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.
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
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
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
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
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