Microsoft Rolls Out Viva Engage for Enterprise Media Sharing

Microsoft is bringing Stories to enterprise through the company’s Viva intranet platform. Described as “a social app for digital communities,” the AI-powered Viva Engage combines popular Yammer features like polling and conversation highlights with new tools including Stories and Storyline, which Microsoft calls “personal expression tools.” The move to combine social video and productivity functions has taken some by surprise, but Microsoft says “building social capital is crucial for organizational success,” noting that its Work Trends Index reveals “43 percent of leaders believe that relationship-building is the greatest challenge of hybrid and remote work.” Continue reading Microsoft Rolls Out Viva Engage for Enterprise Media Sharing

AI-Driven Microsoft Power Apps Offers Development Shortcuts

Microsoft is previewing its express design in Power Apps, which can instantly generate low-code apps directly from design files and images. In a few clicks, anyone can now create web and mobile apps from inputs including paper forms, PDFs, sketches on the whiteboard or even assets designed in professional programs like Figma. As part of the Microsoft Power Platform, Power Apps uses advanced AI to accelerate design. “We’re particularly excited about our integration with Figma, the collaborative design platform, where so much software is designed today,” said Microsoft vice president of Power Apps Ryan Cunningham. Continue reading AI-Driven Microsoft Power Apps Offers Development Shortcuts

Microsoft Previews New Inclusive Tech Lab at Ability Summit

As part of its 12th annual Ability Summit, Microsoft is showcasing its new Inclusive Tech Lab, designed “to be an embassy for people with disabilities,” says the Redmond, Washington-based company, which also unveiled new software features and adaptive accessories to boost inclusion. The Inclusive Tech Lab will showcase Microsoft’s accessible hardware, software and services, and function as an incubator for inclusive design, the company says, calling it a place where “disability communities can ideate and evaluate product design and direction,” working with designers who are prepared to have their assumptions challenged. Continue reading Microsoft Previews New Inclusive Tech Lab at Ability Summit

Microsoft CEO Nadella Details His Vision of Metaverse-for-All

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella thinks the metaverse will be transformative. “Just like the first wave of the Internet allowed everybody to build a website, I think the next wave of the Internet will be a more open world where people can build their own metaverse worlds, whether they’re organizations or game developers or anyone else,” Nadella told analysts on an earnings call last week. The remarks follow Nadella’s January 18 statement that Microsoft’s $69 billion bid for Activision Blizzard “will provide building blocks for the metaverse.” Microsoft expects the deal to close in fiscal 2023, which begins July 1. Continue reading Microsoft CEO Nadella Details His Vision of Metaverse-for-All

Consumers Downloaded a Record 230 Billion Apps Last Year

Consumer mobile app spending hit $170 billion in 2021, according to the State of Mobile in 2022 report released by App Annie. Charting expenditures across iOS, Google Play and third-party Chinese Android app stores, the figure represents 19 percent year-over-year growth, almost flat (down from 18 percent growth in 2020). While last year, consumers installed more apps than ever, the growth rate itself is slowing. Last January, App Annie reported year-over-year download growth of 7 percent from 2020, which has dropped to 5 percent for 2021. However, in all, consumers downloaded a record 230 billion apps in 2021. Continue reading Consumers Downloaded a Record 230 Billion Apps Last Year

CES: Canon Solutions for New Reality of Virtual Work and Life

During CES, Canon introduced two new software-based collaborative tools it has in development: AMLOS, a video meeting platform based on gestures, and the VR platform Kokomo, a social VR platform for immersive video calls. Under the theme “Together Next,” Canon enlisted actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt and his online collaborative media platform HitRecord to demonstrate using the new hybrid collaboration technology in a virtual, real-time writers’ room. In addition to operation through gesture control and connectivity with Microsoft Teams and other collaboration apps, AMLOS will allow a single camera to capture multiple angles when it debuts later this year. Continue reading CES: Canon Solutions for New Reality of Virtual Work and Life

CES: Canon Intros Hybrid Meeting Software and VR Solution

Inspired by two years of challenging remote work environments due to COVID-19, Canon announced it is developing AMLOS (Activate My Line of Sight), a hybrid meeting software solution enabled by its image processing technology. The company has also teamed with actor and producer Joseph Gordon-Levitt and his company HitRecord to show how this technology can help create a virtual, real-time writers’ room. At CES 2022 in Las Vegas, Canon defined its offerings under the rubric “TogetherNext,” to demonstrate how interactive digital experiences connect people and cultures. Continue reading CES: Canon Intros Hybrid Meeting Software and VR Solution

Facebook Unveils New Video Devices and Portal for Business

With COVID-19 continuing to drive the popularity of video chatting, Facebook is doubling down with new iterations of its Portal devices that includes the battery-powered Portal Go and a new Portal+ along with the announcement of Portal for Business, a service that will make it possible for small and mid-size businesses to purchase, deploy and remotely manage Portal devices for employees. Facebook’s Portal devices, which debuted in 2018, compete with Amazon’s Echo Show and Google’s Nest Hub products for the home. The recommitment indicates Facebook believes video calling is here to stay. Continue reading Facebook Unveils New Video Devices and Portal for Business

Microsoft Reveals Its New Laptops and Dual-Screen Portable

Microsoft unveiled its fall product line including the Surface Duo 2 folding phone, Surface Laptop Studio and Surface Pro X that comes in a Wi-Fi only version. The Duo 2 hits the streets October 21 and the others on October 5. The new devices will no doubt get a bounce from Windows 11, announced earlier this month with rollout to begin later this year. The Duo 2’s rear mounted camera with thee lenses is a welcome upgrade. The previous model had one lens and required that the case be opened and folded backward for taking photos. Another big change is the petite Laptop Studio, which has three modes enabled by a hinged case. Continue reading Microsoft Reveals Its New Laptops and Dual-Screen Portable

Microsoft Acquires Clipchamp as New Tool for Video Creators

Microsoft announced it is acquiring Clipchamp, an in-browser video creation and editing app that can be used on everything from social clips destined for YouTube to promos and business presentations. Combining “the simplicity of a web app with the full computing power of a PC with graphics processing unit acceleration,” Microsoft says Clipchamp is a “natural fit” with the existing cloud-based productivity suite of Microsoft 365 for families, students and business. With a template-driven approach and wide variety of filters, Clipchamp is a prosumer tool that has garnered more than 17 million registered users since launching in 2013. Continue reading Microsoft Acquires Clipchamp as New Tool for Video Creators

Microsoft’s Windows 11 to Launch Oct. 5 as a Free Upgrade

Microsoft will begin its Windows 11 rollout October 5, marking the Seattle-based software giant’s first major operating system release in six years. In addition to AI-powered widgets, Windows 11 upgrades include cloud-based synchronization across multiple devices that allows easy access to recently viewed files, an improved desktop that uses Snap Layouts and Snap Groups to maximize multitasking and taskbar integration of chat in Microsoft Teams, Windows’ in-app videoconferencing, and enhanced sound and design. Continue reading Microsoft’s Windows 11 to Launch Oct. 5 as a Free Upgrade

Azure Drives Impressive Quarterly Sales, Profits for Microsoft

Microsoft experienced a successful quarter, due in large part to significant growth in Azure cloud services. The company reported overall Q4 sales of $46.2 billion, up about 21 percent year-over-year, for a $16.5 billion profit, an increase of 47 percent year-over-year. Similar to other Big Tech companies, Microsoft’s numbers exceeded Wall Street expectations. According to chief financial officer Amy Hood, Microsoft expects overall sales of $44.2 billion for the current quarter. Microsoft’s stock is currently up 40 percent over the last year, and its valuation is now $2+ trillion, second only to its rival Apple. Continue reading Azure Drives Impressive Quarterly Sales, Profits for Microsoft

Microsoft Unveils Windows 11 with Upgraded Features, Design

Microsoft unveiled Windows 11, almost six years after the introduction of Windows 10, the world’s most widely used PC operating system with 1.3+ billion devices. Windows 11 will be offered as a free update around the holiday season. Even as Microsoft has seen major growth in its Azure cloud services, Windows still represents 10+ percent of the company’s revenue. At the Windows 11 event, Microsoft executive Panos Panay stated that, unlike Apple, its Microsoft Store app marketplace lets developers use Microsoft’s payment system for a 12 percent cut or use their own. Continue reading Microsoft Unveils Windows 11 with Upgraded Features, Design

Google Expands Workspace Features and Opens to All Users

Google is providing full access to Workspace (formerly G Suite) for its 3+ billion existing users in consumer, enterprise and education markets. Users turn on Google Chat in Gmail to enable the full experience. Although Google Drive and Docs have already been free, Workspace brings features such as smart suggestions in emails and documents. Google is also debuting Google Workspace Individual, a paid version aimed at small business owners, offering “booking services, professional video meetings, personalized email marketing” and more. Continue reading Google Expands Workspace Features and Opens to All Users

LinkedIn Offers Feature for Brands to ‘Boost’ Organic Pages

LinkedIn added a “Boost” option that brands can use to maximize the reach of their posts. Any high-performing organic Page update can be turned into paid ads in this manner, explained LinkedIn, adding that if the brand sees “early traction” to an organic update, it can “capitalize on that, without having to create a new ad.” “With the click of a button and a few payment details, you can easily give your most engaging or time-sensitive content a little boost to quickly expand your audience reach,” the company added. Boost is touted as an ideal tool for content related to industry thought leadership, customer spotlights, and new product launches or special events. Continue reading LinkedIn Offers Feature for Brands to ‘Boost’ Organic Pages