Re: White Pine Reflector

Andrew Hally (ahally@wpine.com)
Tue, 18 Feb 1997 10:38:05 -0500


Hello. I'm the Product Manager for the Reflector here at White Pine. I
wanted to respond to Ross Wheeler's email from 2/18. I'm sending to the
entire list because I imagine there are others who will be interested in
this information.

A quick summary of Mr. Wheeler's complaints:
1) White Pine was unresponsive, both in sales and then in support
2) White Pine charges too much for their Reflector software
and other postings asked related questions:
3) What's the difference between the White Pine and the Cornell Reflector?
4) What operating systems is the Reflector available on?

Regarding #1, I don't doubt that Mr. Wheeler's complaints are on the mark.
One of the biggest challenges a small (but growing) software company like WP
faces in trying to bring new technology to the world is supporting
international customers. Here in the US we have a dedicated group of
salespeople whose job is to help customers understand the technology and
make use of our products to solve their problems. We also have a bunch of
hard-working support people (who seem to get high marks from most users on
this list). In Europe we have an office with both sales and support people,
but in Asia (Mr. Wheeler is from Australia, I believe) and other parts of
the world we have not yet established a presence. Here we rely on partners
and distributors for much of the effort required to directly interface with
customers, but this can be difficult given the advanced nature of the
technology. We are hiring and growing, though, to better support
international customers.

Regarding #2, I have to disagree about White Pine's pricing. The 2.1
Reflector starts at $995 for a 10-simultaneous user license and goes up to
$3495 for 100 users. Discounting is available for educational users and
volume sales. These prices are generally lower than streaming audio/video
software from companies like VDOnet, Precept, Vxtreme, and others, as well
as lower than much other "server" software. The prices are even more
reasonable when compared to products that provide similar (realtime,
multipoint audio/video communications) functionality. Such MCUs, now only
available in hardware, typically cost $20 - $80,000! (Although the quality
is higher - for now!)

Regarding #3, after initially focusing resources on the CUSM client, White
Pine is now aggressively adding value to the server side. Version 2.1 added:
* Standards-based, multicasting to the desktop (the first conferencing
server software to do so!)
* Support for customer tracking and billing (of keen interest to ISPs and
content providers)
* Graphical user interface for Reflector setup and configuration (addressing
the #1 customer issue, ease of use)
Perhaps more importantly, we believe the White Pine Reflector is a more
robust piece of software. Finally, White Pine offers full support to
customers implementing our technology. And, we are hard at work doing even
more cool things for 3.0! (Any New England-based TCP/IP, client/server
software engineers looking for a job? Check our Web page.)

Regarding platforms, Reflector 2.1 is available on:
* Sun Solaris 2.4/2.5
* Sun OS 4.1.1 - 4.1.4
* HP-UX 9.5
* Digital UNIX 4.0
* Irix 5.3
* BSD 2.1
* Linux 2.0.18
* Windows 95 and NT (3.5.1 and 4.0)
* AIX 3.2.5
* Soon for Alpha NT and AIX 4.2

For more info, check out the Web site www.wpine.com, or call sales at
800-241-PINE.

Hope this info is helpful, and Ross, sorry we did such a poor job responding
to your needs. I hope we get the chance to do better some time in the future.

Regards,

Andrew

PS - keep the comment/feedback coming. We're always interested in ways to
make the product better.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
"Eschew obfuscation"
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Andrew Hally
Director of Product Marketing, CU-SeeMe Reflector
White Pine Software
603-886-0903, x.324
ahally@wpine.com
www.wpine.com