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PointCast points to intranets

PointCast hopes to turn its harshest critics into enthusiastic supporters with an upcoming intranet version of its software.

PointCast, haunted by network administrators who fear its popular Internet-based news broadcasts will choke corporate intranets, will roll out a new product October 14 designed to cut network traffic by 80 percent or more.

PointCast posts personalized, continually updated news via the Internet directly to a computer user's screensaver, and corporate computer chiefs at Intel and Hewlett-Packard have considered banning PointCast to save bandwidth.

PointCast claims I-Server beta testers have experienced an average of a 90 percent reduction in network traffic with the new software. In addition, I-Server will allow companies to broadcast information on new products, competitors, earnings, corporate policies, or other internal news directly to employees' computer screens through internal networks. PointCast calls it the first server software to add broadcast capability to corporate intranets.

That feature is designed to address concerns among systems managers and network administrators that PointCast users suck capacity from a corporate network. Intel and Hewlett-Packard, for example, have considered banning PointCast from their networks.

In addition, an existing information infrastructure that includes HTML documents stored on Web servers can be easily integrated with I-Server. It also makes PointCast's personalization features available to intranet users.

Along with a "private" corporate channel, employees can receive up to ten PointCast Network channels on their desktop. Companies can create new content for their corporate channel or point to existing articles stored on Web servers using HTML-based forms from PointCast.

"The broadcast delivery of information to employee desktops is the next logical step in internal company communications," Chris Hassett, PointCast's president and CEO said, adding that Fortune 1000 companies have show great interest in I-Server.

Free client software can be downloaded from the company's Web site. Buyers of PointCast I-Server, priced at $995 per CPU for Intel-based computers running Microsoft Windows NT, will receive free client software as well.