The cloud computing story for the iPad will fill out as more applications become available. The first few applications we've seen give a glimpse into how the cloud plays a role in the iPad's future, especially with collaborative services such as online meetings.
Cisco is launching a WebEx client for the iPad. Cisco is one of the more experienced companies for developing cloud-based products through its hosted service. It's beefing up that strategy, too, as mobile plays a more significant role in the workplace, especially as video is concerned.
Cisco is building a number of data centers throughout world, with the latest rolling out today, said Grace Kim of Cisco. The network gives Cisco flexibility in developing its client software for multiple platforms. WebEx is available on most smart phones through the browser. The app is available on the iPhone and the iPad. It is available on the Blackberry. WebEx does not as of yet have an app for the Android,
With the data centers in place, Cisco gets some flexibility in how it structures pricing for clients, which it can extend to new platforms. A catalyst for that strategy may be the iPad itself.
The iPad's form factor allows customers to view meetings on a screen that is simply much bigger. That's where the iPad has value. That, too, comments on how cloud computing becomes more important. The iPad makes video more logical to use. It's not available yet on the WebEx app. Cisco developed the app in the 50 days since Apple announced the iPad. Like a lot of other apps. we notice that WebEx is lacking some features. Cisco, though, is fully focused on video as a focal part of its collaboration strategy. You can expect that we will see video as part of the iPad app in future versions.
The iPad is the right device for meeting collaboration. Far more so, we would say, than the iPhone. Customers will take advantage of this, fueling the need for more data centers that are designed for tasks that require elasticity, a key tenant of the cloud computing movement. Will Cisco offer more elasticity in its pricing models? Online conferencing has its roots in the ancient history of cloud computing. That's a time that dates back more than 10 years ago, (chuckle), when we first saw the glimpses of a per use model. Kim said they are always exploring new pricing structures which you can see in new products such as its hybrid offering that allows a large enterprise to use an on-premise client for data critical sessions and the hosted service for meetings that require lesser levels of security.
The Cisco WebEx app for the iPad may be used to join meetings but at this time not to initiate. The scheduling is done online through WebEx. People will usually get an email to access the meeting. The link in the email will open the application for them to join. The iPad application comes with VOIP. The iPhone does not have VOIP technology. The iPad app includes chat. Usage is set by IT policy. It includes user authenticated SSL encryption.