As some corporations investigate streaming video communications to reduce employee travel, they are getting new options from e-StudioLive Inc. and SoftonNet Inc.
e-StudioLive this week will introduce CommuniCast, an upgrade to its enterprise Webcasting system that officials said enables companies to produce and deliver multimedia presentations to employees, dealers and customers at a fraction of the cost of Web conferencing and videoconferencing systems.
The software enables a content producer to put together presentations that incorporate Microsoft Corp.s Office applications, live video and audio, chat, and interactive polling. The presentations can be streamed over IP and viewed with a standard browser and media player. A new feature lets users with a 56K-bps dial-up network connection reduce the size of the video to enhance its quality, said officials at e-StudioLive, in Chelmsford, Mass.
Pricing for CommuniCast starts at $45,000, but officials said that because a company buys the product instead of leasing it, CommuniCast can cost half as much as Web conferencing services where the cost mounts with every use.
The Merrimack Education Center, a technology cooperative that manages more than 550 T-1 connections between schools in Massachusetts, is beginning to use CommuniCast to deliver teacher training and other content. Special Project Manager Rick Berry likes having the ability to pull video and graphics into a single presentation and archive it directly to a CD.
"You can stick a [video] stream out there, and its not the same as having the graphics around it," said Berry, in Chelmsford.
Separately this week, SoftonNet, of San Jose, Calif., will announce at the Comdex trade show in Las Vegas the release of ZStream 2.0, which enables streaming of any Microsoft application, including Windows XP applications. The upgrade, which enables the streaming of the applications over the Internet or a LAN, features enhanced throughput, the capability to stream multiple applications and a metering system to monitor usage.
ZStream 2.0, which also adds support for Windows XP, NT and 2000, is priced starting at $15,000 for a 50-user license.