It seems to be getting harder and harder for technologists to stay on top of all the announcements, especially as they relate to the collaboration space. This week has been no exception with a number of major announcements being made.
Details have started to appear that Microsoft on are developing their own competitor to Slack to be known as Skype teams. This product will build on Microsoft’s strengths in areas such as content editors (Office), voice calls (Skype) and cloud storage (One-Drive). I personally love Skype, but hate Skype for Business so I will be intrigued to see how well Skype Teams works out. At Red Pill Now I am under pressure to move away from Skype to something like Slack or HipChat, so this announcement may well see us wait for this new product to arrive.
In something of a surprise Box announced a joint partnership with IBM to develop a new workflow tool, Box Relay. I say a surprise, as for the longest time now IBM have showed little interest in investing in its own workflow product, IBM Notes, and now suddenly it is offering to work with Box on developing something new capable of competing with Microsoft SharePoint.
Apple events usually set the bar for product launches. This year the announcements, as expected, were not all that earth shattering but they do continue to show the level of detail to which Apple works to integrate the devices and software it develops. A new Apple Watch series 2 further demonstrates the potential for smart watches to augment the way people on the go interact with information and applications. Making the device water proof means those who regularly come into contact with water, including swimmers, will remain connected for longer and allows applications to be developed specifically for water-based activities. Adding a GPS provides us with more opportunities to leave the phone at home. The new iPhone 7 helped cement the pivotal role of the smartphone as the universal device, adding stereo speakers, and enhancing the camera capabilities to the point where most people have no real need for another camera. Apple also confirmed the hotly debated replacement of the audio jack. But in an interesting twist we not only saw a move to using Lightning connectors, but a new wireless chip that is being used by Apple and Beats to deliver a new range of wireless audio gear. I expect this will mark the start of a new series of innovation around the use of smart headsets adding to the growing category of wearables.
I have to admit Box is not a company I have paid a lot of attention to before today, but it made a series of announcements at its annual BoxWorks conference that warrant a close look. Following on from its announcement on Tuesday of Box Relay with IBM it also announced some interesting partnerships with Google. This includes the use of Google Apps as content editors for files stored on Box and the utilization of Google Springboard to search content. It would be interesting to see what might happen should Box and Google form a long term relationship.