C-Level View :: September 13, 2006

Worth Noting

Mediasite 4.0 Focused on Enterprise Enhancements

Sonic Foundry is responding to the needs of academic content producers and program developers with several new MediaSite Live 4.0 features to be announced this month. And with a user base that’s scaling up its use of the technology campus-wide, the company is especially focused on enterprise issues, such as security, reporting, enterprise integration, and content management and administration.

Sonic Foundry

Sonic Foundry

The 4.0 new-feature list is fairly extensive. Some highlights: The Mediasite Management Portal that provides directory support, enabling institutions to use existing directories for authentication – users are granted role-based access. Enhanced reporting, including granular statistics of individual user data and a “who’s on” dashboard showing live and on-demand viewers. A platform-independent Web service for allowing external applications such as course management systems or custom portals to access Mediasite presentations and metadata. Presentation content security to provide institutions better control over media assets and minimize unauthorized viewing, copying, or forwarding. A Recorder Control Center enabling remote control of recording devices. And an updated Mediasite Viewer with numerous enhancements, from larger video and slide windows to adjustable playback speed and easier navigation through “chapters.”

Rimas Buinevicius, chairman and CEO of Sonic Foundry summarized the company’s objectives for the new Mediasite 4.0 release and explained why the focus on enterprise enhancements was a priority: “For organizations that must manage thousands of hours of webcast content, Mediasite 4.0 delivers the security, management, customization, and scalability expected in an enterprise-grade solution, while dovetailing with existing enterprise systems and network environments they already have in place.”

More information and technical specifications will be available this month from Sonic Foundry.

Are Google Apps for Your Domain?

In February 2006 Google unveiled its beta of Gmail for Your Domain, a hosted e-mail service that allows organizations keep their own domains. Now the company is expanding on the idea by offering a broader range of communications applications. Google Apps for Your Domain currently includes Google Talk instant messaging and voice calling service, Google Calendar for collaborative calendaring, and Google Page Creator for Web page design, publishing, and hosting.

The idea, of course, is to leverage the hosted services to avoid some of the resource allocations and costs of running onsite systems, or as Google’s press release puts it, to provide the services “without the hassle of installing and maintaining software or hardware.” And Google will offer Google Apps for Education free to approved beta users.

San Jose City College is among the institutions already using Google Apps for Education. “We considered many options and chose Google Apps for Education because of the quality of the products, the ease of implementation, and frankly because so many of our students already know and trust Google’s search and communication tools,” says Michael Renzi, director of finance and administration. But for some institutions, simplicity may not be enough of a tradeoff — they need control of accounts and the ability to maintain their own systems. And Google is the first to recognize that the system may not offer all the capabilities an institution needs. Long-term, the company is planning to offer premium services at a cost differential.

Google will offer a brief seminar on Google Apps for Education on September 20.

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