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Macromedia Shifts Breeze for Others

Web graphics software provider Macromedia is releasing two new tools it says will help customers plug in its Breeze Web conferencing platform without a hassle.

The San Francisco-based firm said it's offering a Directory Services Accelerator and Breeze Scheduling Accelerator. The kits -- or "solution accelerators" -- are available immediately as free downloads for existing Breeze Presentations, Breeze Training and Breeze Live customers. The software uses standards such as XML and Java to exchange the data.

Breeze is Macromedia's foray into the burgeoning $600 to 800 million per year market of live meetings, online tutorials and on-demand presentations. The application competes with market leader online meeting pioneer WebEx, as well as LiveMeeting from the Microsoft juggernaut. A study released earlier this month from research and consulting firm Frost & Sullivan said WebEx has 67 percent of the market.

The report also found that the Web conferencing marketplace is penetrating non-technology sectors including retail, manufacturing and legal. Growth in the marketplace is due to increased awareness, a wider availability, and growing convergence with audio and video conferencing technologies like voice over the Internet -- also known as VoIP.

Macromedia said its differentiator is that it can be customized to suit individual presentation styles and content, by having multiple layouts within one meeting room. The technology also enables content such as PowerPoint presentations to be set-up in advance, and information such as spreadsheets to be delivered or edited in real-time during a meeting, without having to interrupt the flow of a presentation. Parts of the platform can either be purchased as a standalone system or licensed under contract through Macromedia's servers.

With the accelerators, Macromedia said, its customers can synchronize Breeze with a customer's existing employee directories, such as LDAP . Content and scheduling information can be made available on external or internal Web sites and portals using Java, ColdFusion and .NET implementations.

"[This will] simplify the process of integrating very user friendly Web conferencing and rich media presentation capabilities into a wide range of enterprise applications and business processes," Paul Ritter, program manager for collaboration research, Yankee Group said. "For example, the ability to leverage corporate directory integration for planning and scheduling meetings and training sessions is one example where solution accelerators will help businesses increase productivity and efficiency across their entire organization."

With the Directory Services Accelerator, Macromedia said the kit uses a combination of Java and Breeze XML-based web services to synchronize Breeze with the OpenLDAP directory service. Alternatively, organizations can choose to use the CSV format to bring directory records into Breeze.

The Breeze Scheduling Accelerator is available in Java and ColdFusion versions. The kit taps into internal scheduling information from the existing Breeze system and presents it into a company's intranet pages and portals.

Macromedia said the kits are provided "as is" and are not covered under any Macromedia Support program.