WebEx Updates Web Conferencing Suite

The fall release of Cisco's WebEx conferencing suite offers new ease-of-use features.

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Ciscos WebEx unit launched Sept. 10 the fall update of its Web conferencing and collaboration suite, which includes a series of enhancements aimed at making Web conferencing easier and more useful after meetings are over.

Among the latest enhancements to the suite—which includes WebEx Meeting Center, WebEx Event Center, WebEx Sales Center, WebEx Training Center and WebEx Support Center—is the ability to record meetings from the WebEx network.

That capability, unique in its ability to enable on-demand streaming and downloading of archived sessions, allows meeting hosts to easily record all meeting content for playback at a later time.

"Its invaluable. If you missed a meeting and want to catch up, its great having a record of what youve done," said Gary Griffiths, president of products and operations at WebEx, in Santa Clara, Calif.


Read more here about WebEx and Cisco.

WebEx Network-Based Recording can be configured to capture chat, presentations, audio and video that can be archived on the customers WORM (write once/read many) storage network.

The NBR capability, developed in response to demand, demonstrates WebEx responsiveness to customers, said Scott Jerabek, product manager at systems integrator The Cbord Group, in Ithaca, N.Y.

"During our evaluation period for WebEx, I asked for network-based session recording. After only a few months, WebEx delivered on the promise that it would be included in the near future," said Jerabek, who is using WebEx Support Center. "While we havent yet used the new feature in depth, it will come in handy for support representative training."

WebEx in its fall release also continued to build on its mantra of making Web conferencing "mind-numbingly simple," Griffiths said. Toward that end, WebEx made it faster and easier for attendees to join and participate in meetings by adding automatic form completion and attendee profiles that include preferred telephone numbers. WebEx also made it faster to launch a meeting.

Jerabek is pleased with the usability enhancements in the Web conferencing softwares dashboards for conference administrators. "The dashboard is a real improvement. We can start sessions faster and manage multiple sessions all from a single window," he said.

The third major improvement in the suite is further integration of real-time and asynchronous communications, according to Griffiths. After a Web meeting in the WebEx Sales Center component has concluded, customers can set up individual portals for each customer or prospect, which can be accessed any time by the customer and sales representative. Or users of the WebEx Event Center component can create a portal for post-event surveys.

The new releases are available now.

WebEx plans to make its first integration between its product and Ciscos on-premises Meeting Place available early next year.

"By early 2008 well be able to schedule a Meeting Place audio and/or video conference from WebEx, and from Meeting Place well be able to schedule a WebEx conference," said Griffiths.


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