Cisco is clearing a path for users to conduct WebEx presentations and social networking from anywhere.
Filling in another piece of the mobility portfolio pie for channel partners, the networking giant launched WebEx Social and a cloud-based service designed to bring social and collaboration to mobile devices, email and business productivity apps.
Included in Cisco WebEx Social, formerly Cisco Quad, are a slew of new features that actually allow users to participate in social collaboration wherever their mobile device happens to be.
Specifically, WebEx Social entails Microsoft Office integration, e-mail integration with Microsoft Outlook and others, as well as mobility features for iPhone and iPad, while also incorporating video capabilities compatible with an array of video endpoints. Deployment models include on-premise, partner-hosted and Cisco-hosted.
Along with the WebEx Social rollout, Cisco is extending WebEx cloud services to encompass its social and telepresence solutions, essentially opening the services up to an organization’s entire network, including remote workers relying on their mobile devices for connectivity. As such, partners and remote/contracted workers can do just about everything they could do within the confines of the office, such as social and real-time collaboration, and video, voice, IM and Web conferencing.
Cisco also released an array of new capabilities with its Cisco WebEx Telepresence, one of the WebEx cloud services that will be managed by the company and sold through authorized partners. The service aligns with SMB needs by reducing complexity and cost. Among other things, the service offers the ability to host a video call with up to nine users and centrally manage subscriptions and contact lists on an online customer portal, plus if offers support for the platform, streamlined subscription tiers and a new annual pre-pay option.
“More than ever, companies are rethinking the way they have traditionally done business to take a more social approach,” says Murali Sitaram, vice president and general manager of Cloud Collaboration Technology Group at Cisco. “With today’s announcements, Cisco is marrying the best of consumer social network features with a complete set of integrated collaboration cloud services for a seamless and integrated user experience. This new experience gives customers the option to securely participate in social business from the device and application of their choice.”
WebEx Social Server will be available worldwide starting next month, while the cloud-based solution will be available in North America in July.
Meanwhile, the accelerated reliance on social collaboration tools and mobility has trickled into market segments in an array of verticals. Subsequently, the release of the Cisco WebEx offerings will likely give partners a critical mobility tool to round out their entire networking portfolio – or bulk up a burgeoning mobility practice. Specifically, the spate offerings allow partners to make inroads in the SMB by introducing and managing social collaboration and cloud tools in smaller markets, especially as more offices become decentralized and enable remote workers.
The WebEx social and cloud service bolsters existing infrastructure in mid-market and enterprise organizations that demand connectivity along with mobility as their offices become more distributed. Partners will also be able to flex their creative muscle by tailoring relevant professional services around an organization’s distinct social collaboration and mobile needs.
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