Macromedia: VoIP, Video Can Now Feel The Breeze

Breeze 5, the hosted version of which is now available, adds those capabilities atop the foundation of Macromedia Flash Player, making it a viable rival to WebEx and Microsoft Live Communications Server 2005, several channel sources said.

The on-premises version, which will be offered direct and through partners, will be available in 30 days, said Tom Hale, senior vice president and general manager of Macromedia's Communications Division.

Chief benefits are VoIP integration and support for multipoint video with resizable video windows, said Hale. With this release, Macromedia focused on "becoming part of the enterprise IP communications infrastructure," he said. "You can take this and integrate it into a daily worker's life—customize it to work with business apps."

That customizability is key for solution providers, some of which are using Breeze internally and to help customers make the most of their applications.

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"This is a very hot product for us," said Harry Zoberman, senior vice president of marketing at ASAP Software, a Buffalo Grove, Ill., corporate reseller. "There's lots of interest both in enterprise and among public-sector customers in the government space—it's efficient, easy to download and use, and they take advantage of the latest Flash product."

Dallas-based solution provider Software Medium taps Breeze to walk users through advanced training and usage of the applications and utilities they've bought, said Rick Lewellyn, vice president of sales at Software Medium. Sometimes that courseware is delivered under Software Medium's logo and sometimes it is done on behalf of ISVs or other partners, so customization comes in handy, he said.

The sessions and keystrokes can all be recorded so customers can archive and replay sessions at will. Breeze 5 has console control so the instructor can take control of the screen, as well as instant messaging and VoIP. Software Medium built a portal so customers can log on and review their sessions when convenient, Lewellyn said.

Several pricing options are available, but a typical entry configuration starts at about $20,000, Hale said.

Adobe Systems' planned buyout of Macromedia could add more muscle to Breeze if the companies knit together Adobe's strengths in document-based collaboration and management with San Francisco-based Macromedia's online expertise, observers said. Breeze's reach is extended by the multiple millions of Flash players already on the Net.