KnowNow Offers Enterprise RSS

By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2005-05-16 Print this article Print

The messaging vendor introduces RSS software with features designed for enterprise needs, such as managing large-scale bandwidth use and controlling access.

A messaging company behind software for delivering real-time event information is turning its attention to the enterprise management of RSS and syndication feeds. KnowNow Inc. on Monday announced server software that aggregates RSS feeds and builds subscription and access controls into the delivery of feeds. The Palo Alto, Calif., companys introduction comes a day ahead of the opening of the Syndicate Conference, which will focus on enterprise use of RSS. Called the KnowNow 3 Enterprise Syndication Solution, the offering includes a server-based engine that monitors and routes RSS feeds and a Web browser-based aggregator called SpeedReader for reading the XML-based feeds.
"Our objective right now is to make it easy enough for the rest of world to be able to use [RSS]," KnowNow CEO Michael Terner said. "For enterprises, were putting management and control functions in place, which RSS by itself doesnt have."
KnowNow also is tackling the problem of bandwidth consumption with RSS. Subscribers to an RSS feed typically receive updates by using an RSS reader to poll a feeds server for the latest posts. Read more here about the RSS bandwidth-consumption problem. Especially for an enterprise that might deploy RSS to thousands of employees, such an approach could cause bandwidth spikes as users seek updates, Terner said. To address the issue, KnowNow centrally polls for updates on the server side, rather than from each users RSS aggregator client. It then distributes updated feeds immediately across an enterprise or to the customers and partners of an enterprise using the system, in a sense turning RSS from a "pull" mechanism into more of a "push" technology. Click here to read about other vendors tackling RSS for the enterprise. KnowNow lets administrators control access to feeds. Enterprises can set up required feeds for subscribers as well as restrict users from reading private feeds intended for a specific set of users. The system can integrate with corporate directories, such as LDAP and Active Directory, to authenticate users, Terner said. The KnowNow 3 Enterprise Syndication Solution, along with SpeedReader, will be generally available in July. Pricing for a typical deployment starts at about $50,000, Terner said. While Weblogs and RSS often go hand in hand, KnowNow has focused specifically on RSS. It has considered included a blog-publishing tool but has determined, so far, that the ability to disseminate information quickly through RSS is more critical for corporations. "Were talking to enterprises that need the ability to manage the flow of information and want to use the simplicity that is RSS," Terner said. Check out eWEEK.coms for more on IM and other collaboration technologies.
Matthew Hicks As an online reporter for, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.

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