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PlaceWare Upgrades Web Conferencing Service

With the goal of making its Web conferencing service simpler, more secure and better integrated, PlaceWare yesterday released version 4.1 of its Conference Center ASP service.

"We've further simplified the scheduling, management and storage of meetings and meeting content with the new release of PlaceWare Conference Center," said George Garrick, president and CEO of the Mountain View, Calif.-based company. "New functionality in PlaceWare Replay, PlaceWare RapidMeeting and our Meeting Lists, deliver simplicity for companies that are communicating and collaborating in sales, learning, marketing, human resources and general business meetings."

PlaceWare users can, the company says, quickly and easily schedule both instant and ad-hoc meetings, as well as plan for future meetings, directly from Microsoft Outlook, with one click on a Meet Now button. (See related story, PlaceWare Gets Tight With Microsoft.)

In version 4.1, PlaceWare also attempts to add flexibility and more options to the PlaceWare Replay function for meeting organizers. Organizers can record, store, stream and download meeting content as well as host recordings on their Intranet or on other systems and media. Featuring new single-sign-on, search, display, selection and deletion functions, PlaceWare Conference Center is also designed to simplify administrative tasks associated with meeting list and session scheduling and management.

As Web conferencing becomes more of a mainstream application for enterprises, security concerns also heighten. "Security in Web conferencing is not an afterthought, it needs to be built in," said Matt Cain, senior vice president, Web and collaboration strategies, META Group.

PlaceWare's upgrade to its iVault security architecture is designed to avoid compromises in usability or performance. Uploaded content is now encrypted and PlaceWare also provides encryption keys for every slide, preventing hackers from accessing information at the browser level.

By encrypting stored content, PlaceWare adds a 9th layer of security to its architecture. The layers include content encryption, data authentication, a separate data network, application-level countermeasures, application authentication, system-level security, intrusion detection systems, firewalls and filtering routers (see related story, PlaceWare Beefs Up Core Conferencing Architecture).

SSL (secure socket layer) encryption is part of PlaceWare's standard service offering. PlaceWare also offers a Platinum-level service that provides SSL encryption for application sharing, chat and text slides/whiteboards (in addition to uploaded content and log-in info, which are encrypted in the standard version).

To extend PlaceWare's reach, new APIs (application programming interfaces) allow users to add PlaceWare to corporate portals and intranets as well as applications such as customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource management (ERP). New functionality expands the querying capabilities for setting up customized reporting on meetings, provides billing and tracking capabilities for meetings, and makes it easier to send people to a specific type of recording.

PlaceWare also announced its PlaceWare Developer Network, a self-service community to share ideas, tips and discussion. For more information, go to www.placeware.com/developer.

Version 4.1 of PlaceWare Conference Center will be available by the end of the month. Costs range from $100 to $200 per seat or port, depending on the implementation, configuration and level of service.


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