REDMOND, Wash., April 28, 1997 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the immediate availability of Microsoft® NetMeeting
conferencing software version 2.0 for no-charge download from the Internet (connect-time charges may apply). This release marks the first time standards-based video conferencing, telephony and multipoint data conferencing for real-time collaboration have been integrated into one seamless, easy-to-use product for use on the Internet and corporate intranets.
The announcement comes at a time of rapidly growing industry support and customer usage for NetMeeting as a leading Internet conferencing product. Major companies are evaluating and adopting the use of NetMeeting 2.0 to solve business problems and communicate more effectively. They include Deere & Co., DuPont, FileNet Corp., Ford Motor Co. and The Tompkins Group. In addition, more than 60 leading industry vendors have announced products and services that are compatible with NetMeeting 2.0, providing users with a wide range of interoperable solutions.
“To date, the Internet and corporate intranets have been used primarily to find and view information; the potential for real-time interactive communication hasn’t been fully realized,” said Brad Silverberg, senior vice president, applications and Internet client group at Microsoft. “NetMeeting 2.0 marks the beginning of a major communication revolution. Together with other leading industry vendors, Microsoft is starting to achieve its vision of the Internet (including intranets) as a network for real-time interactive communications.”
NetMeeting 2.0 Delivers a Complete, Standards-Based Internet Conferencing Solution
Microsoft NetMeeting delivers a complete Internet conferencing solution. Version 2.0 includes powerful features that work together seamlessly to make conferencing on the Internet and corporate intranets even more productive:
Standards-based multipoint data conferencing. Users of NetMeeting can collaborate and share information with two or more conference participants in real time. During a conference, users can share applications on their computer and work together by allowing other conference participants to see the same information on their screens, thereby facilitating the review, editing and presentation of information. In addition, users can exchange and mark up graphics and draw diagrams with the electronic whiteboard, communicate using written text with the NetMeeting chat program, and send files to other conference participants. The NetMeeting multipoint data conferencing capability is based on the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) T.120 standard.
Standards-based video conferencing. With a video-capture card and camera, users of NetMeeting can send and receive video images for face-to-face communication during a conference. The switchable audio and video feature of NetMeeting allows users to switch among participants they communicate with during a meeting. In addition, NetMeeting also offers support for Intel MMX technology, improving video and audio performance during a call. The video conferencing capability of NetMeeting is based on the ITU H.323 standard.
Standards-based Internet telephony. Using a sound card, microphone and speakers, participants using NetMeeting can talk to friends, family and business associates over the Internet and corporate intranets. Internet phone discussions can be enhanced using data and video conferencing capabilities. The Internet telephony capability of NetMeeting is based on the ITU H.323 standard.
NetMeeting Helps Organizations Solve Business Problems
NetMeeting helps businesses communicate more effectively in a variety of ways. Uses of NetMeeting include real-time document collaboration, technical support in a help desk environment, training and distance learning, and conducting remote meetings. By improving the business process, NetMeeting helps companies save time and money and increase user productivity. The following companies are among those using NetMeeting to solve business problems today:
Deere & Co. Deere & Co. and its subsidiaries manufacture, distribute and finance a full range of agricultural equipment, a broad range of industrial equipment for construction, forestry and public works, and a variety of commercial and consumer equipment. The company also provides credit, health care and insurance products for businesses and the general public. Deere’s information technology group is using NetMeeting to provide technical support for remote personnel as part of the company’s corporate-wide implementation of Microsoft Exchange Server, lessening the need for Deere staff to travel to remote locations to support the implementation.
DuPont. DuPont is a research- and technology-based global chemical and energy company offering high-performance products based on chemicals, polymers, fibers and petroleum. DuPont Information Systems, in a coordinated effort with Compaq Computer Corp., is exploring the use of NetMeeting over its corporate intranet for data and video conferencing capabilities on Compaq Armada notebook and Deskpro computers. DuPont views NetMeeting as a tool that will potentially reduce travel costs, improve the quality of communication between geographically dispersed sites, and help bring products to market more quickly.
FileNet Corp. As a software vendor delivering strategic workflow, document-imaging and document-management software, FileNet understands how important it is to maximize productivity and efficiency through simplified and streamlined business processes. FileNet is applying NetMeeting to conduct interactive partner technical briefings, partner design reviews and product demonstrations over the Internet and its corporate intranet, thereby improving communication with its resellers, internal sales support and technical support engineers.
Ford Motor Co. As one of the largest auto and truck manufacturers, Ford is continually rethinking existing methods and looking for new and innovative ways to improve communication. At the recent Ford Architecture for Technology and Development (ATAD) summit, sponsored by the Information Technology group, NetMeeting was used by managers in locations worldwide to remotely view shared presentation slides and application demonstrations. NetMeeting complemented Ford’s existing video conferencing systems and reduced the need to travel, thus saving the company time and money. Ford continues to use NetMeeting on a regular basis to conduct virtual meetings and conduct real-time collaboration.
The Tompkins Group. The Tompkins Group is a Microsoft Solution Provider that develops budgeting, forecasting, and financial analysis software for large corporations and banks. The company leverages a workforce of contract employees around the country and uses the application-sharing capability of NetMeeting as a tool to enhance the level of communication and support it can offer to its clients. For example, it uses NetMeeting to link people from different locations to collaborate on user interface designs, to demonstrate prototype applications in progress, and to diagnose and correct software problems that are encountered.
To coincide with the release of NetMeeting 2.0, Microsoft has prepared the NetMeeting 2.0 Resource Kit, a companion technical information resource for system administrators. The kit provides detailed information, based on customer feedback, to help administrators deploy NetMeeting in their organizations. This includes how to configure the firewall, optimize bandwidth, and take advantage of the Windows® 95 and Windows NT® 4.0 operating system policy mechanisms to remotely administer and control the features and functionality of NetMeeting.
Compatible Products Enhance Uses for Customers
By broadly distributing the first released Internet conferencing client to support both the ITU T.120 standard for multipoint data conferencing and the ITU H.323 standard for audio and video conferencing, NetMeeting solves the market’s chicken-egg problem, leading to a procession of interoperable standards-based products for customers. Over the past year, Microsoft has worked closely with leading companies to deliver products and services that interoperate with NetMeeting, broadening the appeal and application of standards-based conferencing.
Today, more than 60 leading industry vendors are announcing products and services that work with and enhance the use of NetMeeting 2.0. These products include PCs, network hardware, gateways, firewalls, conferencing servers, compatible conferencing clients, directory services, whiteboard hardware, audio hardware, video cameras, and custom software solutions.
Among the many vendors developing products and services for NetMeeting 2.0 are 3COM Corp., 8×8 Inc., Andrea Electronics Corp., Bay Networks Inc., Canon USA Inc., Check Point Software Technologies Ltd., Cisco Systems Inc., Compaq Computer Corp., ConferTech International Inc., Connectix Corp., Creative Software Technologies Pty Ltd., Data Connection Ltd., DataBeam Corp., Dell Computer Corp., Dialogic Corp., Digital Equipment Corp., eFusion Inc., EveNTs Software Products Inc., Farallon Communications Inc., First Virtual Corp., Four11 Corp., Fujitsu Ltd., Hayes Microcomputer Products Inc., Hitachi America Ltd., Incite, Intel Corp., Kenwood USA Corp., Latitude Communications Inc., LiveWorks Inc. – a Xerox company, Lucent Technologies Inc., Matsushita Electric Industrial Company Ltd., MICOM Communications Corp., Micron Electronics Inc., MicroTouch Systems Inc., Mirabilis Ltd., Mitsubishi Electrics America, Multilink Inc., NEC Corp., NetworkMCI, Nogatech Inc., OKI Electric Industry Company Ltd., OnLive! Technologies Inc., Outreach Technologies, Panasonic Communications & Systems Co., Philips Electronics North America Corp., PictureTel Corp., Polycom Inc., QuickNet Technologies Inc., RADVision Inc., Sanyo Electric Company Ltd., Seanix Technology Inc., Seiko Epson Corporation Inc., Sharp Corp., Smart Technologies Inc., Sprint, Toshiba Corp., Trusted Information Systems Inc., U.S. Robotics Corp., VCON Inc., VDOnet Corp., Vienna Systems Corp., VideoServer Inc., VocalTec Inc., Voxware Inc., VTEL Corp., White Pine Software Inc. and Winnov.
As part of this announcement, the complete solution of NetMeeting components to support real-time communications and collaboration are available for immediate download at no charge (connect-time charges may apply) from the Microsoft NetMeeting Web site at http://www.microsoft.com/netmeeting/ .
Microsoft NetMeeting 2.0 for Windows 95 and Windows NT 4.0. For
Windows NT 4.0, both the Intel x386 and the Digital Alpha platforms are supported. In coming weeks, NetMeeting 2.0 is scheduled to be available in more than 20 international language versions, including simplified Chinese, traditional Chinese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Brazilian Portuguese, Iberian Portuguese, Russian, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish.
NetMeeting 2.0 Resource Kit , providing technical documentation to assist system administrators with the deployment and support of NetMeeting in their organization.
An updated software development kit (SDK) for use with NetMeeting 2.0, providing developers with the tools and application programming interfaces (APIs) to integrate the advanced conferencing features of NetMeeting with their products, services and solutions.
The final version of Microsoft Internet Locator Server (ILS) 1.0, providing a complete dynamic directory service for NetMeeting, providing users with the ability to identify, and then connect to and communicate with, other users who are currently online. The ILS may be deployed on the Internet or the corporate intranet, and it allows users to find and connect to one another from within the NetMeeting user interface or from a Web browser.
In addition, to further increase the availability and ubiquity of real-time communications and collaboration, NetMeeting is planned to be included as a core component of the upcoming Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 and future versions of Microsoft Windows.
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