Microsoft Teams Faces Videoconferencing Rivals Zoom, Slack

Zoom Video Communications skyrocketed when the coronavirus pandemic necessitated remote working and learning. But Microsoft doubled down on creating competitive features for Microsoft Teams, and then promoting its videoconferencing and collaboration software to companies and organizations in need. When Zoom was temporarily sidelined by security issues, Microsoft saw its opportunity to step in. In New York City’s school district, for example, Microsoft established 110,000+ Teams while Zoom usage was on pause. Continue reading Microsoft Teams Faces Videoconferencing Rivals Zoom, Slack

Microsoft Planning for Teams to Become Ubiquitous Platform

Microsoft 365 corporate vice president Jeff Teper wants Microsoft Teams — the company’s fastest growing business app — to overtake Windows, currently on 1+ billion active devices. With the COVID-19 pandemic, Microsoft Teams is experiencing significant growth, with 75 million daily active users as of April 29, a 70 percent leap in six weeks. In April, 200+ million participants used Teams in a single day. Meanwhile, Microsoft is still promoting Skype, which in March passed 40 million daily active users (up 70 percent from the previous year), but for a different customer base. Continue reading Microsoft Planning for Teams to Become Ubiquitous Platform

Alistair Croll’s Top Strategies for Running Virtual Conferences

Author, entrepreneur and public speaker Alistair Croll has produced world-class conferences, including O’Reilly Media’s Strata Data & AI Conference, UBM TechWeb’s Cloud Connect and Interop’s Enterprise Cloud Summit. In a wide-ranging, interactive Crowdcast presentation, Croll introduced 11 points to frame up how to produce an engaging virtual conference. His two overriding points are that you must discover where the true value of what you are trying to produce lies and, as an organizer, where you add value. He emphasized key areas such as community, design, interacting with multiple screens, content timeliness, effective use of video and more. Continue reading Alistair Croll’s Top Strategies for Running Virtual Conferences

Work-at-Home Software on the Rise Amid COVID-19 Concerns

As more companies ask employees to work from home due to the global spread of the coronavirus, Google, Microsoft and Zoom have responded by providing their workplace software for free. Microsoft’s Teams saw a 500 percent increase in meetings, calls and conference usage in China since the end of January, and demand is rising in the U.S. as work-from-home policies are instituted. Many Microsoft employees have been instructed to work from home and, last week, their Teams chat volume rose 50 percent, with video/audio meetings up 37 percent from a week earlier. Continue reading Work-at-Home Software on the Rise Amid COVID-19 Concerns

Amazon-Google Truce Offers More Cross-Platform Access

Google and Amazon, which reached a truce in April after months of wrangling, opened the door to multiple cross-platform compatibilities: Amazon Fire TV streaming platforms will now carry Google’s YouTube, YouTube TV and YouTube Kids apps — and Google Chromecast platforms and Android TVs will carry Amazon Prime Video. In addition, users will be able to request YouTube content on the Fire TV via the Alexa voice assistant. Not available yet is the ability of Google Assistant to work with Amazon Prime Video on Chromecast. Continue reading Amazon-Google Truce Offers More Cross-Platform Access

Slack, Other Chat Apps Aim to Supplant Email in Workplace

Slack, valued at $7 billion during its last funding round, went public yesterday and closed at $38.62, which is 49 percent higher than the $26 reference price set by the New York Stock Exchange. The company, which provides workplace collaboration tools, said it currently has 10+ million daily users and 88,000 paying customers. While it positions itself as an antidote to overstuffed email boxes, it has heavyweight competition with Google (Hangouts Chat), Facebook (Workplace) and Microsoft (Teams). The latter, which is bundled with Office software, is already in use by 500,000+ organizations according to Microsoft. Continue reading Slack, Other Chat Apps Aim to Supplant Email in Workplace

Intel‘s Sneak Peek of Innovative Two-Screen PC for Gamers

Intel is developing its Honeycomb Glacier to bring two-screen PCs to gamers. The primary panel is 15.6-inch 1080p; the secondary one is 12.3-inch 1920×720. Up until now, laptops with a secondary screen have been uncomfortable and awkward to use, but the Honeycomb Glacier resolves that problem by using a double hinge to lift both screens into the air. The lifted screen automatically stays in the angle chosen by the user due to a mechanical one-way roller clutch. A button on the left side disengages it. Continue reading Intel‘s Sneak Peek of Innovative Two-Screen PC for Gamers

Apple Updates App Store, Hopes to Combat Antitrust Claims

Apple is hoping that its new App Store website will help curb accusations regarding antitrust and anti-competition practices. Ahead of next week’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Jose, California, the company launched a new App Store site with details about how apps are carefully reviewed and curated, and the different business models that are available to app developers. “We created the App Store with two goals in mind: that it be a safe and trusted place for customers to discover and download apps, and a great business opportunity for all developers,” the company detailed on the site. Continue reading Apple Updates App Store, Hopes to Combat Antitrust Claims

AI-Powered Tools Assist Human Reporting at News Outlets

Robot reporters are on the rise, in use at Bloomberg News, The Associated Press, The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times among other news outlets. The Cyborg system helps Bloomberg reporters produce thousands of articles on company earnings and analyze/write financial reports very quickly. Not only do business reporters find this kind of writing dull, but Cyborg’s speed helps it compete with rival Reuters. The other news outlets above use robots to report on sports, although the LAT relies on them for earthquakes. Continue reading AI-Powered Tools Assist Human Reporting at News Outlets

CES Panel: Confronting the Fear that AI Will Replace Humans

JT Kostman, managing director of applied artificial intelligence at Grant Thornton, is preparing a TED Talk on AI that he may title “Dear Humans: We Mean You No Harm. Love, AI.” In a CES 2019 panel, moderated by Alice.com’s Elizabeth Gore, experts talked about the pain points in integrating AI into today’s world, including the general fear that AI will replace humans in the workforce. Accenture’s North America lead for M&E Lynn McMahon agreed that the buzz of machines taking over the world has risen. Continue reading CES Panel: Confronting the Fear that AI Will Replace Humans

Retailers Adopt Software, Chatbots to Hone Customer Service

To battle Amazon’s ubiquity and customers’ fickle loyalty, some retailers are testing the new Customer 360 software from Salesforce.com and Freshworks to improve their customer service. The software lets retailers build shopper profiles similar to Facebook to better understand what each customer wants and increase the odds that he or she will become more loyal to the retailer in question. Other strategies retailers are employing are the use of improved chatbots and better customer support training. Continue reading Retailers Adopt Software, Chatbots to Hone Customer Service

Facebook Picks Up Redkix to Enhance Workplace Messaging

Facebook aims to beef up Workplace, its enterprise messaging competitor to Slack, with the acquisition of email startup Redkix’s talent and technology. Facebook plans to enhance the communication functionality of Workplace with the Redkix app that combines email, calendar and messaging features. Facebook did not reveal specifics regarding integration of the technology or the acquisition financials. The Redkix app is expected to shut down, while.the company’s employees — including CEO Oudi Antebi and CTO Roy Antebi — will join the Facebook Workplace team. Continue reading Facebook Picks Up Redkix to Enhance Workplace Messaging

Microsoft Builds on Existing Tech, Voices Moral Conscience

At its Build developer conference this week, Microsoft is showing products that highlight its changed direction under the aegis of chief executive Satya Nadella. Among them is a DJI drone loaded with Microsoft software to identify oil pipeline faults without an Internet connection. Although Microsoft is helping customers enhance their existing gear, the company promised “big things ahead” to those entirely in the Microsoft ecosystem. Uninvolved in recent data scandals, some deem Microsoft to be the tech industry’s moral conscience. Continue reading Microsoft Builds on Existing Tech, Voices Moral Conscience

Microsoft Reaches Out to Developers at its Build Conference

Microsoft revealed interesting news during this week’s Build developer conference in Seattle, Washington. Among the key announcements: a pair of mixed reality enterprise apps for the HoloLens; a partnership with DJI to bring Microsoft’s AI and machine learning tech to commercial drones; a preview launch of deep learning acceleration platform Project Brainwave; prototype hardware designed for the meeting room of the future; and Project Kinect for Azure, which provides developers with the opportunity to experiment with a package of sensors and Microsoft’s next-generation depth camera. Continue reading Microsoft Reaches Out to Developers at its Build Conference

Game Streamer Twitch Debuts Always-On Chat Room Feature

Amazon-owned game streaming platform Twitch introduced a new feature yesterday called “Rooms.” First announced at TwitchCon in October, the always-on chat room feature is now available for web and mobile (for now, creators can host up to three public or private Rooms). Individuals with a Twitch account have the ability to create custom chat rooms accessible from the Stream Chat feature on channel pages. Channel owners can specify which users get access, such as followers, moderators or subscribers. The rooms can also be created based on shared interests, such as spoilers. Continue reading Game Streamer Twitch Debuts Always-On Chat Room Feature

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