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Macromedia's solution is blowin' in the wind.

Macromedia's updated system of online communications is not "breezy" in the sense that it's egregious or without weight--it is simply a breath of fresh air. And, rather, it is of ample attributes that can contribute to every aspect of an enterprise's reliably quick and qualitative online communications.

The Macromedia Breeze Live 5 system delivers complete solutions for online communication in three areas:

* Rapid training offers on-demand and real-time curriculum management for new-hire training. Historically the most sought-after aspect of this system, the solution essentially offers faster, high-impact training through quick creation, management, deployment and tracking. Further, there are self-paced, narrated, multimedia training courses and live virtual classes, as well as new quiz types.

* Marketing and sales functions enable organizations of this sort to deliver high-impact online communications that are easily and instantly accessed. In driving leads and engaging prospects through narrated, multimedia presentations, Breeze can offer greater reach and shorter sales cycles.

* Enterprise Web conferencing delivers on-premise control, enterprise scalability and broad extensibility, supporting more than 2,000 attendees in a single meeting. The highly scalable system can be hosted on-premise, and is based on an open, extensible architecture that supports integration with existing and evolving infrastructures.

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At the base of the system is the core Breeze Communication Server. The single-server solution enables multi-server configuration with automated failover, ensuring continuous system performance. The new, optional Edge Servers enable Breeze deployment notes throughout an organization's network to consolidate and cache streams and content. Scalability of the Breeze Communication Server has also been improved, providing support for clustered environments and Edge Servers, which can be scaled to thousands of concurrent users. As well, directory services integration has been added, enabling out-of-the-box integration with organizations' existing user management systems. The CSV file import capability allows customers to bulk import users and groups. There are numerous other new features and functions added to or improved upon in Macromedia's Breeze Communication Server, including those that focus on content and delivery management, reporting and branding.

In addition to the server capabilities, there are four principal functions that compose the online communication system: Breeze Meeting, for real-time meetings and seminars; Breeze Presenter, for PowerPoint authoring of narrated, self-paced e-learning courses and on-demand presentations; Breeze Training, for managing e-learning courses and curriculum; and Breeze Events, for managing user registration, reminders and tracking for large online events and presentations.

The primary differentiator of Breeze from WebEx, IBM or Microsoft Web communications, though, is the way in which Breeze takes advantage of Macromedia Flash Player for servicing audio and video into business conferencing, according to Michael Fitzpatrick, Macromedia's senior product manager. Breeze is deployed using Macromedia Flash Player. (Flash Player is already installed on nearly 98 percent of browsers worldwide, according to Macromedia.) So it is likely that all of the enterprise's users already have everything they need to instantly access Breeze meetings, presentations and training.

Further, Breeze 5 includes adaptive streaming of audio and video, and it includes integrated support for Talking Head Video, enabling authors to import prerecorded Flash Video files into Breeze on-demand presentations.

"Breeze is like WebEx on steroids," Steve Nelson, CIO and director of IT at the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association (AzHAA), touts on Macromedia's Web site.

(The AzHAA is using Macromedia Breeze Live to replace on-site training sessions; it will save AzHHA clients approximately $800 in travel costs for each individual the company needs trained. According to Macromedia, Breeze will pay for itself in member travel costs within one year.)

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With version 5, Macromedia offers more than 50 new features in its server and modules, nearly all of which were added by request of customers of the previous versions. In addition to those already mentioned, other key enhancements to the new Breeze applications are as follows: an improved Meeting interface and reusable Meeting templates; extensive branding; an audio conference bridge integration API; presentation viewer customization; dashboard reporting; and integration with third-party content (as well as Macromedia).

The modules are offered both as individual and packaged offerings. The Breeze Live system, as a whole, offers real-time and on-demand online communication that has been enhanced in its features, richness, reach and platform. Delivered as either a hosted or an on-premise solution, Breeze can be up and running within 15 minutes--so quick you'll feel the draft.

www.macromedia.com

For information and subscriptions, visit www.TMCnet.com or call 203-852-6800.

(Editor's note: Please see sidebar to this article for news of Macromedia's acquisition by Adobe.)

RELATED ARTICLE: Adobe To Acquire Macromedia

Adobe Systems Incorporated has announced a definitive agreement to acquire Macromedia in an all-stock transaction valued at approximately $3.4 billion. Adobe is a provider of software for creating, managing and delivering high-impact digital content.

The combination of Adobe and Macromedia is aimed at providing customers with a more powerful set of solutions for creating, managing and delivering compelling content and experiences across multiple operating systems, devices and media. Together, the two companies will be able to meet a wider set of customer needs and have a significantly greater opportunity to grow into new markets, particularly in the mobile and enterprise segments.

The two companies are developing integration plans that build on the cultural similarities and the best business and product development practices from each company

"Both Macromedia and Adobe are passionate about creating and enabling great experiences across a wide range of devices and operating systems," said Macromedia President and CEO Stephen Elop, who will join Adobe as president of worldwide field operations. "Our combined teams will be a powerful force for innovation around cutting-edge platforms for delivering content and applications."

The acquisition is expected to close in Fall 2005, as of this issue's printing. www.adobe.com

By David R. Butcher, Assistant Editor, Customer Inter@ction Solutions
COPYRIGHT 2005 Technology Marketing Corporation
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2005, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Technology Highlights
Author:Butcher, David R.
Publication:Customer Interaction Solutions
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2005
Words:958
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