Tuesday, May 4, 1999

New customers, Mac support and support for third party Java applets highlight new release

San Francisco, CA, May 4, 1999 — IBM today made it easier to add sizzle to rich media banner ads and Web sites with the release of HotMedia 2.0. The second release of the plug-in-free Java tool includes e-commerce-enhancing features designed to attract, retain and track customer mouse clicks.

At the @d:tech Conference here, IBM also announced support for third party Java applets, allowing partners to build Java players that can be incorporated into HotMedia. As an example, IBM and Interactive Pictures Corporation (IPIX) will support IPIX 360 degree images as objects in HotMedia files. As part of this relationship, the HotMedia toolkit will also be bundled with IPIX products.

IBM also announced the addition of several new customers who are using HotMedia to add rich media to their Web sites, including Brookstone, CVS Pharmacy, Designer Outlet and Intellicast.

HotMedia technology plays an important role in IBM’s strategy to help marketing communications companies transform their creative and business processes to become e-businesses. Through use of HotMedia and other innovative technologies and services, IBM is helping marketing communications companies generate new revenues and increase operational efficiencies.

“Rich media makes the Web more natural, intuitive, and useful — which is good for advertising agencies and other businesses and consumers,” said Armando Garcia, vice president of Internet media at IBM. “Eliminating the need for plug-ins, providing authoring support for the Mac community and adding support for third-party Java applets such as IPIX, make rich media more accessible to designers and the people they design for.”

New Features

Version 2.0 of the HotMedia toolkit, which can be downloaded free-of-charge beginning June 1, 1999, includes the following new features:

  • Authoring support for the Mac. While Macintosh users have always been able to view HotMedia content over the Web, a version of the HotMedia assembly tool is now available for creating HotMedia content on the Macintosh platform (HotMedia v1.2 only).
  • Java streaming audio. Using the HotMedia 2.0 authoring tool, designers can add full streaming audio to a HotMedia file, in addition to the mouse-over sound effects supported in HotMedia 1.2. HotMedia can deliver the streaming audio without the need for dedicated servers.
  • Java 360 degree images. Using the HotMedia 2.0 authoring tool, users can include 360 degree images into a HotMedia file. HotMedia 2.0 supports IBM’s own 360 degree panoramic Java player, as well as the IPIX Java panoramic player. Hotspots, including mouse-over audio effects, can also be added to 360 degree images.
  • New user interface for the HotMedia player. An optional user interface that communicates user-driven actions (animation, audio, zoom, 3D, audio controls, etc.) enables users to navigate content more intuitively.
  • Advanced tracking. This facility includes hover-time and flexible tracking parameters, which extend HotMedia’s existing tracking capability. HotMedia’s tracking capabilities are designed to easily work with a Web site’s existing tracking system. As part of IBM’s commitment to privacy, HotMedia’s tracking features can be disabled when the content is created, preventing any tracking of user activity.
  • TrackSelect. This new feature enables content authors to “label” the media tracks within a HotMedia file with information such as target demographics and minimum required network speed. Using this feature, Web publishers can target individual elements of, for example, a banner ad to specific target audiences.
  • Timing estimation. A ‘timing meter’ within the HotMedia assembly tool provides estimated download times for the various objects in a HotMedia file based on a target bandwidth.

MatchLogic, the Colorado-based leader in digital marketing solutions, will use the TrackSelect feature to provide highly targeted online advertising across the Web. “Together with MatchLogic’s demographic databases and our SpeedSelect solution for determining the effective bandwidth a user is experiencing, TrackSelect can help provide compelling, targeted, and bandwidth-appropriate content for the end user,” said Michael Healy, Vice President of Business Development at MatchLogic.

New Customers

New customers using IBM’s HotMedia to enhance their Web sites, include Brookstone, CVS Pharmacy, Designer Outlet and Intellicast.

Brookstone — This e-catalog uses HotMedia to display and allow viewers to interact with particular products — zooming in for a closer view, rotating products 360 degrees, and actually playing back product audio features, including multiple tracks of “soothing sounds” of the ocean, rainforest etc.

CVS Pharmacy — Visitors to CVS’ website are greeted by a HotMedia enabled banner, which serves as a unique navigation tool, allowing viewers to experience different segments of the site, without leaving their homepage.

Designer Outlet — This online off-price designer clothing store gives viewers an interactive 3-D experience through the visualization features of HotMedia, which allow shoppers to unzip a jacket and examine the lining, all with the click of a mouse.

Intellicast — The premiere weather forecasting site on the Web is using HotMedia to allow visitors to track tornados and hurricanes.

IPIX Partnership

Demonstrating its ability to integrate third-party Java functions into HotMedia, IBM announced a business partnership with Interactive Pictures Corporation (IPIX), the leader in photography for the Internet. IPIX will bundle HotMedia 2.0 with its IPIX Camera kits allowing users to incorporate HotMedia features in IPIX images. This combination provides IPIX users with hotlink, audio and animation capabilities without the need for a plug-in. The IPIX wizard is also built-in to the HotMedia 2.0 authoring tool, making it easy for designers to incorporate IPIX content into their HotMedia creations. IPIX will distribute HotMedia 2.0 with its entire product line.

“IPIX images have become a new interactive media type on the Internet. Our partnership with IBM will accelerate awareness of IPIX technology by providing Web developers and content creators with a Java-based enhanced multimedia tool to create innovative rich media and sticky content,” said Jim Phillips, chairman and CEO of Interactive Pictures. “Hotmedia 2.0 with IPIX will give the creative community a powerful e-commerce solution and consumers the added benefit of new interactive media experiences that are quick, easy and fun to view.”

About IBM
IBM is the world’s largest information technology company, with 80 years of leadership in helping businesses innovate. IBM software offers the widest range of applications, middleware and operating systems for all types of computing platforms, allowing customers to take full advantage of the new era of e-business. The fastest way to get more information about IBM software is through the IBM software home page at: http://www-01.ibm.com/software. For more information about
IBM HotMedia please visit: http://wiki.panotools.org/IBM_Hotmedia.

Customer & Partner Contacts:
Carol Kate
Sharon Rached (Image 9 Web dev)
212-268-4444, x14

CVS Pharmacy
Pooja Panjwani
401-765-1500, x3432

Lauren Battista

Michael Sikellian

Interactive Pictures Corporation (IPIX)
Patricia Fortuna