Looking to offer more content-control features and to make Web-based conferencing more open to third-party content and service providers, Macromedia today announced a new version of Breeze. New in Breeze 5 are Voice over IP, on-demand video, and real-time multipoint video conferencing.
Breeze 5, like previous versions, taps the popularity of the Macromedia Flash Player, which the company says is installed on 98 percent of all PCs.
Because it's based on Flash technology, businesses can initiate online meeting or access presentations on-demand without needing to download additional software, which is what makes Breeze different than offerings from WebEx, IBM and Microsoft, Michael Fitzpatrick, senior product manager, Breeze, said. Fitzpatrick said. Of course, the larger question may be, are small and mid-sized businesses ready for Web-based conferencing?
"There are several reasons Breeze 5 is a compelling solution for small and medium businesses," Fitzpatrick said. "The ease and inherent flexibility removes technical barriers and allows end users to be successful without IT support," he said. "Breeze provides flexible pricing options to meet the needs of an organization, starting at .32 cents per minute."
|Macromedia Breeze 5 lets your customers access presentations on demand. You can also join them for a live video conference.|
Training, sales, marketing and internal communications are areas where SMBs can benefit from Breeze, Fitzpatrick said. Organizations of any size can offer either live and self-paced training using Breeze 5 features, including multi-course curriculum management, full-screen video, enhanced tracking and reporting, and expanded question and quiz type formats.
Customized meeting templates in Breeze 5 are designed to allow sales and marketing groups to reduce preparation time for recurring seminars, meetings and sales presentations through persistent meeting rooms already populated with high-impact content.
Offering Web-based conferencing as a platform that integrates with other services is important as many businesses are frustrated that conferencing often exists as a silo, far removed from a company's other applications, Fitzpatrick said. With that in mind, Breeze includes a telephone gateway that allow an organization to both use existing telephony bridges and access more options in-meeting call controls.
In related news, Macromedia and Premiere Global Services announced they will partner to offer integrated telephone audio conferencing in Breeze 5. Breeze 5 customers will be to control audio and access conference calling directly within the Breeze meeting room interface. Likewise, Premiere Global Services users can add Web communications to their audio conferences, according to the companies.
The hosted version of Macromedia Breeze 5 the option likely to be of the greatest interest to SMBs is available today, and the licensed product will be available at the end of the month. The company offers a variety of pricing models.
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