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New Networked Multimedia Alliance Meets Initial Goals, Details Plan to Speed Development of Technologies, Applications; BAMTA Provides Diverse Industries With New Model For Collaboration.

SANTA CLARA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 1, 1995--The Bay Area Multimedia Technology Alliance (BAMTA), today announced that it has met all of its initial milestones for membership, funding and activation of projects. The new global alliance for networked multimedia, which held its first open membership meeting in August 1995, has already grown to 49 member organizations, raised more than $2.2 million in cash and in-kind funding donations, and is supporting five projects.

In a press briefing today, BAMTA described its objectives, organization and initial programs. The broad-based alliance provides a framework for companies and public institutions of all sizes to collaborate on programs that will accelerate the development of networked multimedia technologies and applications. This collaboration will bring together companies and institutions responsible for content, management, transport and use of digital information across a wide range of applications in business, academic and consumer markets.

BAMTA, the latest initiative of Smart Valley, Inc., was formed in cooperation with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), which will contribute $5 million to the Alliance over a three-year period. In the fiscal year ending September 30, 1995, contributions from other BAMTA members exceeded NASA's $1 million contribution by 20 percent. In its initial plan, BAMTA also had projected that its membership would include 10 companies and three projects would be activated by the end of September.

"The success in surpassing initial goals for membership and matching contributions is proof that the alliance meets a pressing need within both technology industries and public institutions," said Dr. Harry J. Saal, chairman of BAMTA and past president of Smart Valley, Inc. "Although it was created as one of Smart Valley's initiatives to foster regional public-private collaborations centered around the information superhighway, BAMTA is quickly growing into a global alliance, with Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area acting as a nexus for organizations from around the world."

Broad Representation

BAMTA's 49 member organizations, from throughout the U.S. and as far away as Australia, represent every part of the networked multimedia value chain. This includes organizations involved in the creation, management, transport and ultimate end-use of networked multimedia technologies and applications (see attached member list). While each member organization has specific reasons for its involvement, all will benefit from BAMTA's unique collaborative operating model.

"The collaborative environment provided by BAMTA allows member organizations to achieve concrete goals and create new value in emerging industries," said Neal Chandra, president and CEO of BAMTA. "To accelerate the development of open systems solutions in networked multimedia, virtual organizations that build teams of people with diverse skills, from both industry and the public sector, can be more effective than a single company or small group of partners. BAMTA serves as the framework for these virtual organizations to come together and accomplish their specific missions."

"BAMTA provides a link between NASA's Ames Research Center and the networking and multimedia technology industry, to identify applications in aeronautics and space where significant gains in NASA's multimedia capabilities and use can be accomplished. This will enable NASA to link, improve and enhance its internal research laboratories and infrastructure, and to design future real and virtual aerospace systems," said Dr. Syed Shariq, Chief of the Ames Commercial Technology Office. "Networked multimedia will play a key role in NASA's overall effort to deliver better, cheaper and faster programs, and this alliance represents an exciting aspect of NASA's new way to do business with American industry."

Objectives Defined

BAMTA defines networked multimedia as both the technology and applications that allow distribution of any combination of voice, text, images, video and audio information over communications networks, including computer networks, telecommunications services and cable systems. The BAMTA framework is focused on two concurrent efforts to advance networked multimedia: technology and partnership exploration and open systems solutions. Programs designed to support these efforts include:

- The Collaboratory: A multi-million dollar test lab and showcase facility, with high-bandwidth network connections, secure product development suites, digital production studios and training facilities for BAMTA member companies. Very few individual companies have the resources to build a facility of this kind.

- Projects: The major mechanism for BAMTA members to collaborate in applying technology to real-world applications of networked multimedia. Work is already underway on projects -- in education, health-care information and the development of virtual environments -- that require collaborative efforts across multiple industry segments.

- Information Exchange: Through membership meetings, participation in programs and projects, and BAMTA Web Site discussions and reports.

Through its projects and technology working groups, BAMTA is fostering seamless operation of networked multimedia, regardless of the platform or network used, by addressing interoperability, asset management and intellectual property rights issues. In these areas, BAMTA will work closely with other industry alliances and standards organizations to assure that its efforts are synergistic with in-place programs and industry processes.

Real-World Focus

Members are already benefiting from BAMTA's framework and focus on the validation of real-world applications. Multimedia Makers, a project using networked multimedia to enrich the learning experience for K-12 students, secured high-speed communications lines through Pacific Bell's CalREN grant program. Bay Networks, another BAMTA member, is providing the network connectivity hardware needed to bring this project on-line this year, and the BAMTA Collaboratory will house and maintain the server needed to support collaborative work between the schools, located in Santa Clara and Los Angeles County. Internet access will be provided through the Santa Clara County Office of Education.

Other active, or recently accepted, BAMTA projects are summarized below.

- CHAMP -- An interactive multimedia, health care information system designed to promote wellness and enable individuals to manage their own care more effectively.

- The Virtual Research Center -- A NASA led program, aimed at creating collaborative environments that allow teams of people to work together, regardless of physical location.

- Distance Learning Resources Internship Project -- A collaboration with California State University, Hayward's program for distance learning and education.

- Virtual Environment for Reconstructive Surgery -- Developing tools and techniques for surgical "rehearsals" and training of medical students.

More than 40 additional projects are currently being evaluated by BAMTA.

By providing the working environment, processes and tools to make collaborative work possible across all segments of networked multimedia, BAMTA is helping its members address the most complex issues hindering development of end-to-end systems that will change the way we all live, work and play. Thus, the ultimate measure of BAMTA's success will be in its contribution to the accelerated development of networked multimedia technology and applications.

Formed in April, 1995, with initial funding from NASA and support from Smart Valley, Inc., BAMTA is a member-driven organization that provides a framework for technology and partnership exploration and the development of open systems solutions in networked multimedia. BAMTA is organized as a non-profit corporation, with a board of directors consisting of private sector, industry leaders. Advisory and working committees chaired by alliance members approve and monitor all BAMTA projects. NASA is an active participant on BAMTA committees, as allowed by law. -0- AMTA: Membership Listing November 1, 1995

Arthur D. Little, Inc. Bay Networks Bell Centre for Creative Communications CADartists Inc. CSU-Hayward Caresoft, Inc. CCETT (Connecticut Center for Educational and Training Technologies) Communications Engineering, Inc. Cortez Software CyberHelp DynCorp (AeroTherm Corp.) Eastman Kodak epr (Electronic Publishing Resources) FORE Systems Informix Software Institute for Behavioral Healthcare Interactive Digital Solutions (SGI) Institute for Research on Learning (IRL) Interactive Multimedia Association Intercom Ontario Kairos Software Inc. Lockheed Martin: Media Systems Integration Group Madge Networks Multimedia Development Group MFP - Australia NASA Ames Research Center NEC Systems Laboratory, Inc. Neocreativity net.PROPHET Network General Network Imaging Corporation Pacific Bell Partnerships For Change Philips Multimedia Center Presenting Solutions RDC International Santa Clara County Office of Education, Regional Technology Center Rusher, Loscavio & LoPresto SEABA (Science Education Academy of the Bay Area) San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Smart Valley, Inc. Sterling Software Strategic Decisions Group Tandem Computers TELE-TV UB Networks Vital Pathways West Virginia High Technology Consortium Foundation World Institute on Disability


Terri Hodges, 408/562-7888


FS Communications

Matthew Schmidt/Wendy Lewis, 415/691-1488
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Date:Nov 1, 1995
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