Microsoft Corp. is introducing a new release of Microsoft Office Live Meeting, its hosted Web conferencing service. New features include the ability to launch a meeting from within a Microsoft Office software, more effortless and cost-effective audio controls, and new 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.
, 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," Jeff Raikes, Microsoft group vice president of the Information Worker Group 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."
Microsoft Office integration makes it simpler to meet from information workers' familiar tools. It is 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.
New 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 Meeting Lobby provides a simple way to bring new entrants into a meeting waiting room while they are waiting for the presenter's permission to join the 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.
The 2005 release of Microsoft Office Live Meeting is scheduled to be available to customers beginning 11 March. 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.