Call it distribution TV. Electronics distributors are increasingly using video to assist their customers.
Distributors aren't the only members of the supply chain to use video, but they do hold a unique position in the industry hierarchy. They represent a wide range of products from hundreds of component suppliers. Part of the channel's job is to understand how these products interact. Video presents the opportunity to show -- as well as tell -- how things are put together.
The catalog distributor element14 has assembled all its video offerings in one place, element14 TV. "Within our community, we see a lot of video content posted, and we've seen the popularity of video skyrocket," Diane Kibbey, global head of community and e-procurement for element14, told us. "We've assembled it so users have a single place to go and to view all the video content we have available."
Element14 is a sponsor of the Ben Heck Show, which features the hobbyist Ben Heckendorn building his creations. The Internet TV show has been a big draw for element14, which recently launched the A Day In the Life of an Engineer video series.
"Ben Heck building his designs has really resonated with our customers," says Kibbey. "We think the level of detail available in video is more interesting than just a lot of dry product detail. We've also seen that personality -- enthusiasm, humor -- is better than looking at a white board or a PowerPoint presentation."
Distributors and suppliers have been using video for product training, design and assembly demonstrations, and marketing programs. Element14 sees its offering as complementary to the other content it has available on its site, ranging from product datasheets to the embedded design site the knode.
"We want to give customers the choice of how they want to engage with us," says Kibbey. "Sometimes it's written, as with datasheets, but it can also be entertaining. We want to take whatever our customers are interested in and make it easy for them to find it."