IBM Takes Rich Media Beyond Banners

HotMedia 2.5 adds synchronized streaming audio and batch processing for high-volume e-commerce applications

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NEW YORK - 01 Nov 1999: -- IBM today announced software that makes it easier for companies to make their online business efforts more interactive. The newest release of IBM's rich media software allows companies to more easily integrate bandwidth-intelligent, high-volume multimedia with their existing business processes.

IBM HotMedia* 2.5 enables companies to synchronize HotMedia streaming audio with images for more interactive Web-based presentations, slide shows and panoramas. The new release also includes a batch processing feature that gives high-volume, mega-product e-commerce, customer service and auction sites the ability to automate the production of large amounts of rich media content. These features are important as large retailers move to enhance their customers' experiences through the use of interactive rich media. ( is using HotMedia 2.5's enhanced audio functionality to promote its MP3 Web site. According to Stephanie Shore, marketing manager for, "HotMedia allows us to play several different music clips within the banner. It's an exciting way to attract users to our new MP3 music site because they can preview sample tracks before they visit."

"HotMedia makes it easier for companies to create and manage rich media for e-business," said Bill Pence, director of development for IBM's Internet Media Group. "The new features in HotMedia 2.5 allow companies to make the digital experience more closely resemble the physical one, and easily turn static visuals into multimedia Web applications."

IBM HotMedia 2.5 is available for media professionals to download at In addition to the synchronization and batch processing enhancements, the new release includes:

-- Enhanced streaming audio with selectable quality that provide options to trade-off bandwidth and listening experiences

-- A new authoring tool Graphical User Interface (GUI) for Windows and Mac platforms for convenient copy/paste and other ease-of-use functions

-- Player control Application Programming Interface (API) for JavaScript control of HotMedia to create customized navigation and playback controls

-- Image scrolling for advanced ticker experiences

-- GIF transparency support for optimizing bandwidth and memory usage

-- Floating tool tips for hot spots for enhanced interactivity in rich media experiences

-- User specified time interval for auto transition from thumbnail for additional control of page download characteristics

-- Event triggers for creating sophisticated rich media experiences, such as mouse-over streaming audio or daisy-chained panoramas

"We design using interactivity to pull our audience into a place where they will naturally want to participate. Balancing user controlled experiences with elements of playfulness and information is key to the success of a campaign that uses rich media," said Audrey Fleisher, creative director at Ogilvy Interactive. "HotMedia has opened up the way that rich creative concepts can be delivered without special plug-ins. Using HotMedia panoramas we can include an interactive experience that puts our Web audience into the situation. They are no longer simply spectators. They are participants."

HotMedia plays an important role in IBM's strategy to help companies transform their creative and business processes to become e-businesses. IBM HotMedia is the first rich media technology for the Web to fully harness the power of Java**. The HotMedia player is broken into tiny applets (typically less than 10 Kbytes in size), which are delivered to the user on an as-needed basis. This patented "smart content" technology requires no plug-ins or special server requirements, eliminating two of the most significant drawbacks to the adoption of rich media.

The product's new JavaScript player control API allows HotMedia to work with other objects in a Web application. HotMedia objects such as slide shows, videos, panoramas and tours can be controlled from within the user interface of applications such as distance learning and corporate communications products without plug-ins or special controls. The new slideshow feature in IBM HotMedia 2.5 works with content or presentation products that can output HTML or GIF/JPEG files. HotMedia features can be added to the slides and controlled by the new event trigger function in release 2.5.

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