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Enabling Employee Communication in the Distributed Retail Environment

This White Paper demonstrates how the Hughes media appliance enables rich-media communication within a distributed retail enterprise. The primary market segment addressed in this White Paper is the distributed retail enterprise.

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This White Paper demonstrates how the Hughes media appliance enables rich-media communication within a distributed retail enterprise. The primary market segment addressed in this White Paper is the distributed retail enterprise.


Today’s business environment is dynamic. New products, price changes, and product promotions are everyday occurrences. Retail employees must be knowledgeable to maximize sales. Video is a widely accepted and frequently expected method of communicating information to a target audience. The availability of rich-media on the Internet is changing the expectations of employees on how we deliver information to them. The ability to find content and “watch their way to knowledge” is becoming the standard.

Use Cases

Employee Information, Training, and Service Delivery
Retailers are rapidly turning to tablets and smartphones as tools they provide to their managers and in-store staff. They want the employees to have access to rich-media information about the products and services they offer. They also want these employees to use the devices to help customers understand products and services. Having electronic bookshelves of content that employees can review and share with their customers gives employees the ability to better serve their customers on the spot.

Sharing Best Practices Within the Organization
In today‘s retail environment speed is imperative. The ability to adapt to changing market conditions, customer interests, and other dynamic influences is critical. The best source of ideas comes from your “front line” employees. These same employees are very comfortable with today’s social media and the idea of sharing thoughts and ideas digitally. Using tablets and smartphones, they can capture their ideas and share them with their co-workers and the broader organization.

Customer Information
The Internet has changed how we shop. Consumers have an expectation that they can search and get information about a product or service in near real time. Customers want to access information while they are shopping, and retailers are recognizing this fact. Whether the retailer provides a branded application or simply wants to provide access to Web-based content, the ability to deliver the rich-media content locally rather than over a limited cellular connection is important. Having the video and images delivered quickly to the customer’s device will improve the overall experience and create a positive impression for the retailer.

Solution Components

Hughes Security
Integrated into the development of Hughes solutions is the understanding of the need for complete data and network security. Hughes provides IP data encryption, which secures the data transmissions, ensuring confidentiality and file integrity. The Hughes solution also includes receiver-side authorizations, which allow the customer to control who receives files and who can view live events.

Hughes MediaGate Server
The Hughes MediaGate Server (MGS) is the central management component of a Hughes media network. Located in the customer data center, the Hughes MGS provides content distribution and management services to the entire network.

Hughes HS3400 Media Appliance
The Hughes HS3400 enables the simple, secure, and reliable delivery of digital media content for training, signage, corporate communications, streaming video, and much more. Content can be accessed through a Web browser interface or directly on the device using the remote or LCD front control panel.

Hughes Content Distribution
The Hughes HS3400 is a content distribution receiver, and working with the Hughes MediaGate Server, acts as a content repository for many applications. Content can be organized and delivered to all or selected devices on the network, and, once resident on the Hughes HS3400, it can be accessed by other IP devices on the Local Area Network (LAN) at the remote site. The Hughes content distribution solution supports both multicast and unicast delivery and can operate in a mixed environment as well.

Hughes Video on Demand
Hughes includes an application installed on the Hughes media appliance to provide managed Video on Demand (VoD) services. The Hughes VoD application allows the customer to organize and distribute video assets from a central location to remote sites. At the remote site, users are able to access the content either directly on the Hughes media appliance using a handheld remote control or they can access the VoD content from a desktop PC or other Web-browser-enabled device such as a tablet or smartphone.

How It All Works

Content Creation and Delivery
Once content is created and it is determined which locations should receive it, the content is uploaded to the Hughes MediaGate Server through a simple browser interface. The content is then organized into categories and scheduled for delivery to the selected remote sites. Based on the availability of the Wide Area Network (WAN), the content is delivered to the remote sites.

Upon arrival at the remote site, the content is organized on the Hughes media appliance as outlined at the headend. The content is now available for consumption by end users. The content can be organized into categories, which makes it easier for users to find the content they wish to view. There is also an optional local content submission service available on the Hughes media appliance.

Desktop PC Access
If the customer attaches the Hughes media appliance to a LAN at the remote site, users can connect using a desktop PC and Web browser. Within this browser interface, the user can view the same On-Demand content that is available from the direct access menus on the Hughes media appliance. The customer can place both corporate content (distributed from the data center) and locally uploaded content (available only to the local store employees). The locally uploaded content can be placed on the Hughes media appliance by the store manager and made available for local viewing.

Local Content Management and Content Sharing
The local store manager (using an assigned password) can manage the local content on the Hughes media appliance. Within the “Admin” tab on the desktop browser interface, the store manager can upload content and delete local content. Store managers cannot remove corporate content.

Tablet and Smartphone Access
Users can also attach to the Hughes media appliance using browser-enabled devices such as tablets and smartphones. These devices simply point their browsers at the Hughes media appliance, and users are able to see and interact with the content on the branch server. Content is presented in a familiar and simple-to- use interface. Users can select videos to watch and rate them. Cumulative ratings are displayed with the video list.

In-store Shelf Edge Messaging
A growing trend in the retail industry is the use of QR Codes to lead consumers to Web sites and other information about products and services. The Hughes media appliance supports the use of QR Codes as a means for smart devices to connect and view content stored on the Hughes media appliance.

Program Guide and Event Viewing
The Hughes media appliance supports live multicast event viewing. Access to live events is controlled using the Hughes MediaGate Server at the headend. Multiple channels can be created depending on the available bandwidth.

Another feature of the Hughes media appliance is the ability to create “file playback” channels. These appear in the program guide as standard channels but are actually playing local files on a schedule, giving the user the experience of linear television viewing without the bandwidth required to stream multiple channels.

Digital Bulletin Board for Employee Communications
To further extend the communication value of the Hughes media appliance, it can also be used as a digital bulletin board when it is not being used to view live events or video-on-demand content. The Hughes media appliance will automatically enter bulletin board mode when it is idle for a specific amount of time. The layout and content of the bulletin board mode are centrally managed. Local store managers can be given access to add content to the playlist using the same “Admin” tab as they do for local video-on-demand content.


Hughes is providing corporate communication and employee training solutions that offer high quality, easy-to-use content access. Gone are the days in which outdated content creates employee and customer confusion within the stores. Gone are the days when content is not easily customized and immediately available in the local language. Gone are the days when retailers cannot quickly and effectively communicate with in-store personnel.

The integrated Hughes solution will not only make retailers more competitive, but it will save them money in operating expenses, lost productivity, and employee training and communication costs. This integration provides a comprehensive enterprise-wide corporate communications infrastructure that can deliver digital content to employees and customers.


  • Provide users with on-demand access to content anytime and anywhere

  • Access materials from an easy- to-use program guide and Web interface

  • Enable the distribution of content to geographically dispersed locations

  • Platform for local recording, caching, streaming, and management of video content

  • Easy to install and configure