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No Jitter Roll: Five for Friday

With industry and vendor events such as Cisco Live and Infocomm taking place this week (see related stories here and here), we’ve had no shortage of news to pick from for this week’s edition of No Jitter Roll. Narrowing to five was tough, but here’s a batch of items related to hot technologies like team collaboration and collaborative meetings.
 
Slack Opens Beta for Shared Channels
In keeping to the promise delivered at its Frontiers conference in April, team collaboration app vendor Slack has opened beta testing for Shared Channels, available as of Wednesday, June 12, for customers on Enterprise Grid as well as all other plans, the company announced.
 
Shared Channels lets users collaborate with external parties from within their native Slack workspaces. Essentially, this feature provides a “single channel of access for company partnerships,” as Ellie Powers, director of product and platform at Slack, shared with No Jitter back in the spring.
 
As one example of how Enterprise Grid customers might benefit from Shared Channels, Slack pointed to fashion brand Everlane, which uses the app to expedite communications with its returns vendor, Happy Returns. The two companies meet securely in a Shared Channel to “exchange information, solve customer issues, and escalate any tech glitches in real time,” as described in a Slack customer spotlight.
 
“Shared Channels has increased our ability to collaborate and the level of transparency. We’re able to solve customer issues a lot faster,” said Andre Julien, manager of operations at Happy Returns, as quoted in the Slack case study.
 
Separately on Slack, watch for the company’s public listing, expected next Thursday, June 20.
 
Symphony Snags Funding
Elsewhere in team collaboration, Symphony this week announced that it has received $165 million in a new round of funding, Series E, that brings total money raised to more than $460 million. Goldman Sachs, Standard Chartered, and MUFG Innovation Partners, along with others, participated in this round, the company said.
 
Symphony differentiates itself among the crowded team collaboration field in its focus on secure communications and collaboration, with end-to-end encryption, and has found its niche among financial firms. In announcing the funding, the company shared status updates, including the news that it now has more than 430,000 licensed users from more than 60 countries and that customers and partners have developed more than 1,000 apps and bots on the Symphony platform.
 
“While we’re thrilled with Symphony’s traction and global network buildout, we also believe the transformative period of Symphony’s journey is just beginning,” said Darren Cohen, global head of principal strategic investments at investor Goldman Sachs, in a prepared statement.
 
Intel Takes to the Cloud with Unite
Intel this week announced that it has added a cloud-delivered version of its Unite content-sharing application.
 
Intel offers the same secure wireless content sharing for meeting rooms, remote users, and guests via the new Unite Cloud Service as it does for on-premises deployments, said Tom Loza, global director of sales at Intel for Unite, in a press briefing. However, when served in a cloud model, Unite removes the need to expend time and resources on managing an on-premises PIN server.
 

Intel-Unite-Cloud-1-690x460.jpg

Sharing content with Intel Unite

Sharing content with Intel Unite

 
During the briefing, Loza shared results from an Intel-commissioned total economic impact study conducted by Forrester Consulting. For the study, Forrester surveyed four organizations and then created a composite model for analysis. It found that connecting to meetings and switching between presenters with Unite reduced meeting downtime by up to 15%, while features like multiscreen sharing, remote access from anywhere, and seamless plug-in integration could boost meeting efficiency 5%, compared with legacy solutions, Loza said.
 
Sitting on top of the Intel vPro platform, Unite includes built-in security, stability, and manageability features and integrates with major UC solutions, he said. In addition, advanced telemetry provides IT and facilities management with data on meeting room hardware and connectivity to room usage.
 
Unite Cloud Service is available now.
 
Nureva Bolsters Manageability, Access for Room Technology
Collaboration solutions provider Nureva is bringing the ability to remotely manage configuration settings for its HDL300 audioconferencing systems and Nureva Wall visual collaboration display to its Room Manager software, the company announced this week. In addition, system administrators can use Room Manager to configure software from afar and schedule firmware updates.
 
Device management is available with the Room Manager June software release, at no additional cost to HDL300 and Wall customers, the company said.
 
Separately this week, Nureva gave notice that the HDL300 is now part of the Quicklaunch solution partner program, a certification of sorts. From the Quicklaunch interface, users will now be able to access settings such as conference call sync, mute and volume controls, and product update controls for the audioconferencing system, the company said.
 
Inclusion in the Quicklaunch integration program reflects the growing use of the HDL300 as an audioconference solution, paired with third-party UC and collaboration clients, room management software, videoconferencing systems, and device-sharing plugins, Nureva said. The system provides standard plug-and-play connectivity for interoperability with such products.
 
PGi Ups Ante on Webcasting
Business communications provider PGi has a trio of enhancements for its GlobalMeet Webcast service, updated with the goal of improving productivity and giving people time back with “smarter engagement” during such events, the company announced.
 
With the first enhancement, PGi is using automated speech recognition to deliver searchable -- and keyword clickable -- transcriptions of audio and video webcast recordings. To create the clickable links, PGi applies artificial intelligence (AI) in its search engine, the company said. In addition, the AI engine generates a hot topic word cloud so meeting participants can readily see and click on information relevant to them.
 
For the second enhancement, PGi is bringing dynamic layout capabilities to GlobalMeet Webcast so that presenters can better control the audience experience, the company said. For example, presenters might enhance visibility by increasing slide size or minimize video to zero in on chart details.
 
Lastly, PGi is providing the ability for presenters to prep for live presentations by creating content scripts that plot out and track elements for live event delivery. In this way, the company said, presenters can focus on engaging the audience rather than making sure they’re getting all the content pushed out correctly.