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Cisco brings Webex Teams messaging to Jabber client

Cisco is bringing Webex Teams messaging, file sharing, presence and search features to the Jabber client as part of a broader effort to streamline its UC apps.

Businesses can now connect Cisco's on-premises unified communications client, Cisco Jabber, to the Webex cloud. The release of the hybrid setup underscores Cisco's commitment to supporting both on-premises and cloud-based messaging apps.

Businesses using Cisco Jabber can enable a team messaging mode that brings several core features of Webex Teams to the Jabber client, including persistent one-to-one and team chats. The hybrid setup also includes file sharing, presence and a search tool.

The update lets businesses access those team messaging features from the Webex cloud, while keeping telephony infrastructure on premises. The hybrid setup also lets businesses federate the Jabber client with Webex Teams, so users of both platforms can collaborate without switching apps. The convenience of not having to go back and forth should make it easier for businesses to migrate from Jabber to Teams in phases.

The release is part of a broader effort by Cisco to bring together the unified communications (UC) clients Jabber, Webex Teams and BroadSoft UC-One. Cisco is working to combine the code bases of all three apps so it can deliver the same core team messaging features to each.

While Microsoft has been aggressively pushing its UC customers toward one cloud-based platform, Microsoft Teams, Cisco has embraced a multiclient approach that includes an ongoing commitment to Jabber, said Irwin Lazar, analyst at Nemertes Research in Mokena, Ill.

"I think Cisco has a more seamless integration strategy ... The Microsoft approach is more designed to move customers from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams," Lazar said. "Cisco's approach is more likely due to the reality of the large installed Jabber base."

Jabber is the UC client used with on-premises deployments of Cisco Unified Communications Manager, as well as with Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution, a single-tenant cloud offering hosted by service providers.

Cisco adds advanced meeting controls to Jabber client

Cisco has delivered a host of new meeting settings to Jabber in a new user interface that closely resembles Webex. The updates are included in the software release of Jabber version 12.5.

Users will now have more control over how Jabber displays video feeds and files in the client. For example, a user could choose to view a shared presentation side by side with a video feed or in a separate window. Also, Jabber users can now see a roster of meeting participants that shows which attendees are sharing content, muted or currently speaking.

These features are available now for businesses using Cisco Meeting Server, which lets enterprises and service providers build on-premises audio and video conferencing platforms. Cisco said it was working to integrate the Jabber interface with its other meeting products, suggesting it may soon let customers power Jabber meetings with Webex.

The 12.5 release also comes with a new web interface for managing Jabber users and devices and for automatically updating the firmware of connected Cisco headsets. Plus, the app's user interface has been updated to more closely resemble the Webex suite.

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