Sonic Foundry enlivens rich media communications

Sonic Foundry Inc. on Monday rolled out a new version of its rich media communications system for Webcasting, content publishing, and online presentations. Enhancements to the system include automated workflow and improved scalability, mobile application support and support for Macintosh platforms.

Sonic Foundry's Mediasite Live gives enterprises and educational environments a hardware and software package with which to create and deliver rich media over the Web or burned to a CD. Unlike services that involve costly preparation and post-production processes, Mediasite Live is a plug-and-play box that can capture, synchronize, stream, and archive online presentations in real-time, according to company officials.

Furthermore, many enterprises are forcing small group collaboration services such as WebEx, PlaceWare, and Raindance to fit large group presentation needs, much to the detriment of the bottom line, according to James Dias, vice president of marketing and sales at Sonic Foundry.

"A lot of corporations use WebEx or PlaceWare, but those tools are optimized for small group collaboration. Some companies have been using those [services] for large group information sharing. That is very expensive, because you pay license fees, per-seat charges, and phone bridge charges," he said. "We do one-to-many, large-group information sharing."

New automated operation and workflow capabilities include automated indexing and publishing of images, automated publishing for unicast and multicast delivery, and automated capture and posting of media assets for on-demand access.

As part of the updated release, Sonic Foundry added two new hardware configurations. Mediasite LiveRL Capture Station is a rack-mount or cart-based system for large conference rooms, auditoriums, or lecture halls. In real time, it lets users integrate content from a range of media sources for both live and on-demand applications. Mediasite LiveM Capture Station, designed for mobile applications, is a portable system that can transform from a briefcase to a rich media capture appliance in less than one minute, said Sonic Foundry officials.

Sonic Foundry is gaining its highest traction in medical, technical, and engineering industries, where a graphic component is often a requirement for large-scale communications, Dias said.

"Now they can bypass the production bottlenecks and still get rich media content put together quickly," he said.

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