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Slack Says: Huddle Up, Virtually


The Slack Atlas feature
Source: Slack
Team collaboration provider Slack today shared an update of its vision for the future of collaboration and revealed several new features to go along with it.
Speaking at a press event yesterday, Stewart Butterfield, CEO of Slack, discussed how the changes from the last year are propelling businesses toward a virtual headquarters model. “Instead of how many days per week are people going to be in the office, [the question] is to what degree has the organization put digital tools and technology at the forefront,” he said, adding that part of that virtual HQ future is bringing the “serendipity back in the conversations.”
To that end, the new features include:
  • Huddles — Designed as a digital alternative to spontaneous collaboration moments in an office, Huddles allow users to join audio meetings in any channel or direct message, where they can also share their screen. Up to 50 users can participate in a Huddles conversation, which is accessible from the left nav bar in Slack, Tamar Yehoshua, chief product office at Slack, said during the press event.
  • Video playback update — Rolling out to paid teams over the next month, this updated video playback capability allows users to slow down or speed up a video (including third-party video recording), read through transcripts, or watch from a mobile device, Slack said. In addition, users can search transcripts of video recordings made and archived in Slack. Both the Huddles feature and video recordings can provide live captions, Slack added.
  • Scheduled send —  Users will be able to record voice, video, or screen recordings and schedule them to send to an individual or group at a specific time and date. Revealed earlier this month, schedule send is rolling out now as a standard feature, Slack said.
In addition to these communication and collaboration updates, Slack now offers an enterprise directory, Slack Atlas, which leverages capabilities from its acquisition of Rimeto. Slack Atlas dynamically updates employee profiles using HR systems. Employee profiles can include a company’s organizational structure, start dates, and other fields, Yehoshua said. Slack Atlas is available to select Business+ and Enterprise Grid customers in the U.S. and Canada, and other availability will be forthcoming, Slack said.