Macromedia Taps VoIP For Breeze

by Michael Singer

The company updates its Breeze platform to compete with Microsoft, WebEx and IBM.

Macromedia updated its Web conferencing application with new voice over IP (VoIP) capabilities.

As part of Breeze 5's new VoIP plan, the platform now includes a telephone gateway that companies can link to their existing telephony bridges.

In addition to support for VoIP, Breeze 5 also includes the ability to do on-demand video and real-time, multipoint video conferencing.

The platform is designed to support large-scale events for up to 2,000 participants and includes a wizard-based directory, single sign-on support through NTLM or other custom-authentication technology. The platform comes with new APIs and software development kits, so companies can customize their applications.

The San Francisco-based company said its Breeze platform is fast becoming a competitor to similar products from Microsoft , WebEx and IBM , because it can run on any computer that supports Macromedia's Flash Player.

Macromedia estimates more than 500 million Internet users are able to immediately use their upgraded Breeze product.

"With Macromedia Breeze 5, we're taking off the gloves and showing the industry the way Web communications should be done," Macromedia CEO Stephen Elop said in a statement. "Breeze 5 now has everything organizations need to fully realize the benefits of accelerated and more effective training, marketing, selling and enterprise conferencing."

To help facilitate the conference-call traffic, Macromedia said it has partnered with Premiere Global Services out of Atlanta.

The joint venture will let users place conference calls directly within the Breeze meeting room and individually control the volume of each caller or mute as needed. The service also lets users record both audio and Web conferencing portions of a Breeze meeting, including synchronized recording of the telephone audio conference. The streaming, unified recording is then made available via a specified URL after the meeting.

Macromedia said it also added better collaboration with customer relationship management tools, such as Salesforce.com , so that sales and marketing departments can use Breeze 5 to serve up Web seminars and visual presentations as a way to get sales leads.

The company also added features in Breeze 5 to help training professionals offer multi-course curriculum management, full-screen video, enhanced tracking and reporting, and expanded question and quiz types. Trainers can launch and track content created with such tools as Macromedia Authorware 7, Macromedia Captivate, Macromedia Flash MX 2004 and Macromedia Dreamweaver MX 2004.

"A small sized video or audio file will stream at about 100 kilobits per second (kbps) while a full-sized file can stream at about 200 kbps to 300 kbps, depending on how you customize the file for image quality," Tom Hale, general manager and senior vice president at Macromedia, told internetnews.com.

Hale said the Breeze 5 upgrade and release was scheduled well before Macromedia discussed plans to be acquired by Adobe. The executive said the new and improved Breeze platform is just one more reason why the two companies will be able to take advantage of each other's technology.

The hosted version of Macromedia Breeze 5 is available now. Macromedia said its licensed product will be available on May 31, but should be competitively priced at or below the current Breeze license.

Hale said Macromedia is looking at several flexible-pricing options, including large-capacity meeting rooms and unlimited use for named users.

This article was originally published on Monday May 2nd 2005