Symantec Bolsters Altiris Virtualization

At Tech-Ed today, Symantec delivered what company officials described as a "significant" upgrade to the Altiris Software Virtualization Solution (SVS) that is intended to bolster software management.

The new version contains a number of application virtualization improvements, along with support for Windows Vista, and a new capability for carrying out integrated application streaming. The company also announced it has signed a deal to partner with AppStream, which specializes in application streaming.

Company officials said these latest series of enhancements should give corporate users the ability to install and run applications that are more suited to their more individual needs. They can better choose "the software delivery model that works best for them," said Steve Morton, vice president of product marketing and strategy at Altiris.

Citing a recent research study conducted by Gartner, Symantec officials noted that application virtualization combines so well with streaming technology that the two terms are becoming synonymous and that "the two technologies are destined to eventually become inseparable."

Version 2.1 of the product will be available this week through the company’s direct sales force and resellers. The product costs $29 per node.

Microsoft Adds Key Piece to Unified Communications Strategy
After two years of "fast and furious" work, as Microsoft’s Roger Murff described it, the company showed off its shiny new version of Office Meeting Live 2007 at Tech-Ed this week. Murff, director of marketing for Microsoft’s Unified Communications services group, said he sees the new service as an integral piece of the company's rather complex unified communications and collaboration strategies.

"With this product, we are pulling together two kinds of audio, both phone and computer audio or voice, live Webcam video through our RoundTable product where you will have 360-degree live video, and support for showing rich media file formats," Murff said. "Another important aspect, it is built on the same technology platform as the Web conferencing available in Office Communications Server 2007."

The upcoming product, expected to become available this fall, also provides a good example of what to expect from Microsoft’s Software Plus Services initiative, he said.

"This is a nice, clean example of what that [Software Plus Services] is all about. Multiple people can have a Web conference looking at a PowerPoint presentation, using the same client, and use either Live Meeting or Live Communications Server 2007 on the back end," Murff explained. "You can both have a rich client experience with technology being served out in the way it makes sense to an IT organization."

High-Tech Companies Show Some Online R-E-S-P-E-C-T
In the latest report from the Customer Respect Group, high-tech companies have shown significant improvement in how they treat online customers. The quarterly study evaluated the Web sites of a varied sampling of high-tech and computing companies based on a common set of criteria.

The research company has a comparable Customer Respect Index (CRI) that is provided for each company offering an analysis and independent measure of a customer's experience when interacting via the Internet. The CRI is made up of three concepts: site usability (how usable a site is to a wide range of users), communication (how willing the company is to provide customers one-on-one communication) and trust (can the site be trusted with personal data?).

The average rating for the high-tech industry in the latest report was 6.3 on a 10-point scale, which, for the first time, outpaced all of the other major industry segments. The 6.3 score was a significant improvement from the last report, particularly in two areas: online communications -- a longtime weakness of the industry -- and what the study calls "principles," which measures respect for customers' personal data.

"There has been an improvement in the industry, specifically in the willingness to engage with the customer one-on-one, but this is inconsistent across the industry," said Terry Golesworthy, president of The Customer Respect Group. "We see some companies starting to see customer respect and interaction as critical to driving more business and education through the Web site, while other companies still see the site as brochure-ware."

The top tech companies in the latest study were:

  • Electronic Data Systems (8.2)
  • Hewlett-Packard Company (7.7)
  • Adobe Systems (7.4)
  • IBM (7.4)
  • Lexmark International (7.4)
  • McAfee (7.3)
  • Intuit (7.2)
  • Accenture (7.1)
  • Fujitsu (7.1)
  • Gateway (7.0)
  • Lenovo (7.0)
  • Symantec (7.0)

The full report is available from The Customer Respect Group at http://www.customerrespect.com.

About the Author

Ed Scannell is the editor of Redmond magazine.

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