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Cisco boosts unified comms range with Jabber plug-in

The company has revealed a browser plug-in to let companies embed Jabber functionality into their web apps, along with a free version of its WebEx online conferencing client
Written by David Meyer, Contributor

Cisco is pushing to give its unified communication services greater reach, with the release of a Jabber browser plug-in that lets developers embed the functionality into their companies' websites.

The Jabber plug-in and the associated software development kit (SDK) were unveiled on Wednesday, along with a new free, basic edition of Cisco's WebEx online conferencing client. The company also announced WebEx Meetings spaces, a hosted storage and collaboration tool that gives Cisco an answer to entrenched rivals such as Dropbox.

Cisco introduced the products at its Collaboration Summit event in Miami, where it also delivered an upgrade to the WebEx conferencing product. WebEx, which already supported the iPad, can now also be used on the iPhone and Cisco's enterprise-focused Cius Android tablet, the company said.

"We've listened to our customers and significantly advanced Jabber and WebEx to enable seamless experiences on a range of devices and platforms, whether on premises or in the cloud," Barry O'Sullivan, head of collaboration and communications at Cisco, said in a statement.

O'Sullivan described Cisco's moves as part of a "post-PC" strategy targeting collaboration "on any mobile phone, tablet or internet-connected device".

Cisco acquired the Jabber technology when it bought the company of the same name in 2008. It released the Cisco Jabber application in March this year, promising "presence, instant messaging (IM), voice and video, voice messaging, desktop sharing and conferencing [in] a single consistent experience across PCs, Macs, tablets and smartphones".

With the new Jabber plug-in, customers will be able to add all these capabilities to their web apps. The SDK for the service is available for Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Safari on the Windows and Mac platforms.

WebEx products

The free version of WebEx is scheduled to come out in the first quarter of 2012. It will support up to three meeting participants and comes with VoIP, standard-definition video, IM, presence, desktop sharing and 250MB of storage.

The new paid-for WebEx product on the iPhone and Cius offers high-definition videoconferencing, in line with the company's top-end Telepresence products. It also includes a feature called 'one-button-to-push', for connecting to those Telepresence systems.

According to Cisco, WebEx Meeting spaces will let customers work together on files and presentations from their PC or mobile device, using presence features and IM to aid the collaboration. The system can also be used to schedule meetings, and share agendas and notes.

A beta version of the revamped WebEx will come out next month in English, targeting the Americas and Europe. The final version will become available in the first quarter of 2012 in English, French, German, Brazilian Portuguese, Castilian Spanish and Latin American Spanish.

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