Polycom is expanding its cloud capabilities for enterprises with Polycom Cloud Services. It's a unified cloud solution that initially is focusing on giving enterprises the tools to easily provision and manage the myriad voice and video endpoints that are in conference rooms around the world. The vendor’s Polycom Device Management Services (PDMS) is aimed at enabling enterprises to manage those devices, measure their performance and troubleshoot any issues that arise. With the service, customers are able to provision, update and secure tens of thousands of desk and conference room phones. PDMS initially will be available for audio systems, but Polycom officials expect to expand its support to video conferencing devices by the end of the year.
Google earlier this year rebranded all of its payment services under Google Pay to help it double down on making transactions across its platform more frictionless (and more used). Now comes another development: PayPal and Google are kicking off a deep integration, where users who add their PayPal details to their Google Play accounts will be able to pay bills and for other items, using PayPal, without logging in and without leaving the Google services. The integration, when it goes live later this year, will cover apps like Gmail, YouTube, Google Store and any services using Google Pay — and it will include not just payments but also peer-to-peer transfers.
Amazon's Alexa has made it easier for business users to manage personal schedules via voice commands, adding the ability to move appointments and schedule meetings based on participants’ availability. While it was already possible to create and cancel appointments with Alexa, the Smart Scheduling Assistant feature gives users more control, cutting time and effort. To schedule a one-to-one meeting, a calendar must first be linked to a user’s Alexa account.
InVision, the service that wants to be the operating system for designers, introduced its app store and asset store within InVision Studio. In short, InVision Studio users now have access to some of their most-used apps and services from right within the Studio design tool. Plus, those same users will be able to shop for icons, UX/UI components, typefaces and more from within Studio. While Studio is still in its early days, InVision has compiled a solid list of initial app store partners, including Google, Salesforce, Slack, Getty, Atlassian, and more.
Okta unveiled a new service "Sign in with Okta" that allows employees to sign into third party sites and apps just like they sign in their company applications with a single set of credentials. The new API allows developers to add a few lines code and give Okta customers the ability to sign into one another’s websites in a similar way that OAuth allows you to use your Google or Facebook credentials to sign onto consumer sites. When developers add this functionality, the user sees a “Sign in with Okta” button on the website or service they are accessing. They can then use their Okta login to get into these sites under whatever rules the site owner has defined.
Dropbox announced several enhancements designed to improve its mobile collabroration. In a typical team scenario, a Dropbox user shared a file with a team member for review or approval. If they wanted to check the progress of this process, the only way to do it up until now was to send an email or text message explicitly asking if the person looked at it yet — not a terribly efficient workflow. Dropbox recognized this and has built in a fix in the latest mobile release. Now users can can simply see who has looked at or taken action on a file directly from the mobile application without having to leave the application. In addition, those being asked to review files can see those notifications right at the top of the Home screen in the mobile app, making the whole feedback cycle much more organized.
Slack has introduced a new feature called "actions," which takes Slack's existing third-party app integrations to the next level. It lets developers hook their apps even deeper into the chat service so you can do more without ever leaving the app. Instead of the automated experiences developers can create now, actions lets you start using outside services directly from Slack messages. If your company uses the task management software Asana, for example, you can create and assign a new task right from your chats. Or, if you use Zendesk, you can create support tickets directly form a message.
Adobe will acquire online store builder Magento for $1.68 billion. The purchase gives Adobe a missing e-commerce platform piece that works in B2B and B2C contexts and should fit nicely in the company’s Experience Cloud. It should also help Adobe compete with Salesforce, SAP and IBM that offer own marketing, sales and service offerings in the cloud. Though, until now Magento has concentrated on SMB customers, whereas Adobe’s target audience is clearly the enterprise. If you look at the other players in the space who have already taken the e-commerce platform plunge, Salesforce got Demandware, IBM got WebSphere Commerce and SAP got Hybris, which were geared more to the enterprise target demographic, but he believes it was simply a case of the best option available.
Zoho Meeting now lets you schedule and broadcast engaging online webinars. Apart from sharing your webinar registration link in posts and emails, you can embed the link on your website and blogs that get the most traffic. Meeting, attendees can join your session straight from their browser, in a single click. You can share presentations, multiple screens and applications with your attendees, record and share your webinar, engage your audience with polls and Q&A, view analytics and export reports.
Rackspace has acquired RelationEdge, a Salesforce implementation partner . Rackspace is still best known for its hosting and managed cloud and infrastructure services. So the company clearly wants to expand its portfolio, though, and add managed services for SaaS applications to its lineup. It made the first step in this direction with the acquisition of TriCore last year, another company in the enterprise application management space. Today’s acquisition builds upon this theme.
PayPal is taking its biggest bet yet on point-of-sale transactions, small businesses and markets outside of the U.S. as it looks to raise its game against Square, Stripe and others in the world of payments: The company has confirmed that it is buying iZettle — the Stockholm-based payments provider commonly referred to as the “Square of Europe” — for $2.2 billion in an all-cash deal. Like Square, iZettle has made a lot of headway in building out a point of sale business by way of a card-reading dongle that links up with a smartphone or tablet, working with smaller businesses that might have never used a card service in the past because of the prohibitive costs of taking card payments. From that, it has extended into other financial services for those business, from inventory management to loans.
Dialpad, the business communications platform, has acquired TalkIQ to take an injection of artificial intelligence. TalkIQ can capture voice in near real time and apply sentiment analysis and analytics. This could provide a customer service operation with feedback in real time along with advice for managers when to intervene in a call. The TalkIQ functionality will be incorporated natively right into the Dialpad suite of apps, which includes voice and video along with customer service call center management and UberConference for conference calling.
AnyDesk, Germany-based service that offers remote desktop software, has scored €6.5 million funding. To that end, as well as modern-day apps for Windows, MacOS, various flavours of Linux/Unix, Android and iOS, the AnyDesk team has created a proprietary video codec called “DeskRT” that has been engineered especially for graphical user interfaces. It transmits 60 frames per seconds and prioritises low latency. As a result users generally experience high quality video and sound, and image transmission that is fast and fluid enough to forget that you are using a different computer. That’s because, unlike traditional screen sharing, AnyDesk is built for collaboration.
HubSpot is expanding beyond sales and marketing with the official launch of its Service Hub for managing customer service. It includes an universal inbox for all your customer communications, a bot-builder to automate some of those customer interactions, tools for building a company knowledge base (which can then be fed into the bot-builder), tools for creating surveys and a dashboard to track how your service team is doing. ServiceHub benefits from being integrated with HubSpot’s existing products, allowing businesses to track their interactions with a customer across sales, marketing and support.
WhatsApp launched a slew of new features for Groups on iOS and Android that let admins set a description for their community and decide who can change the Groups settings. Meanwhile, users will be able to get a Group catch up that shows messages they were mentioned in, and search for people in the group. Group improvements will help WhatsApp better compete with Telegram, which has recently emerged as an insanely popular platform for chat groups, especially around cryptocurrency. Telegram has plenty of admin controls of its own, but the two apps will be competing over who can make it easiest to digest these fast-moving chat forums.
Google introduced a revamped version of Google News that now merges with Google Play Newsstand. The A.I.-powered, redesigned service combines elements found in Google’s digital magazine app, Newsstand, as well as YouTube, and introduces new features like “newscasts” and “full coverage” to help people get a summary or a more holistic view of a news story. The updated version will present a briefing at the top of the page with the five stories you need to know about right now, as well as more stories selected just for you. The feature uses A.I. technology to read the news on the web, to assemble the key things you need to know about, including also local news and events in your area. And the more you use this personalized version of Google News, the better it will get, thanks to the “reinforcement learning” technology under the hood.
ServiceNow unveiled new chatbot building tool called Virtual Agent that provides developers a way to create an automated bot-driven process for routine helpdesk requests. The company claims that you can build these bots to provide end-to-end service. Meaning if you tell the bot you need a new phone, it can pull your records, understand what you currently have and order a new one all in the same interaction — and all within a common messaging interface such as Slack or Microsoft Teams. It also works for customer service transactions to process routine customer inquiries without having to route them to a CSR to answer typical questions.
Microsoft Pay (Microsoft’s answer to Google Pay and Apple Pay) is coming into Outlook. This means that when a company sends you an invoice in an email, and you are using Outlook to read it, you can pay that bill directly, without needing to leave Outlook and open a different app or service. As it launches — Microsoft says it will come first to a limited number of Outlook.com users over the next few weeks, and then more broadly over the next few months — it said that Stripe (using Stripe Connect) and Braintree will be among the payment processors powering the service, and Zuora, FreshBooks, Intuit, Invoice2Go, Sage, Wave, and Xero will be among the billing and invoicing services that will initially be using the feature.
Instagram added a native payments feature to its app for some users. It lets you register a debit or credit card as part of a profile, set up a security pin, then start buying things without ever leaving Instagram. Not having to leave for a separate website and enter payment information any time you want to purchase something could make Instagram a much bigger player in commerce. A year ago Instagram announced that “we’ll roll out the ability to book a service with a business directly from their profile later this year,” but never mentioned native payments.
Facebook has added to its Workplace business software with 50 new app integrations from the likes of ServiceNow, Atlassian’s Jira Cloud and Microsoft Sharepoint. Workplace had only a handful of integrations at first, including Office 365, Salesforce and OneDrive. The new integrations mean that it is extending its focus from collaboration to automation and IT integration, The integrations are available through the new Workplace app discovery portal that include also SurveyMonkey, Cornerstone onDemand, Workday, and Smartsheet.