Citrix is adding a new, social twist to some well-established technologies, namely instant messaging and video chat. The company unveiled Podio Chat, a feature that allows teams to add a layer of instant, "in context" communications to their collaborative projects, according to Citrix.
The text messaging component is available now; the video and audio chat portion will roll out this summer. Podio is Citrix's extensible, cloud-enabled social collaboration platform with customizable workflows ranging from customer relationship management (CRM) to project management.
"Podio Chat bridges the gap between 'real time' and 'my time,' increasing the velocity of communications within Podio and making purposeful collaboration happen faster and more effectively – no more waiting for answers," said Bernardo de Albergaria, Citrix vice president and general manager of SaaS Products and Markets.
Compared to standalone IM implementations, Citrix asserts that the integration adds a real-time element to team communications, across both internal and partner networks, for more effective and collaborative discussions surrounding work projects. Video chat, when it launches, will further enhance the platform.
"Podio also gives teams the option of using Video Chat for easy, unplanned, and ad hoc 1:1 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.
"The real value of IM and video chat is when it's used in the context of the work in progress – the tasks, projects and deliverables in action that require discussion to get done," added Tommy Ahlers, Citrix's vice president of social collaboration.
New Social, Mobile Features
Podio Chat reports on fellow users' availability, and also includes a time zone feature. It supports one-to-one, group chats and saving conversations. Users can also initiate audio-only chats or launch into ad-hoc or scheduled video meetings. Taking a cue from social media, Podio allows users to "like" status messages, tasks and projects.
Mobile users can load the Podio app on their iPhones, iPads or Android handsets or tablets. Podio supports switching between PCs and devices in mid-chat. It offers cloud storage integration with several popular services, including Google Drive, Dropbox, Box and Microsoft SkyDrive.
Ovum IT Principal Analyst Richard Edwards noted that the new capabilities turn Podio into a more complete social collaboration platform. "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, delivering a transformative opportunity for businesses and institutions to do things differently," he said in a company statement.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.