As promised when Citrix first announced new messaging upgrades to its social collaboration platform in May, the company finally rolled out the planned audio and video calling features.
Citrix acquired Podio in April 2012, and over the past year the company has been steadily updating the cloud-based offering's feature set. In March, Citrix revamped its Podio iPhone and Android apps and added support for the Dutch and Japanese languages.
The text messaging component of the Podio Chat upgrade went live this spring. Now, users can fire up their webcams and microphones to collaborate on projects with far-flung colleagues. "Podio also gives teams the option of using Video Chat for easy, unplanned and ad hoc one-to-one face-to-face discussions, as well as setting up regular, recurring and more planned team video conferencing using GoToMeeting with HDFaces," said the company in a statement.
Moreover, users don't have to alt-tab out of Podio to initiate voice and video chats.
In a blog post, Podio co-founder Anders Pollas wrote, "No longer do you need to leave your projects and workflows in Podio to have a face-to-face discussion about what you,re working on. Video call anyone you work with, right from within Podio – no need to log in elsewhere or launch a separate application."
Podio Chat contacts now display a new phone and video icon. Clicking either starts a voice or video session directly within the Podio user experience, respectively. The functionality is available to all Podio account holders "and it comes at no additional cost whether you’re using the free version of Podio or Podio Premium," added Pollas.
The features add to Podio's centralized, all-inclusive approach to enterprise collaboration. In press remarks, the company implied that email and third-party chat services fall short. Instead, Podio Chat allows users to "save conversations, files, and decisions in one place and make use of message search to surface information you need, whenever you need it."
It's a strategy that addresses some major productivity drains for businesses, according to Ovum IT principal analyst Richard Edwards. "Despite the huge investment in enterprise collaboration solutions, siloed information management systems and stilted collaboration practices are still having a negative impact on the productivity, creativity and overall business agility of organizations," he said in a statement.
"Citrix Podio helps teams share their knowledge, know-how and experiences in range of interconnected social ways, and the introduction of Podio Chat rounds out this experience" remarked Edwards.
Podio also integrates with leading cloud storage and file-sharing services. They include, Sharefile, Google Drive, Sugarsync, Dropbox, Box, Microsoft SkyDrive, UbuntoOne and YouSendIt.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Enterprise Apps Today and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.