Aetna Selects Microsoft Windows Media as Corporate Digital Media Solution

REDMOND, Wash., Jan. 27, 2000 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that Aetna Inc. (NYSE
“AET” ), a leading provider of health plans, retirement benefit plans and financial services, has selected Microsoft® Windows Media TM streaming technology as the exclusive digital media solution for its interactive employee training programs. Aetna has deployed the Windows Media corporate streaming solution to 35,000 employee desktops and plans to add it to another 15,000 desktops in the next year.

Aetna has used Windows Media to create virtual company meetings streamed live to every PC desktop in the company, a solution that has brought Aetna executives closer to their geographically dispersed employees. Spurred by the initial quality and effectiveness Windows Media delivered for Aetna’s internal communication, the company now plans to expand its use of Windows Media to include knowledge management, virtual employee training, and its use in external media relations programs and customer education. Aetna estimates this investment will pay for itself easily in the next year in reduced travel and training costs, on top of the benefits of more dynamic and immediate internal communication. Aetna’s actions demonstrate the growing momentum among large organizations turning to Windows Media as their scalable end-to-end digital media solution for corporate communications.

Aetna’s Large Constituency Ideal for Windows Media

In the past few years, Aetna has established a leadership role in the health insurance industry by aggressively leveraging Internet technologies to improve the delivery of information to its diverse audiences. In 1999, Aetna turned to Windows Media to enhance its communications — and ultimately save millions of dollars in operating costs. Aetna chose the Windows Media platform because it offered a superior solution in both technology compatibility and implementation cost.

“We are committed to making the innovative use of technology our competitive differential,”
said John Brighton, chief information officer for Aetna.
“Windows Media streaming audio and video technology is helping us bring our employees closer together to deliver timely, mission-critical business information at Internet speed.”

The Big Debut: Company Executive Streamed Live to 35,000 Employee PCs

This past summer, Aetna saw a perfect opportunity to incorporate streaming video into its corporate communications infrastructure. The company was acquiring Prudential Health Services, a major event that was going to add 15,000 employees and millions of subscribers to the Aetna family. Aetna executives knew they wanted to immediately announce the event to employees and quickly saw a digital media solution from Windows Media as the best solution for delivering the news. Two hours after the Prudential acquisition closed on Aug. 6, Aetna was able to distribute an immediate video broadcast of Aetna U.S. Healthcare President Mike Cardillo delivering the news to all employees without downtime and without overloading the network.

Low Deployment Cost, High Return on Investment

Brighton estimates that Windows Media will rapidly pay for itself and bring new value to the company’s intranet infrastructure investments. The company plans to use Windows Media to help employees direct their own interactive training courses. Aetna also plans to make optimal use of Windows Media in the areas of knowledge management, customer education and public relations.

“Over the next three years, I estimate Aetna will save half a million dollars in training costs alone,”
Brighton said.
“And with travel, probably double that.”

Aetna will soon convert its extensive video library into Windows Media format, enabling faster and more efficient distribution of business information across the company. Aetna will also use Windows Media as part of its Web initiative to better educate its members about their health plans, which could eventually save millions in printing costs. Finally, Aetna has plans to use Windows Media as a proactive tool for disseminating news and information to the media, and the company will soon produce its own videotaped news releases.

“Windows Media was dead-on with our Windows NT® infrastructure,”
Brighton said.
“The compatibility with our existing Microsoft desktop and server software, as well as its cost-effectiveness, made it an easy decision.”

Aetna joins a growing list of major companies that depend on Windows Media as their corporate digital media platform provider, including Hewlett-Packard Co., Ernst & Young, Partners HealthCare Systems Inc., Deere & Co., Northrop Grumman, Eastman Chemical Co., 3Com Corp. and Fujitsu PC.

About Windows Media

Windows Media is the leading digital media platform, providing consumers, content providers, solution providers, software developers and corporations with unmatched audio and video quality. Windows Media Technologies, which includes Windows Media Player, Windows Media Services, Windows Media Tools and the Windows Media SDK, is available for free* download at . The Windows Media Player is the fastest growing media player. More than 50 million copies have been downloaded to date – growing by more than one every second.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software – any time, any place and on any device.

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