Blog Tools Eye the Enterprise at Demo

 
 
By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2005-02-15
 
 
 

Blog Tools Eye the Enterprise at Demo


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.

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.

Click 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.

Click here to read more about blogging capturing business interest.

Next Page: Video Blogs Made Easy?

Video Blogs Made Easy


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Hoping to make it easier to create video blogs, Serious Magic Inc. of Folsom, Calif., demonstrated a video-creation application for Windows that combines a teleprompter feature with TV-like templates. Called Vlog It, the software lets users view a script while creating a video from a Webcam or FireWire-attached camcorder and add graphics, backdrops, effects, and video and audio clips.

"The whole video-creation process is streamlined for people that are not technical," said Mark Randall, president and CEO of Serious Magic.

The company plans to offer a beta of the software in March with a full launch to follow in April. It will cost $99. Serious Magic also will host the video blogs through its Vlog.com site, or users can post the videos to existing blogs using FTP, Randall said.

Serious Magic is working with major blog-tool services to create simpler ways to post videos to blogs and is looking at ways to turn the teleprompter text into searchable transcripts of the videos, Randall said.

Focusing on fast blog publishing, Palo Alto, Calif.-based Five Across Inc. used Demo to launch its own blog-publishing service called Bubbler. Its main focus is on increasing the speed at which a blog can be created and posted.

Bubbler, a general blog service that would compete against Google Inc.s Blogger and Six Apart Ltd.s TypePad, launched a public beta Sunday. Along with providing blog-hosting services, Bubbler provides a software client for Windows or Mac OS X.

Read more here about Five Across entering the enterprise instant-messaging market.

The client software allows bloggers to drop and drag content such as text, images and links to create a post. It also offers a feature called "Reporter," where, in a manner similar to the interface of an instant-message chat, bloggers can post snippets of text and have them post almost immediately to their blogs.

The client download is free, but Bubbler charges for hosting, which starts at $4.99 a month. The beta does not offer some standard blog features, such as the capability for readers to post comments to a blog or for the content to be syndicated in RSS or Atom feeds, a Five Across official said.

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