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

U.S. Cities Are Luring Silicon Valley Firms and Tech Workers

Tech workers are adjusting to new hiring conditions, with the larger firms in traditional digital power corridors said to be cutting back while diverse cities step-up to attract new businesses that can boost the local economy. Hiring freezes and layoffs among larger tech firms such as Apple, Netflix and Twitter are meant to mitigate fear of a looming recession. Into the void comes an increasingly aggressive phalanx of cities and towns across the U.S. providing grants and other perks to attract companies. The idea is businesses bring a tax base and staff can work remotely or take advantage of cost savings by relocating to more affordable markets. Continue reading U.S. Cities Are Luring Silicon Valley Firms and Tech Workers

Musk Shares Some of His Thoughts with Twitter Employees

Twitter’s 8,000 employees were treated to a question-and-answer session with Elon Musk on Thursday, the first staff meeting the tech entrepreneur has conducted since his bid to purchase the company for $44 billion. The hour-long meeting, which was live-streamed to the Twitter staff, touched on a wide range of topics, including aliens and “the nature of reality” as well as interests closer to home, such as layoffs, growth plans and, of course, TikTok. The move seemed to reinforce Musk’s intent to close the Twitter deal after suggesting in April that it was “on hold.” Continue reading Musk Shares Some of His Thoughts with Twitter Employees

Are DAOs About to Revolutionize the Film and TV Industries?

Decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) are riding the crypto wave, with some asking if their notion of distributed decision-making marks an evolution from crowdfunding through platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo to crowdsourced creativity on a blockchain. It’s already been demonstrated that tokens can be used for smart contracts and to designate property ownership. The film and television industries are just becoming aware of the potential impact of NFTs, which have already disrupted the worlds of art and gaming, driving creator economies. The wisdom of the crowd might be tapped to find fresh stories, too. Continue reading Are DAOs About to Revolutionize the Film and TV Industries?

Led by SaaS, 2022 Cloud Spending to Approach $500 Billion

Cloud computing costs are expected to rise by 20 percent to an estimated $494.7 billion this year, according to a new report from Gartner. Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) is earmarked for the most significant growth, up 30.6 percent to $119.7 billion this year. Desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) is the second most robust sector, at 26.6 projected growth, followed by platform-as-a-service (PaaS), at 26.1 percent. “Cloud-native capabilities such as containerization, database platform-as-a-service (dbPaaS) and artificial intelligence/machine learning contain richer features than commoditized compute such as IaaS or network-as-a-service,” which makes them more expensive, said Sid Nag, research VP at Gartner. Continue reading Led by SaaS, 2022 Cloud Spending to Approach $500 Billion

Global Distance Workforce Firm Remote Raises $300 Million

Remote, a platform that enables companies to hire and compensate distributed employees, has secured $300 million in a new funding round, raising its valuation to $3 billion and making it one of the biggest HR players in the new world order of distributed workforces. Leading the Series C round is SoftBank Vision Fund 2. The company said funding will be used to build new tools and expand the San Francisco-based company’s geographic reach. Work from remote locations has been becoming more prevalent as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, priming the market for Remote’s expansion. Continue reading Global Distance Workforce Firm Remote Raises $300 Million

2021 Marks Renewed Demand for Laptops and Smartphones

Laptops and smartphones are electronics categories that closed the book on 2021 with different takes on success. Smartphone shipments were up for the first time in four years, growing between 4 and 5.7 percent, according to Counterpoint and IDC research, respectively. Notebook computers, meanwhile, ended 2021 with record Q4 shipments down 1 percent from 2021 but a record 19 percent increase for the year as “the industry prioritized notebook PC production in the face of supply constraints to keep up with hybrid working needs,” according to Strategy Analytics. Continue reading 2021 Marks Renewed Demand for Laptops and Smartphones

Lifted by Cloud, Microsoft Sales Jump 20 Percent for Quarter

Microsoft ended Q2 for fiscal year 2022 on a high note, with sales up 20 percent to $51.7 billion, and net income rising 21 percent to $18.8 billion, beating analysts’ predictions. Cloud revenue grew 32 percent year-over-year, hitting $22.1 billion. Revenue in Microsoft’s Intelligent Cloud business was $18.3 billion, a 26 percent jump propelled largely by a basically flat 46 percent increase from Azure and cloud services. “Digital technology is the most malleable resource at the world’s disposal to overcome constraints and reimagine everyday work and life,” Microsoft chairman and CEO Satya Nadella said in the earnings release. Continue reading Lifted by Cloud, Microsoft Sales Jump 20 Percent for Quarter

CES: Remote Work Advances Adoption of Smart Home Tech

The smart home sector has been evolving for at least a decade but when COVID-19 created the necessity for remote working, millions of people had a personal and very eye-opening experience in their homes. CTA senior director of member programs Melissa Matalon led a discussion with Michael D. Ham, president and co-founder of global wellness company RePure, and Ian Bryant, senior director of strategic partnerships at CEDIA, the trade group for the home technology industry. “A decade ago, health and wellness wasn’t relevant to smart homes,” noted Ham. “Now that people are spending so much more time at home, wellness is on everyone’s minds,” said Matalon. Continue reading CES: Remote Work Advances Adoption of Smart Home Tech

CES: Highlights from the 2022 CES Unveiled Pre-Show Event

ETC’s George Gerba visited the CES Unveiled show floor in Las Vegas Monday evening looking for companies and products that would be of interest to our members, illustrate emerging trends, or are simply unusual. Gerba discovered a range of compelling technologies across areas such as blockchain, non-fungible tokens, Li-Fi, wearables, large-scale video screens, the metaverse, remote work, cell signal boosters, health, batteries and more. Among the more interesting companies at CES Unveiled this year were Icecap, Oledcomm, Somalytics, VideowindoW, Toraru, SureCall, Biospectal, Prinker, Airxom and Nanotech Energy.  Continue reading CES: Highlights from the 2022 CES Unveiled Pre-Show Event

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

Weighing the Challenges of a Post-COVID Hybrid Workplace

Post-pandemic, companies now must decide whether to allow their employees to continue to work remotely or require them to come to the office. Although staff did work at home for about one-and-a-half years without too many problems, it’s not clear if that scenario will transfer to a post-COVID world. The lockdown was an unusual circumstance, and bosses and workers were forced to be flexible. Now, some say a hybrid work environment is likely to be two-tiered, with on-site workers getting more access, networking opportunities, promotions and pay raises.

Continue reading Weighing the Challenges of a Post-COVID Hybrid Workplace

Big Tech Attempts to Balance Worker Needs Moving Forward

Alphabet conducted internal research that found Google software engineers felt as productive working from home as before the pandemic, although 75 percent of employees said they wanted more “collaboration and social connections” at work. Human resources vice president Brian Welle reported that “most staff also specifically craved physical proximity when working on new projects.” As a result, Alphabet still plans to bring employees back to the office this fall, although some will be able to work full-time from home. Continue reading Big Tech Attempts to Balance Worker Needs Moving Forward

Google Adopts Futuristic Hybrid Plan for Work Post-Pandemic

Google is creating a post-pandemic workplace to appeal to employees who got used to working remotely last year and may not want to return to the office full-time. Over the next year, the company plans to try out a variety of different ways to design office spaces, based on research done before COVID-19 hit. A variety of consultants were asked to imagine the future workspace, one of which is “Team Pods,” where desks, chairs, whiteboards and storage units are all on casters and can be rearranged in numerous configurations. Continue reading Google Adopts Futuristic Hybrid Plan for Work Post-Pandemic