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Small Business Digest



Conference Offering By WebEx Expanded To Better Serve Small Business Users

Three trends in small-business operations are hampering many enterprises’ efforts to focus staff and resources as generational and economic trends put more demands on staff.

The drivers for this dispersion are more workers in the field, the rise of virtual organizations and the time demands created by the current recessionary environment.

At the same time, organizations are facing generational stratification, with older workers being augmented by younger workers with differing work habits.

Pulling these diverse groups together for meetings and projects is proving difficult for many managers, according to surveys by this newsletter’s parent, Information Strategies, Inc.

Given these factors and driven by the rise of cloud-based offerings, it is not surprising that online-conferencing pioneer Cisco needed to develop new applications for its popular WebEx conferencing application.

Unlike other providers that tweaked their products when developing a cloud-based application, Cisco came up with a totally reworked product that also addresses the changing demographics of the work force.

In particular, the new offering provides videoconferencing; the ability to utilize iPhone and other smartphones and pre- and post-meeting posting of agendas and documents.

What’s more, WebEx now is free in the basic configuration for three or fewer participants.

Among WebEx Meetings’ new features:

  • High-definition, 720p video
  • Manage meeting activities, share content and files with Meeting Spaces
  • Profile personalization with avatar
  • Integrated instant messaging            

The new mobile features include:

  • Two-way video on iPhone, allowing mobile users to become full participants in a WebEx Meeting session
  • Voice-over IP on iPhone and iPad

Features sure to help smaller enterprises are the ability to:

  • Invite participants
  • Set the agenda
  • Post documents for review
  • Respond to preliminary questions from other participants

Because younger employees so value face-to-face and visual abilities during the meeting, WebEx now allows users to:

  • Interact with other participants: share content, interact with audio and see each other face-to-face with HD video
  • Share documents
  • Collaboratively edit meeting documents
  • Collectively experience demos, PowerPoint presentations, etc.

After the meeting, the updated offering allows participants to:

  • Send action items
  • Review recordings
  • Track progress of action items
  • Schedule next session
  • Store all noteworthy content

"WebEx Meetings is a full suite of collaboration tools – much more than just video chat – that enables workers to get things done anywhere, anytime and on any device. With this new offering, we're meeting the needs of today's workers by providing affordable and accessible offerings backed by top-notch, enterprise-level security." - Janine Pelosi, Senior Marketing Manager, WebEx Online.

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