SPC, Serif plan Intelligent future

SPC will release in March 1997 a low-priced conferencing product that lets users conduct presentations over the Web. Longer term, SPC will build the company around its Intelligent Formatting technology and integrate new releases of Serif's PagePlus DTP and DrawPlus illustration software into its product line-up.

SPC will release in March 1997 a low-priced conferencing product that lets users conduct presentations over the Web. Longer term, SPC will build the company around its Intelligent Formatting technology and integrate new releases of Serif's PagePlus DTP and DrawPlus illustration software into its product line-up.

ActivePresenter is described as a tool for creating "meat and potatoes" remote conferences for non-techies. Based on SPC's ASAP Intelligent Formatting engine that lets presentations be quickly created, slides are typically saved in sub-1kb sizes. SPC envisages presentations "using the telephone as the audio component". Viewers who are late to conferences will be able to review slides. A formal announcement for the product will be made in the third week of January with shipment in March. Pricing will be about the £50 mark.

Separately, SPC said a new version of Serif's flagship DTP package, PagePlus 5.0, will ship in the summer, to be followed at some point by an upgrade to DrawPlus. SPC and Serif were both acquired by US firm Allegro New Media earlier this year. However, SPC communications director Maurice Hamoy said: "ASAP Intelligent Formatting is the future of the company. We expect to create a family of four or five products this year, including a tool for creating rich e-mail."

That new focus means SPC's former flagship Harvard Graphics looks sunk. "It's got a one million user base but we haven't been asked for an upgrade. A lot of people have moved over to ASAP or Microsoft PowerPoint."

On January 12, SPC will release ActiveOffice, a companion product for Microsoft Office for creating tables and other formatting objects from Word and Excel data.

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