PlaceWare Beefs Up Core Conferencing Architecture

Web-based conferencing and collaboration continues to gain in popularity as enterprises look for ways to trim travel expenses. In light of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, companies are particularly anxious to reduce air travel.

With the growing adoption rates of Web conferencing services comes greater demands in terms of security, reliability and scalability. On Monday, Mountain View, Calif.-based PlaceWare, a Web-based collaboration ASP, will unveil its iVault architecture, which is designed to address those concerns.

Key features of the patented technology include an enhanced fault tolerant system design, fail-safe backup hardware and software, and advanced load balancing technology.

PlaceWare told ASPnews that the iVault architecture is based on three cornerstones:

  • Access controls, which deal with security before the conference begins — that is, who gets in, authentication, meeting keys and so on — and customization. PlaceWare’s API ties into the enterprise’s existing portal and provides customers with the capability to manage application sharing, desktop sharing, and printing and recording controls.

  • Content storage, which includes seven layers of security for all stored data. Those layers, starting at the highest level, are
    Filtering Routers, Firewalls, System Level Security, Application Authentication, Application Level Counter-Measures, Separate Data Network and Data Authentication.

  • Date transmission, which includes using secure HTTPS Web servers and 128-bit SSL (Secure Socket Layer) encryption of all data transmitted over the Internet. Each participant in the PlaceWare session has a unique encryption key.

“The PlaceWare service is easily deployed enterprise-wide and scalable to tens of thousands of participants worldwide,” said Brian Meek, the chief iVault technology architect.

PlaceWare currently claims 105,000 users, but projects that number to increase to more than 200,000 by the end of the year. The company also reports that it expects its 2002 revenue to be about $75 million, more than double its 2001 total of $36 million. The company offers its service only through an ASP subscription model. Monthly fees start at $100 per seat for the standard version. Gold and Platinum versions that offer enhanced features and security are available at $150 per seat and $200 per seat, respectively.

PlaceWare, which was spun out of Xerox PARC (Palo Alto Research Center) in 1996, sells both through a direct model for large enterprise and through channel partners for vertical and small-to-medium size enterprises (SMEs). Its enterprise customers include Accenture, Autodesk, Cisco, Deloitte & Touche, Microsoft, Motorola, Siebel and Sybase.

As an example of PlaceWare’s partner strategy, on Tuesday Saba , a Redwood Shores, Calif.-based provider of human capital development and management services, announced Saba Live!, a virtual classroom product powered by PlaceWare through an OEM agreement.

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