December 9, 1996 10 AM ET

Web audio, visual experiences expand
By Stacy LaVilla

  IT managers looking to more easily deploy and access multimedia content on corporate World Wide Web sites will get some relief this week.

Vendors including Microsoft Corp., Intel Corp., Intermind Corp., Narrative Communications Corp. and Vivo Software Inc. will unveil at Internet World in New York software that provides greater interoperability among audio, video and communication products across the Internet.

Microsoft and Intel will announce that Microsoft's NetMeeting 2.0 data conferencing software and Intel's Internet Phone 1.0 are interoperable and H.323-standards compliant.

NetMeeting 2.0, which enables users to collaborate on data applications on the Internet, previously supported only audio and data. When used in conjunction with Intel's Internet phone, which provides low-bandwidth audio and videoconferencing, NetMeeting users can view video, said Microsoft officials in Redmond, Wash.

Microsoft also will release NetShow 1.0, which provides multimedia streaming of audio and graphics for the Internet and intranets. All three products can be downloaded for free from the companies' respective Web sites.

Intermind will announce that its Intermind Communicator Web publisher is compatible with Progressive Networks Inc.'s RealAudio technology. Intermind Communicator allows corporations to automatically send Web content updates to its subscribers, while RealAudio enables users to stream audio content.

Together, the two products enable companies to create Web content that melds text and audio, said officials of the two Seattle-based companies. Both products are available from the companies' Web sites.

Schmidt Mead Media Inc., in New York, utilizes the Intermind Communicator on many of the Web sites that it designs for clients.

"The reality of the Web is that when most people get on, they're expecting much more to happen than what actually does when they get there," said CEO Bradford Schmidt. "Audio is a critical element there."

Narrative Communications will release its Enliven product series and hosting services.

The Enliven line, which consists of a server, producer and viewer, enables corporations to provide animation, graphics and audio over the Web via analog modems, said officials in Waltham, Mass.

The company's Enliven Hosting Services program allows corporations to deploy multimedia content on the Web without purchasing Enliven products. Narrative will announce an agreement with BBN Planet Corp. to give users access to video from a BBN server. The Enliven products are available from Narrative.

Vivo, also of Waltham, will release the second version of its VivoActive video Web server software. The upgrade has improved audio and new monitoring capabilities for IS managers. It is available free from Vivo's Web site.

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