Blog Tools Eye the Enterprise at Demo

Blogging shows signs of moving deeper into the business world and into new content types such as video as developers showcase new tools and services at the Demo conference.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.—As Weblogs gain more mainstream appeal, new blog-publishing tools are responding with products tailored to enterprise users and to emerging areas such as video blogging.

Like last year, blogging captured attention at the Demo conference being held here this week. But it showed signs of reaching deeper into the enterprises as new vendors demonstrated everything from a hardware appliance for deploying corporate blogs to an application for disseminating blog postings across online communities.

WhatCounts Inc. showed its blog in a box called BlogUnit. The first version of the appliance, set to ship March 1, provides typical blog features for publishing posts and syndicating content but also adds security features such as the ability to create user profiles to control access and integration with corporate LDAP and RADIUS servers.

/zimages/3/98392.jpg The appliance is targeted to enterprises wanting to publish blogs to employees, customers and partners but with the means to better control and manage the posting process, said David Geller, president and CEO of Seattle-based WhatCounts.

"We wanted to ship an appliance because we knew security was important and that enterprises need data to live in their data centers," Geller said.

The 1U rack-mountable appliance also supports the aggregation of RSS (Really Simple Syndication) and Atom feeds within a blog, a feature that could be used to track news internally or share blog updates with customers and partners, Geller said.

/zimages/3/28571.gifClick here to read more about blogging trends from Demo 2004.

Geller said the unit provides workflow controls to set up an approval process before blog postings go live as well as to create and track versions. Pricing for the appliance will start at $10,000.

A new blogging application from Burlington, Ontario-based iUpload bridges both individual and business blogging. Launched during Demo, iUpload Perspectives lets users not only create blog content but also post it to multiple online communities such as eBay Inc. or Tribe.net, said David Carter, iUploads chief technology officer and vice president of strategy.

While individuals can use the application to better manage their communications across Web sites and online services, businesses can use it to "tap into the blogosphere" to allow consumers to generate content for a marketing campaign or to collaborate with coworkers, Carter said.

iUpload demonstrated how a company could target a posted message to specific employees via integration with a Salesforce.com contact list. iUpload Perspectives uses Web services to connect with online communities and applications. It is available as a free tool for individuals.

/zimages/3/28571.gifClick here to read more about blogging capturing business interest.

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