WALTHAM, MASS. (06/26/2000) - On-demand content provider Brainshark Inc. is looking to expand its reach by adding support for the Microsoft Corp. Windows Media format and offering a two-week free trial of the service.
The Brainshark service lets a user upload a PowerPoint presentation via the Web, then dial in with a telephone to narrate each slide. As a user narrates, the slides are shown on the user's browser. The narrator hits the pound (#) key on the phone to move to the next slide.
Once complete, the audio and slides are synchronized and stored for future on-demand viewing via RealPlayer or Microsoft Media Player. Those who want to view the presentation merely point their browser at the provided URL.
Brainshark hosts everything on its site, which is currently located at Exodus' Waltham facility. All presentations are stored in a database, which lets content be used in other slide shows, says Greg Flynn, Brainshark's vice president of business development.
Flynn says his company is not looking to compete with the live conferencing providers such as MSHOW, Evoke and Placeware, but rather act as a complement to those kinds of services.
One Brainshark customer finds that logic compelling.
"Our customers look for more variety in the ways they can present information to a team, beyond an instructor standing in front of a class," says Nanette Wyckoff, director of e-learning products at Productivity Point in Raleigh, North Carolina. Productivity Point builds customer training programs for corporate and government clients. They contract with MSHOW and other live presentation providers, but find Brainshark to be a less expensive alternative when a live presentation is not needed.
Corporations can use the Brainshark service for US$25 per named user, per month. For those users viewing from outside the customer company, Brainshark charges the customer company between 20 cents and 80 cents per viewing, depending on volume.