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WebEx, the Cisco-owned meeting solutions company, is continuing the web conferencing competition with an updated iPad app. The app, WebEx says, is a product of working people becoming more mobile.

“10 years ago, I wasn’t allowed to work from anywhere but the office,” June Bower, WebEx’s vice president of Online Business, told VentureBeat in an interview. According to a study performed by WebEx, 45% of working people do their jobs remotely today. A 1990’s VP would have balked at the concept.

The idea that tablets are becoming a mainstay in the workplace is not foreign anymore. Cisco has even released a tablet specifically made for the enterprise.

WebEx is excited to press forward as well with an app focused on content and interaction. Their goal is to have an app that promotes interactivity and support content created within the meeting.

Voice and video options, the latter unavailable on GoToMeeting’s iPad app, are available for participants. The app automatically detects and displays who is speaking at any given time. Ever been on a call and had no clue who was speaking? A pop up box displays the name of whoever has the floor. For video callers, the app only shows four screens at a time. If a caller out of view wants to talk, their screen jumps to the front four.

Another cool feature is the in-app messaging option. If I need to discretely discuss a relevant issue, I can instant message any participant on the same screen as the presentation. If I need to discretely discuss why this meeting blows, I can do that as well.

Sending e-mail without disruption is also possible. Leave the app, while still listening, send your e-mail and return when ready.

WebEx tailors its products to the device. The app takes advantage of the iPad’s backside camera to allow view of the room. “This feature is being used a lot in meetings to display whiteboards,” said Bower. The goal is to bring people into your space and feel as close to the discussion as possible.

Meetings can also be recorded, saved in the app and shared.

Overall, the app is pretty smooth. Presenters are given the floor with WebEx’s signature “ball”, which can be passed by drag and drop in the participant list. Adding people to the meeting is also fairly seamless, though you still have to connect through a call. At least WebEx calls you automatically, as opposed to the manual style of GoToMeeting.

WebEx’s apps are already available on iPhone, Blackberry, Android, and Android tablets.


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