Sonic Foundry introduces Mediasite Live 3.0

Sonic Foundry Inc. unveiled the latest version of its Web conferencing system, Mediasite Live, which the company said brings unlimited browser-based presentations to enterprises at a lower cost than one-off services.

The new version, Mediasite Live 3.0 is available now and comes with a new software architecture based on Microsoft Corp.'s .Net platform. Among the new capabilities included in version 3.0 is the user's ability to publish presentations to CD media, Macintosh-enabled support, automated IP (Internet Protocol) multicast publishing and setup support, as well as improved capture and encoding capabilities.

The Madison, Wisconsin-based company has focused on audio and video desktop software and recently sold that business to Sony Corp. Sonic Foundry is refocusing its efforts solely on the rich media market and sees strong opportunity in the enterprise space, according to Rimas Buinevicius, company chairman and chief executive officer.

Companies that conduct large-scale Web-based presentations such as quarterly meetings, training seminars and worldwide briefings often spend upwards of US$15,000 per presentation, he said. Mediasite Live lets companies bring the technology in-house for unlimited use at a price of about US$22,000.

"Any instance where someone is going to give a presentation that needs to get out to a large group of people over a wide geography or across multiple time zones are perfect candidates for this product," Buinevicius said.

As part of the Mediasite Live 3.0 release, the company has announced two hardware offerings to simplify system usage. The Mediasite LiveRL Capture Station is a rack-mount or cart-based system designed for large conference centers and auditoriums. It enables real-time content integration from diverse media sources, including analog audio and composite video for both live and on-demand applications. Mediasite LiveML Capture Station designed for mobile applications including off-site events and trade shows, is a portable briefcase-like system that stores rich media presentations regardless of location.

The Mediasite LiveRL Capture Station is priced at US$21,950, while the mobile Mediasite LiveML Capture station is priced at US$24,950. They will be available in July, the company said.

"Unlike the video conferencing market, which is still constrained by point-to-point communications, this system is browser-based," said James Dias, vice president of enterprise solutions for Sonic Foundry. "It is actually more interactive than a video conferencing solution because you are able to incorporate HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) and Web site clicking as well as conduct polls and surveys in real time. We are seeing strong demand right now from people who want to communicate complex things to a broad audience and don't want to spend a lot of time and money hopping around the world to get it."

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