Cisco is making it easier for businesses to use its WebEx and Jabber communications platforms on a variety of mobile devices and through cloud-based applications.
is looking to grow the capabilities of its collaboration offerings-including
WebEx and Jabber
-to address the mobile trends of what
company executives agree is the "post-PC" era.
At the Cisco
Collaboration Summit 2011 event in Miami Nov. 16, company officials announced
enhancements to WebEx and Jabber to enable users to leverage the new
technologies-from the deluge of mobile devices to the growth of cloud-based
applications-that are coming into the enterprise. The enhancements are in line
with where interest in the business and tech worlds in heading, according to
Michael Smith, director of collaboration product marketing at Cisco.
innovation ... is much more in mobile and cloud," Smith told eWEEK,
adding that the focus of communications is becoming less
about the PC and more about people and their devices.
, Cisco is looking to expand its reach
beyond just the online meeting itself, and into a technology that touches the
entire lifecycle of a meeting-from the preparation leading up to it, to the
meeting itself, to follow-up tasks afterward, according to Raj Gossain, vice
president of product management for the Collaboration Software Group at Cisco.
enhanced WebEx Meetings spaces, users can collaborate on files and presentations
in a real-time fashion from their mobile devices or PCs, see who is available
to meet and communicate with them through instant messaging to prepare for a
meeting, conduct it and then follow up, according to Cisco. Users also can
schedule meetings and share documentation-from agendas to notes to
recordings-before, during and after the meeting.
Cisco also is
adding support for its own Cius tablet and Apple's iPhone to WebEx (which
already supports Apple's iPad). Voice over IP also is now available on the
iPhone and iPad. WebEx employees using the Cius or Apple devices also can now
more easily connect to meetings that are using Cisco's TelePresence immersive
video conferencing technologies by pushing a single button. Further integration
will include Jabber and Cisco's Quad enterprise social networking platform
and common APIs will allow for integration of third-party applications such as
version of the enhanced WebEx offering will begin in December, with general
availability scheduled for the first quarter of 2012, according to Cisco.
will offer the WebEx Basic Edition, a free version of the collaboration
technology that will support up to three participations in a meeting and offers
users VOIP audio, standard video, instant messaging, presence, desktop sharing
and 250MB of storage. The Basic Edition, which will be available in 2012, is a
way to "make WebEx meetings more available," with the hope that people trying
the free version will see the benefits and migrate to paid versions, Gossain
versions of WebEx offer such features as high-definition video and more than
250MB of storage.
Jabber, Cisco is offering a new Web plug-in that will let users embed Cisco
unified communications (UC) technologies into Web browsers of interconnected devices,
enabling Jabber to be available from a business' Web-based applications, such
as finance or CRM, Smith said. In addition, a new software development kit will
make all the Jabber collaboration features accessible via the cloud, Smith
said. Using the SDK, developers can create Web-based applications that
incorporate features in the UC platform, such as presence, voice, video and IM.
get support in building the Jabber-based applications through the Jabber
Development Program, a portal and program found within the Cisco Developer
Network. In the portal, developers will find sample codes, instructional videos
and an online community, according to the company.
The SDK is
available now for the Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Safari browsers
for Windows and Mac operating systems. Smith said a second version of the SDK,
which will come out in the first quarter 2012, will include support for
high-definition video in the applications based on Jabber.