SAN FRANCISCO, March 8, 2005 — Microsoft Corp. today introduced a new release of Microsoft® Office Live Meeting, its hosted Web conferencing service that helps information workers communicate and collaborate with anyone, anytime, anywhere, with just a PC and an Internet connection. Live Meeting 2005 further delivers on Microsoft’s vision for integrated communication and presents significant user enhancements. These include the ability to launch a meeting from within familiar Microsoft Office software, more effortless and cost-effective audio controls, and powerful presenter control capabilities. In addition, Live Meeting 2005 will be available in localized versions with support for seven additional languages, enabling people all over the world to participate in a Live Meeting session.
At the international Microsoft Real-Time Collaboration Group unified launch event held via Live Meeting today, Bill Gates, Microsoft chairman and chief software architect, along with Jeff Raikes, Microsoft group vice president of the Information Worker Group, and Anoop Gupta, Microsoft corporate vice president for the Real-Time Collaboration Group, discussed how Live Meeting 2005 will help people effectively connect and collaborate regardless of location.
“Microsoft Office Live Meeting is an important example of how the Microsoft Office System is innovating and expanding — further empowering information workers and making them more productive and effective,” Raikes said. “The exciting new capabilities of Live Meeting are a direct result of listening to the thousands of customers who already use it for ad hoc collaborative meetings, marketing events, sales demonstrations, training sessions and more.”
The new features in the 2005 version of Live Meeting make it easier for information workers around the corner and around the world to realize the benefits of Web conferencing:
Broad Office integration makes it simpler to meet from information workers’ familiar tools. Microsoft makes it possible for users to initiate a Live Meeting session from Word, Excel, PowerPoint®, Visio®, Project and Microsoft Office Communicator 2005. In addition, the enhanced Live Meeting Add-In for Outlook® gives customers two-way sync with the Outlook calendar and the ability to schedule a meeting offline — important benefits for remote workers.
More effortless and cost-effective audio controls help users better focus on meeting content. Audio Conference Call Controls is the only Web conferencing-integrated audio solution that enables participants to be called directly to join a meeting and allows presenters to mute, unmute and disconnect participants from MCI, BT and InterCall audioconferencing services.
As an alternative to telephone audioconferencing, customers can significantly reduce audio-related costs with Internet Audio Broadcast. Audio is streamed over the Internet using voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), so meeting participants need only the speakers on their PC to participate.
Powerful presenter control capabilities make meetings more productive and keep participants more engaged. Document Viewer displays any type of document and allows zooming without loss of graphic quality. An updated PowerPoint Viewer displays Microsoft PowerPoint slides with full support for graphics animations, slide transitions and full-screen mode.
Thumbnail navigation gives Live Meeting presenters a contextual view of content for easier and faster navigation during a meeting. New, more powerful features for managing the meeting include the ability to instantly promote a meeting participant from an attendee to a presenter, provide attendee profiles, lock a meeting, and invite additional participants.
The innovative Meeting Lobby provides the industry’s first simple way to bring new entrants into a meeting waiting room while they are waiting for the presenter’s permission to join the meeting.
Seven new language versions enable people all over the world to participate in a Live Meeting. Localized versions, including support for multiple languages in a single meeting, will now be available in Chinese (Traditional and Simplified), English, French, German, Japanese, Korean and Spanish.
Microsoft customers are realizing the benefits of Live Meeting. “7-Eleven employees are accustomed to Microsoft software, so Live Meeting’s familiar look and feel makes it easy to use and helps us realize the benefits of productive, more cost-effective remote meetings,” said Keith Morrow, CIO and vice president of information systems at 7-Eleven Inc. “Web conferences are compelling for 7-Eleven, and Live Meeting’s integration with Microsoft Office applications helps us improve communication between distant colleagues and quickly obtain feedback on internal projects in ways that were not previously possible.”
The 2005 release of Microsoft Office Live Meeting is a valuable solution for virtually any meeting scenario — whether it is a sales event with thousands of global participants; a small, collaborative meeting between workers on different floors; or a one-on-one customer consultation. A cost-saving alternative to business travel, Live Meeting makes it easy for workers to conduct real-time, highly interactive and visually rich online meetings. Live Meeting is a hosted software solution that minimizes infrastructure and setup requirements and lets people collaborate and share information regardless of location. In fiscal year 2004, Microsoft used Live Meeting to replace one in five business trips and saved over 40 million dollars.
“Live Meeting 2005 is a key element of our integrated communications vision that helps people and organizations richly communicate and work together more effectively,” Gupta said. “Live Meeting sessions can be launched while using instant messaging with Communicator, scheduled from Microsoft Outlook, and Live Meeting allows for easy initiation and control of audioconferencing. The latest release of Live Meeting offers numerous new capabilities, and at the same time demonstrates our commitment to and progress toward an integrated communications experience for our customers.”
Licensing and Availability
The 2005 release of Microsoft Office Live Meeting is scheduled to be available to customers beginning March 11. Live Meeting is offered in Standard and Professional editions and is sold as a hosted online service. Several license models are available (named user, room, shared seat and monthly minute) in order to accommodate different types of organizations. Live Meeting Event Services also are available for customers that require professional event management to conduct their online events.
Through the delivery of technologies such as Live Meeting, Microsoft Office Live Communications Server and Communicator, Microsoft is delivering on its integrated communications vision. Customers who qualify for Select and Enterprise Agreement programs will have an opportunity to save by acquiring these solutions at a discount through a promotional package being offered between now and June 30, 2005. This promotion gives customers an extensible standards-based platform for all enterprise real-time communications (presence, instant messaging, audio, video, VoIP and integrated telephony) that integrates with back-end and desktop systems. For more promotion details, consumers should visit Real-Time Collaboration Solution Package for New Customers or contact their Microsoft sales representative.
Free Trial of Live Meeting
Microsoft is offering a free 14-day trial of Live Meeting. Those interested can sign up for the free trial or learn more about Live Meeting at http://www.microsoft.com/livemeeting.
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