WebEx Ties Web Conferencing with IP Phones

By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2004-04-01 Print this article Print

Siemens adds WebEx meetings into its OpenScape IP communications platform, allowing users to launch a Web conference during a phone call.

In a move furthering the reach of Web conferencing, WebEx Communications Inc. announced Thursday that it has integrated its online meeting service with a major telephony vendors IP communications platform. WebEx has tied its MediaTone Network into Siemens Information and Communication Networks Groups OpenScape, its Session Initiation Protocol-based unified communications software. The integration means that two callers using IP phones through OpenScape could launch into a WebEx-hosted Web conference by pressing a button on the phone, said Praful Shah, WebEx vice president of strategic communications. "While having an ad-hoc conversation with you, rather than describing something, then I can show it to you," Shah said.
The one-button feature for launching a Web conference from an IP phone works only among internal enterprise users who are connected with OpenScape.
The combination marks the first time WebEx has added its online meetings to an IP telephony platform, Shah said. But the San Jose, Calif., company increasingly has focused on new ways to connect to its Web meeting service. Just last month, it connected with Salesforce.coms hosted CRM software, and last fall, it integrated into Yahoo Inc.s Business Messenger instant-messaging service. Shah declined to say whether WebEx is working on any other integration into telephony systems but did say the company plans to continue adding new ways to launch multimedia conferences. "Communications is getting merged," Shah said. "When people talk, they want to use a telephone, and they want to enhance that to the next level. It should be very easy." Check out eWEEK.coms Messaging Center at http://messaging.eweek.com for more on IM and other collaboration technologies.
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Matthew Hicks As an online reporter for eWEEK.com, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for eWEEK.com. Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.

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