Meeting Maker Inc. — a provider of cross platform, collaborative group calendaring and scheduling solutions — is unveiling a new product and company initiatives today, as well as a new management team (one that includes an Apple alumnus) and global expansion strategies.
Meetingmaker is a market-driven business tool that offers cross-platform, Internet-based collaborative scheduling. It’s a scalable IP-based system that supports concurrent users on a range of computing platforms. In addition to native clients for Mac (including Mac OS X), Windows and Unix operating systems, Meetingmaker offers a Java client and Palm synchronization for mobile users of handheld devices.
“We offer a Mac OS X client and server and a Mac OS 9 client,” Steven Jackson, Meetingmaker’s vice president of worldwide marketing, told MacCentral. “We’ve long been loyal to the Mac. Now Apple CEO Steve Jobs is pushing Mac OS X, which is great and the whole Unix platform is very powerful. A lot of people are beginning to use Mac OS X as their server platform, so we though it was important to have support in this area.”
Version 7.1 adds “significant functionality and performance enhancements,” according to Jackson. The first platform release of Meetingmaker is xtensible through open APIs (application programming interfaces) and is “customer-driven” with most changes being based on customer requests, he said.
Meetingmaker 7.1 — which is now “live” on the company Web site — will include a host of new features including a new Mac OS X client and server, Linux server, Web calendar publishing, LDAP and administrative APIs, SSL security and Palm sync. Also, add-on capabilities will support integration with Microsoft Outlook and Lotus Notes, Pocket PC/Windows CE and RIM devices.
In fact, you could consider the changes Meetingmaker’s “reemergence.” The service was part of On Technology from 1990-2000, but its been lying low since.
Meeting Maker provides real-time collaboration of time-stamped information, thereby improving the business process and providing a foundation for highly interactive enterprise collaboration. It transforms static calendars into dynamic scheduling across diverse groups and locations. It lets users integrate and synchronize time-stamped information across heterogeneous enterprise applications and adds value without changing, replacing or displacing enterprise systems, Jackson said.
For the first time, the 7.1 platform opens the core functionality and value of the Meetingmaker product — the ability to animate and coordinate “time-stamped” information — to enable more active collaboration with and across enterprise applications, including enterprise portals, Jackson said. By transforming static calendaring into dynamic, collaborative scheduling, the Meetingmaker platform can act as a Web services time engine to drive increased business process efficiency and continuity.
Currently, enterprise portals provide shared access to relatively static documents and information, which means that individual users have to manually manage updates, making calendar information more of a “snapshot in time,” and not necessarily an accurate record, Jackson said. What portals don’t provide is contextual collaboration, or the ability to automatically communicate changes to all affected schedules in real-time, enabling all participants to interact and contribute to an accurate and dynamic schedule. With Meetingmaker as a Web services time engine running in the background, contextual collaboration becomes a reality with unprecedented interactivity (event management, project management, resource management, etc.) in critical organizational tasks, Jackson said.
With a new management team in place, Meeting Maker Inc., is expanding its channels of distribution. The former Apple vet on the team is Jim Reekes, who worked on multimedia products at Apple for nine years.
“He’s product focused and a real Mac guy,” Jackson said. “Jim’s got Apple in his blood.”
At Meeting Maker, Reekes will be vice president of product management. Prior to joining Meeting Maker, he was software architect at Kerbango, an Internet appliance company, which was acquired by 3Com. Before Kerbango, Reekes’ tenure at Apple saw him working on the development of Apple’s high-profile audio technology architecture. He has been granted two patents for his technical innovations.
Meetingmaker Inc. has also made recent agreements with PC Connection and MicroWarehouse Canada and continues to expand global channels of distribution through partners in Europe, Japan, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand.
Why use Meetingmaker? Jackson said the company has 12 years of group calendaring and scheduling experience, were the originators of collaborative scheduling, and have 1,000,000 seats worldwide. In fact, Apple been a customer for over eight years.
There’s a downloadable trial version of the product at the Meetingmaker Web site. And the company’s online walkthrough of Meetingmaker uses Mac OS X screen captures “because the Aqua interface is so attractive,” Jackson said.