Walmart to Expand VR-Based Employee Training to All Stores

Walmart is widening its VR-based employee-training program in the U.S., shipping four Oculus Go VR headsets to each Walmart Supercenter and two to smaller Neighborhood Market stores starting in October, for a total of 17,000 Oculus Go headsets by the end of 2018. The retailer first tried out VR for employee training a year ago, and is expanding it due to employee feedback that it boosted their confidence and familiarity with technology. VR software company STRIVR has created 45 activity-based modules for the employees. Continue reading Walmart to Expand VR-Based Employee Training to All Stores

AI-Based Software Automating Mundane Workplace Chores

Artificial intelligence is making its way into the workplace via the back office, automating tasks in accounting, billing, payments and customer service, and is capable of scanning documents, filling out spreadsheets and checking accuracy of records. In early projects, AI bots are following simple rules, observing and making yes-no decisions rather than high-level choices. Bigger things are coming, especially from tech companies like IBM, Microsoft and Oracle, which partner with robotic automation startups. Continue reading AI-Based Software Automating Mundane Workplace Chores

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

Survey Analyzes Benefits of Mixed Reality in the Workplace

The business uses of virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) have so far been impressive. Now, a survey conducted by Microsoft with Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, found that 68 percent of 394 executives said MR is important to achieving their companies’ goals in the next 18 months. Those surveyed worked in companies employing over 250 people, in a wide range of industries including engineering, construction, manufacturing, retail, defense and education. Continue reading Survey Analyzes Benefits of Mixed Reality in the Workplace

Meta AR Headset May Help Reimagine the Traditional Office

San Francisco-based startup Meta makes augmented reality headsets that its founder/chief executive Meron Gribetz wants to use to remake the traditional office. With his headset, the user can use a virtual floating screen to control 3D models, browse web pages, write code and send emails. Gribetz — who studied neuroscience and computer science at Columbia University — is now using his own employees to test the headset and its software to figure out how to improve it, an experiment described in a Bloomberg News “Decrypted” podcast. Continue reading Meta AR Headset May Help Reimagine the Traditional Office

Slack Faces Off Against Bigger Competitors, Tweaks Software

Slack came to life three years ago, out of a failed video game, and, as messaging software, combines rich data on how people use a product with information on how people feel about using it. When it debuted in 2014, word of mouth catapulted Slack to a value of $4 billion. Now, the private company has attracted competition from Microsoft, which last fall unveiled Teams, free to 85 million users of Office 365, and Facebook with its free collaboration tool Workplace. A smaller company, Atlassian, has also had success. Continue reading Slack Faces Off Against Bigger Competitors, Tweaks Software

Workplace: Facebook Tests Free Version of Slack Competitor

Facebook’s Workplace is a social networking tool designed for the enterprise, enabling an efficient chat and collaboration platform for employees. It is similar to the Facebook used by friends and family members, but instead is meant to foster interaction between co-workers. Now, Facebook is introducing a free version intended for smaller businesses that are not as interested in the administrative and analytical features offered to subscribers. (It is still being tested, so the release is limited.) The new version will be named “Workplace Standard,” and the paid version will go by “Workplace Premium.” Continue reading Workplace: Facebook Tests Free Version of Slack Competitor

Slack Strives to Be Artificial Intelligence-Powered Office Portal

Slack has plans to evolve its workplace app to become the center of the office’s digital environment, connecting a wide variety of third-party business apps, with the ultimate goal of becoming the artificial intelligence-powered portal to the entire workplace. Head of search, learning and intelligence Noah Weiss described those plans for Slack, currently used by three million people every day in the work environment, and added that the company is also evolving its voice capabilities to become more sophisticated. Continue reading Slack Strives to Be Artificial Intelligence-Powered Office Portal

VR/AR Expected to Impact Much More Than Video and Gaming

Most conversation about virtual reality and augmented reality focuses on how it will impact gaming and video entertainment. But a recent report from Goldman Sachs upends that notion, with its prediction that VR and AR will instead open up “an entirely new marketplace of applications” for both the business and consumer sectors. The report states that virtual reality hardware will be an $80 billion industry within 10 years, which is actually a slow adoption when compared to that of smartphones and tablets. Continue reading VR/AR Expected to Impact Much More Than Video and Gaming

Apple Focuses on Business Computing as iPad Sales Decline

Sales of the once-popular iPads are tumbling, and Apple is taking a hard look at business computing as a way to offset the loss. To make the iPad a tool more compatible to the workplace, the Silicon Valley company has begun to collaborate with more than 40 technology companies to create the kinds of apps and tools that will make it appealing to businesses, a sector it has never seriously gone after. With an estimated $2 trillion spent every year on technology for the workplace, the stakes are big. Continue reading Apple Focuses on Business Computing as iPad Sales Decline

Facebook Aims to Make Social Media a Tool for the Workplace

Facebook is launching a new service designed to be appropriate for the workplace called Facebook at Work. The service is almost identical to the regular social network, except for a white color scheme that replaces the iconic blue layout. The difference in colors is to help employer’s distinguish when someone is using a work account as opposed to a personal one. Facebook at Work will allow users to connect with colleagues to become more efficient around the office. Continue reading Facebook Aims to Make Social Media a Tool for the Workplace

Wearable Tech: Google Glass Finds Customers in the Workplace

While some consumers have been skeptical of Google Glass since it was first announced, it looks like the wearable tech is finding initial interest in the workplace, including areas such as law enforcement, medicine, manufacturing and athletics. In contrast, bars in San Francisco have already banned patrons from wearing Google Glass. Google is making the product available to the public later this year, but critics are skeptical of how it will be received by general consumers. Continue reading Wearable Tech: Google Glass Finds Customers in the Workplace

BYOD: Companies Encourage Employees to Bring Their Own

Many companies plan to lower costs by encouraging employees to bring their own electronic devices to work. Gartner released a study that predicts the number of workers using mobile apps in the workplace will double by 2015. “BYOD strategies are the most radical change to the economics and the culture of client computing in business in decades,” claims David Willis, VP and analyst at Gartner. “The benefits of BYOD include creating new mobile workforce opportunities, increasing employee satisfaction, and reducing or avoiding costs.” Continue reading BYOD: Companies Encourage Employees to Bring Their Own