Cisco weds WebEx with telepresence

It is now possible to patch WebEx users into Cisco telepresence conferences as full participants

Cisco announced at the Enterprise Connect conference in Orlando, Fla., today that it is now possible to patch WebEx users into Cisco telepresence conferences as full participants.

The browser-based WebEx service can be used for business-to-business connections, Cisco's President of Development and Sales Robert Lloyd said during his keynote.

[ RELATED: The future of telepresence: It's virtual, mobile and social

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Endpoints can now connect through browser-based WebEx to join a conference set up by Cisco telepresence gear. This could be used as a B2B connection. The conferences would be scheduled in Outlook using a Cisco plug-in and participants would be sent email invitations that include a WebEx link. Content sharing is automatic to all participants.

In addition to the WebEx upgrade, Cisco announced today at Enterprise Connect:

* A software upgrade to its telepresence server and Cisco TelePresence Conductor so devices that don't require a full 1080p HD port to connect to the conference can share a port with other devices. This can mean up to 70% greater efficiency in utilization, Cisco says. The upgrade also adds to the list of possible endpoints that can join a conference to include tablets with video clients. Cisco recommends its own Jabber client but any standards-based client will do, the company says. The software upgrade supports Cisco IP phones with video capabilities as well.

* Cisco is extending its MediaNet software to videoconferencing endpoints to give network admins a more thorough view of the network and how well it is performing The software is being added to the Cisco Catalyst 6500 Supervisor 2T and the ASR 9000 series routers, with global availability targeted for this month. The ISR and ISR G2 platforms are MediaNet-enabled, and will support the new MediaNet features being introduced. They also apply to Jabber for Windows clients, TX 9000 immersive room system as well as EX series desktop systems and CTS room systems.

* A software upgrade for Cisco-hosted telepresence-as-a-service gear for service providers enables a new virtual-meeting-room service. This is a dedicated bridge that customers can call in to at will without scheduling a meeting ahead of time. It is suitable for business-to-business meetings, Cisco says. The company is working out oversubscription models so providers can scale their infrastructure to the number of customers they support.

Tim Greene covers Microsoft and unified communications for Network World and writes the Mostly Microsoft blog. Reach him at tgreene@nww.com and follow him on Twitter @Tim_Greene.

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Tags unified communicationsNetworkingvideoconferencing Cisco WebExCisco telepresence WebExvideoconferencingCisico WebEx

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