Demo Software: Macromedia Breeze

Breeze is almost a throwback - a combination of PowerPoint presentations enhanced by sophisticated, edited audio narration and then auto-generated Flash deployment. Macromedia has added 3 more capabilities: 1) a training module to test for presentation effectiveness, 2)a link to Communication Server so live Breeze presentations can be broadcast over the Web and 3)an overall Breeze assets management function.

A good Flashead could use Macromedia's Contribute 2 and FlashPaper to rig a up a pretty good approximation of basic Breeze; but it can be done faster and with much greater ease in Breeze. Specifically, Breeze adds a plugin into Microsoft PowerPoint (97, 2000 or XP) running in Windows 98, ME, NT4, 2000 or XP. This plugin adds about a dozen extra menu options to PowerPoint that makes it simple to add narration to a PowerPoint Presentation including using templates and pre-scripted subsections of a presentation. Thus pulling together a collaborative presentation is a ... uhh Breeze.

The Training module of Breeze offers automated course administration functions for enrollment/self-registration, alerts/notification, testing/measurement and final testing certification. Breeze Training allows an complete management of Breeze Presentation and Breeze Live courses and assets. Unfortunately, it currently does not extend to other eLearning assets and deliverables except in a limited file handling way. But given Macromedia's Authorware and Director tools one should expect at least these assets to be incorporated into a broader eLearning working set.

Breeze Live allows initiation and control of live conferencing and meetings over an intranet and/or the Web. Breeze Live creates virtual meeting rooms to which attendees are invited. When a participant joins the meeting (usually through a simple email delivered URL address), they see a multi-pane window (high user customizable). There may be a presenter pane if a video webcam option is used. There will be attendees present pane and a instant chat pane. The presenter(s) will have some special panes including a notice board that only they have access to as well as the main presentation pane which can accomodate Breeze, PowerPoint and other desktop software presentations. Within the presentation pane, the presenter can use pointer tools to add emphasis - but whiteboarding and direct interaction beteween attendees is limited. As we shall see in an upcoming collaboration/conferencing review Breeze Live offers some real functional advantages but is behind in other areas. Breeze Live's key strength is the total package - including the Training module and course administration features including the ability to easily record a Breeze Live session for later re-presentation. But now that Microsoft has bought Placeware which becomes Microsoft Live meeting and IBM/Lotus have reworked SameTime and their eLearning package - this space has become highly competitive.

But so also has the demo software arena as evidenced by Camtasia Studio, our next product.

Top of Page  Reviews Home