Cisco today unveiled new versions of its popular WebEx and Jabber communications tools at its customer conference in Miami. There are new features, beefed up mobile clients, and a better experience for the low-end users with free versions too. With today's announcements, Cisco is finally pulling together the various pieces of technology that it purchased several years ago, and offering a compelling reason to look closer at its offerings.
Jabber will have a free downloadable Web plug-in to make it easier to access the Cisco communications features. This means that a user with a browser can do text chats and participate in video conferencing across a wide range of client devices, including iOS, Android and Blackberry phones. Cisco has the first version of an SDK that is available here to help corporate developers incorporate Jabber features into custom apps. To incorporate these features, you will need a no-cost license for Cisco Communications Manager.
Not to be left out of the free action, there will be a new "Basic" edition of WebEx that will support up to three participants with the full range of features, which will be available early next year. The new features include Cisco's "one-button-to-push" technology, where WebEx users can now easily connect into Cisco TelePresence meetings from their Android and Apple mobile devices. Integrated experiences will also be provided with Cisco Jabber, Cisco Quad and Cisco Medianet. A public beta is expected next month. Added to WebEx will be the ability to have persistent storage similar to the cloud-drive products, so that work teams can more easily collaborate on documents. The meeting space (see above) looks a lot like Facebook/Yammer/Socialtext and other social sharing apps.