Enterprise-only unified messaging social networks have gained momentum in recent months, especially since the introduction of Salesforce.com's Chatter, which has brought some new gravitas to the space.
Yammer also has had a growing stake in the sector for the last few years and has done a respectable job. And Facebook, with its Messages app launched last November, has brought attention to unified messaging.
Now, an established (18-year-old) IT provider that's relatively new on this block, BroadVision-with its cloud-based Clearvale application-has branched out with a free version to make more news in the market.
BroadVision's Clearvale Express, launched Feb. 8, is a streamlined version of the high-function Clearvale Enterprise, the company's frontline enterprise social networking environment. Clearvale Express enables any business to create social networks for use inside and outside of the enterprise on a cloud platform.
The Clearvale cloud service enables enterprises to connect not only their own in-house staff in a closed social network but also their own service providers, partners, customers-the entire supply chain-and collaborate in a familiar-looking environment.
One of the key features of Clearvale Express-freely available by itself or as part of Clearvale Enterprise-is its integration with Google Apps.
"With a large number of SMBs worldwide now using Google Apps, Clearvale Express brings a new level of performance to their productivity suites," BroadVision Chief Marketing Officer Giovanni Rodriguez told eWEEK.
Another key differentiator for Express is that it has a seamless upgrade path to additional enterprisewide collaboration features, Rodriguez said.
Clearvale-the UI of which looks a lot like Facebook-also can serve as a cloud platform as a service for telecommunications providers to resell. That cloud service is called PaasPort (for platform as a service).
Large enterprises have also been looking for a streamlined version of Clearvale, Rodriguez said. SoftBank Telecom, one of BroadVision Clearvale's biggest customers in Japan, is using Clearvale to bring its own services to that large SMB market.