Video: Webex guns for Enterprise Web Collaboration, joins Widget craze

Above: For those using a feedreader or email subscription, See video interview with Shankar Iyer, VP of Strategic Initiatives at WebEx

The trend for companies to use Gadgets and Widgets is not uncommon, Google and CapGemini are in partnership to reach the enterprise market as CapGemini has links to Microsoft’s Vista’s product.

I had morning coffee with Shankar Iyer, Vice President, Strategic Initiatives of WebEx, they use PodTech (where I’m employed for another week) for Audio and Video podcasting solutions. A few years ago, Webex purchased intranets.com an internal collaboration tool they’ve started to fold into their platform. A few years ago, they released a secure IM tool, which a scaled down version has been used by AOl’s AIM product.

Most recently, WebEx has been putting resources into it’s WebEx Connect platform, which Shankar described as a “Business mashup collaboration platform”. Think widgets on top of a communication platform for extranet and intranet. There’s two major elements of this platform, one is a server side platform and the second is a client based widget platform. Inside of the client platform is a web based and desktop based program, each will quickly integrate widgets from third parties.

A practical use case of their platform could be for internal sales teams to collaborate build documents, proposals and plans, they could then work with prospects, sharing data, bringing the process to the close, then pass on to delivery and fulfillment teams. The toolset could comprise of video, IM, synchronous tools like persistent chat, document sharing, and even the dreaded email. Existing CRMs could create widgets that could deploy, making the process seamless. I’m somehow reminded of the portal movement in the late 90s which I was deploying at Exodus.

I asked Shankar a few other questions, and found out that this is part of the overall corporate strategy of WebEx, and also their recently new parent company, Cisco. In the future they will align with Cisco’s “Unified Communications” strategy, and integrate other products. I asked about Five Across, Tribes, and other acquistions, but he didn’t give me any hard answers. The Widget framework should be able to support widgets from other platforms, like NetVibes, Google Desktop and Google Widgets, Facebook and Microsoft Gadgets. “Do you have Live Video?” Shankar responded that they have partners like Veodia who are building a widget.

Web Strategy Recommendations
For companies wanting to reach the enterprise web space, I highly recommend you take a closer look at the WebEx Connect platform, they may already have the install base, corporate footprint in SMB, and may offer yet another distribution platform for your web service.

On a personal note, anything we can do to make meetings less painful or time consuming, let’s do it.

  • http://www.yugma.com/yugmaskype Karel Lukas

    Hi Jeremiah,

    This is Karel Lukas from Yugma. Just writing a quick note to let you and your readers know that we just announced our new Yugma Skype Edition this morning. With Yugma, you can invite up to 10 other people for free anytime, and you can desktop share, whiteboard, annotate, change presenters, etc. — all in real-time. As with Skype, you can always upgrade to turn on many more features and capability. Please check it out. I think you’ll be impressed with what we’ve done. Go to https://www.yugma.com/yugmaskype , or to extras.skype.com . Also, Robin Good did a comprehensive review of us first thing this morning. Also worth a look. I’ll be interested to hear what you think.

    Thanks!
    Karel

    Karel Lukas
    http://www.yugma.com

  • http://www.yugma.com/yugmaskype Karel Lukas

    PS – Interested to see what you think of Yugma’s widget strategy. Basically its all about free easy real-time web collaboration and free widgets… for the masses (windows, mac, linux). See https://www.yugma.com/yugma_buttons/index.php

  • http://community.webex.com/connect Shankar Iyer

    Jeremiah,

    Great post. To add to your comment about the ‘portal movement’ from the 90s, I reckon that this wave is similar to the Web 2.0 wave that drove consumer content – not to overuse this cliche. With on-demand apps for business, we now have the ability to bring together tailored applications suited to a business process. These apps however require a ‘glue’ much like the Google/Yahoo and other aggregations in the content world. That ‘glue’, we believe is collaboration and WebEx Connect provides a collaboration-centric mashup platform.

    For more on this, your readers can visit us on the Connect developer site at http://community.webex.com/connect.

    -Shankar

  • http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/ jeremiah_owyang

    Shankur, Great to get your perspective, thanks!

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  • http://community.webex.com/connect Shankar Iyer

    Jeremiah,

    Great post. To add to your comment about the 'portal movement' from the 90s, I reckon that this wave is similar to the Web 2.0 wave that drove consumer content – not to overuse this cliche. With on-demand apps for business, we now have the ability to bring together tailored applications suited to a business process. These apps however require a 'glue' much like the Google/Yahoo and other aggregations in the content world. That 'glue', we believe is collaboration and WebEx Connect provides a collaboration-centric mashup platform.

    For more on this, your readers can visit us on the Connect developer site at http://community.webex.com/connect.

    -Shankar

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002232172288 Mark Cleaner

     Interesting article and it shows that even in 2007, people were thinking about integrated enterprise video solutions but if  you really want to know what that future will look like, sign up for a free webinar here http://blogs.carouselindustrie… and keep in mind that the importance of common standards and integration systems to ensure the combination of usability and relevent functionality that result in tangible improvements to workflow and communication.