Enterprise Chat News Round Up #16
With Microsoft Ignite launching new enterprise messaging updates for July, our 16th news round-up is brimming with announcements.
Let’s take a look at some of the biggest news from the last week:
1. Microsoft Reveals a Free Version of Microsoft Teams
First announced in 2016, Microsoft Teams was originally designed to compete with the world’s most popular enterprise chat platform: Slack. While Microsoft Teams offers many of the same features as Slack, such as file sharing and instant messaging, it hasn’t had the same appeal as Slack to small businesses and freelancers in search of a cost-effective UC solution. Until now.
Microsoft Teams is now officially available in a free tier – perfect for companies with fewer than 300 users to accommodate. The free version of Microsoft Teams comes with a huge range of features, including:
- Unlimited chat messages
- Search functionalities
- Built in audio and video calling for individuals and teams
- 10GB of team file storage and 2GB of extra personal storage for each user
- Unlimited integrations with over 140 apps
- Integrated real-time content creation with PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote and Excel
Other big announcements around Microsoft Teams include:
- Easy access from the admin centre with a new central portal on Office 365
- Call analytics at your fingertips in the admin centre
- New user-level policies and tenant/organization level settings
2. Cisco Updates WebEx Meetings and Events
Microsoft isn’t the only company with big announcements this week. Cisco also published a new blog highlighting some changes to Cisco WebEx experience. As of 27th July, Cisco will offer a new WebEx Meetings experience, complete with an updated desktop app to replace WebEx Productivity Tools.
The Cisco update features a new look, new capabilities and quicker ways to join meetings so you can jump into conferences at the drop of a hat. As Cisco notes in their “collaboration corner”, the update is more than just a “pretty face”. It also features:
- Lifelike video meetings with crisp HD and new video layouts
- Advanced meeting controls with customized views and a new centralized control bar
- Simplified scheduling and calendar management integrated into the Cisco WebEx platform
The latest updates to WebEx Meetings are part of Cisco’s overall vision to create a simpler workflow for modern companies. As the way people collaborate continues to change, Cisco wants to offer simple opportunities for collaboration, communication and meetings. With the WebEx portfolio, Cisco gives teams the opportunity to embrace the enterprise chat features that best-suit them – on a platform they feel familiar with. When you’re ready to move from Meetings into team collaboration, you can simply add the Cisco WebEx Teams app to your strategy.
3. Microsoft Announces Skype 8.0
Following the announcement of the free version of Microsoft Teams, Microsoft also revealed a new Microsoft Skype version for desktop, ready to roll out in September. The updated version of Skype 8.0 will feature free HD video and screen sharing. On top of this, we see:
- The ability to share up to 300MB of files
- Chat media galleries
- An upcoming “read receipts” feature
Along with the 8.0 announcement, Microsoft revealed they are discontinuing support for Skype version 7.0 after 1st September this year. For businesses, 8.0 will also feature end-to-end encryption and Signal Protocol security.
4. The New Microsoft Whiteboard App
Microsoft also announced the new “Whiteboard app”. Now officially available to the public, the app works like a digital canvas, allowing people to collaborate on visual designs. The whiteboard app allows you to add sticky notes to projects, annotate and draw content.
The Whiteboard app is available on the Microsoft store to customers with a Microsoft or Office 365 account. There’s also rumors of an iOS whiteboard app available someday soon.
Additional rumblings in the enterprise chat world suggest that Microsoft will eventually be integrating it’s Whiteboard with the Microsoft Teams messaging app.
5. Slack Acquires “Missions” To Help Teams Automate Work
Slack has acquired “Missions”. This is an app that allows users to build automated routines into their team workflows. Designed by “Robots and Pencils”, the Missions tool gives companies the technology they need to create customized workflows for tasks they might have to deal without outside of the Slack enterprise app.
Slack hopes that the new integration with Missions will give users improved productivity and efficiency in the workplace, by simplifying repetitive tasks. Slack will be supporting Missions’ existing customers for free for the next few months as they begin to integrate the software into their platform. More news is set to come about the acquisition later this year.