Webcasting software invites the audience

Reporting tool tracks how many people watched a webcast and how long each was online

VS Webcasting 2.0 software from Virage Inc. can organize, produce and archive webcasts cost-effectively for organizations that hold six or more such events a year, said David Girouard, senior vice president of marketing for the San Mateo, Calif., company.

The software lets users plan all the details of a webcast, from sending out invitations to managing the live event. Girouard said webcasting is one-to-many multimedia distribution over the Web, whereas Web conferencing or videoconferencing is more like a two-way conversation.

VS Webcasting assigns three types of roles to users: system administrator, producer and viewer. Different sections of the browser-like interface handle webcast administration, preparation, operation, report generation and viewing.

The administrative section integrates with an agency's existing e-mail directory through Lightweight Directory Access Protocol or Microsoft Active Directory, Girouard said.
In setting up a webcast, users can specify that it will be live, rebroadcast or on-demand, Girouard said. A series of wizards assist in scheduling, media player options and interactive audience polling.

The application sends electronic invitations to participants by name or department and can send follow-up reminders if desired.

Real-time changes

During the webcast, the producer can click 'show' or 'hide' to make features appear and disappear. The producer can also push questions to the audience in real time, create new polls on the fly and review the responses as they come in.

The reporting tool in VS Webcasting shows how many people watched the event and how long each spent.

The minimum platform is Microsoft Windows 2000 Server or Sun Solaris on a two-way, 1.2-GHz server with 1G of RAM. VS Webcasting comes bundled with ActiveState Perl 5.6 from ActiveState Corp. of Vancouver, British Columbia. It also requires a relational database such as the open-source MySQL or Oracle Corp.'s Oracle 9i.

The software integrates with content distribution products from Akamai Technologies Inc. of Cambridge, Mass., Cisco Systems Inc. of San Jose, Calif., Network Appliance Inc. of Sunnyvale, Calif., and Volera Inc. of San Jose, Calif.

VS Webcasting 2.0 costs $140,000 for up to 250 concurrent users and $100 per additional user.

Contact Virage at 650-573-3210.

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