WebEx Ties Web Conferencing with IP Phones

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."

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