Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Anystream acquires Lectopia

A quiet revolution in the delivery of recorded presentations is allowing students to review lectures on their iPods and mobile phones, in addition to the browser. Given the number of niche players and proprietary technologies, this is a business opportunity which was bound to result in industry consolidation.

It is thus not startling that Anystream, which makes the Apreso presentation recording solution, has announced it paid an undisclosed sum to acquire Australia-based educational software Lectopia from the University of Western Australia (UWA).

Lectopia (known as the iLecture System from 1999-mid 2006) was developed by staff at the UWA's Multimedia Centre. It is a first generation tool for presentation recording. Anystream's Apreso is a third generation tool for presentation recording (after products from Accordent, Sonic Foundry and Aculearn), and it excels in automated publishing and distribution. Anystream also pioneered delivery of enhanced podcasts. Perhaps the rationale for this acquisition is for Anystream to expand its international presence, while gaining access to the relatively large installed base (of 500 classrooms) Lectopia has in Australia.

The combined entity will be known as Echo360 Inc (http://www.echo360.tv). It is not yet clear if the merger involve a technology change or is simply a rebranding of Apreso, but more information is expected to be available in coming months. In any case, the move marks a formal separation of the Apreso division from Anystream's Agility product line under the leadership of recently appointed CEO Fred Singer. Anystream had indicated to customers that its Apreso 2.0 release would be available in the 3rd quarter of 2007, and the acquisition is likely to delay this release. [Disclosure: My company Iterate is a master reseller for Apreso in Singapore.]