Cisco Brings WebEx To Smartphones

The Web-conferencing service is now available on popular handsets like the BlackBerry Bold, Nokia E71, and Samsung BlackJack 2.

Marin Perez, Contributor

February 18, 2009

2 Min Read

As the workforce becomes increasingly mobile, it's not always possible or convenient to be in front of a computer for meetings. With this in mind, Cisco is bringing its WebEx Web-conferencing service to popular BlackBerry, Nokia, and Windows Mobile smartphones so workers can stay connected on the go.

Mobile access to WebEx first came to the iPhone 3G earlier this year as a standalone application in Apple's App Store, but this version works through a smartphone's browser. Cisco said it was able to bring the collaboration service to more devices because the mobile data networks and handsets have matured enough to handle enterprise-grade applications on the go.

The service is available on handsets with browsers that can display JavaScript, and have the graphical hardware to display the meeting. It's currently available on devices like the Nokia E71, BlackBerry Bold, and Samsung BlackJack 2. Cisco said it plans to expand access to other major smartphones in the coming months.

Smartphone users will have most of the same conferencing abilities as if they were working with the desktop client, as they'll be able to attend scheduled meetings, view presentations, applications, and desktops with live annotations. Users can access the service to hear and see the meetings via a Wi-Fi connection, a 3G data network, or using a combination of Wi-Fi and EDGE.

"The freedom that users will be able to gain from using this solution will help businesses and their employees to increase productivity because workers will be able to work wherever and whenever they wish, using their chosen device," said Doug Dennerline, senior VP of Cisco's collaboration software group.

Cisco has also added the ability for the host to send SMS invitations to any phone, and mobile phone users can reply "1" to immediately join the audio portion of a meeting in progress. There's no cost to attend a meeting beyond what the carrier charges for voice and data, but users must have a host account on Cisco WebEx Meeting Center to schedule and host meetings.

What are the other trends in videoconferencing? InformationWeek has published an independent analysis of this topic. Download the report here (registration required).

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