars. So joining a live event through streaming—even if it means our members need to be awake at 2 a.m.—is much more attainable than traveling to a distant location just for educational training."

To better serve the global WTC base, and to identify WTC members that might be generating a significant amount of business from global trade, Global 100 also plans an annual award where 100 companies are chosen from the hundreds nominated by World Trade Center membership around the world. The Global 100 Awards ceremony, which will be sponsored by a group of key businesses whose services are of benefit to WTC members, will also be streamed.

"We think that global businesses, and global organizations like the WTC, are information driven" says Global 100’s Carolin. "Our goal is to help those global businesses decrease the time to receive key pertinent information. We also think that global businesses should act as showcases and champions of technologies that are shrinking the world business stage, showing small businesses that are thinking about going global how to rapidly get up to speed."

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