Macromedia Refreshes Breeze Meeting Software

Macromedia builds a raft of features such as greater presenter controls and customization options into its Web conferencing product as it aims to compete with bigger competitors.

Macromedia Inc. launched an updated version of its Web conferencing and communications software on Monday in a bid to compete against products from IBM, Microsoft Corp. and WebEx.

With Breeze 5, Macromedia has introduced a wide range of features, including connectivity into traditional audio conferencing, more options for presenting content and meeting-room customization options.

But the latest version is about more than feature additions, said Kevin Lynch, Macromedias vice president of e-learning and collaboration. The San Francisco-based company is pitching Breeze 5 as a Web conferencing product with a broader reach and scope than its larger competitors because of its basis in Macromedias Flash technology.

"We think that its not just about features anymore," Lynch said. "When it gets right down to it, its the number of people you can reach."

Macromedia estimates that about 98 percent of Web browsers have the Flash Player installed, alleviating the need for the majority of users to download any software to enter a Breeze meeting.

Breeze already supported voice over IP audio within Web meetings. But with the new version, Macromedia has partnered with Premiere Global Services Inc. to integrate telephone-based audio conferencing into Breeze meetings.

Breeze 5 also provides a telephone gateway, which lets organizations integrate Web conferencing with their telephony systems for audio conferencing, Macromedia announced.

Macromedia Breeze has combined both live online conferencing with on-demand presentations since Macromedia added Web conferencing to Breeze in 2003.

/zimages/6/28571.gifClick here to read an eWEEK Labs review of an earlier version of Breeze.

The latest version builds greater integration between live online meetings and on-demand presentations. For example, presenters can now play past presentations from within a live meeting, Lynch said.

Presenters gained other options for displaying content. Breeze 5 supports full-screen video playback, and presenters also can control each module in a Breeze presentation in order to move a module in and out of a full-screen presentation.

Macromedia has targeted Breeze 5 toward three types of uses—training, sales and marketing, and enterprisewide conferencing.

For training uses, Breeze 5 can include an expanded number of questions and quizzes into sessions and can launch and track a wider range of content, including any content complaint with AICC, an e-learning standard.

A range of new customization options fit with Breezes use in sales and marketing. Meeting environments are fully customizable down to colors and logo, and companies can build reusable meeting templates, Lynch said.

For enterprises, Breeze 5 can integrate with LDAP directories and can support single sign-on through NTLM and custom authentication methods.

Breeze 5 is available now in its hosted version. The licensed software editions will be available on May 31, Macromedia said.

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