Digital meeting room solutions are where work gets done in the digital workplace and Cisco, Zoom, Microsoft and LogMeIn are all providing the top rooms for enterprises, according to Gartner’s recent Magic Quadrant For Meeting Rooms (paywall).

The research defines meeting solutions as real-time collaboration applications and associated endpoints that support interactions over a network between participants for teamwork, presentations, training and webinars. In all Gartner has listed 12 vendors in this report that break down as follows:

  • Leaders: Cisco, Zoom, Microsoft and LogMeIn
  • Challengers: Google, Adobe
  • Visionaries: BlueJeans, Vidyo
  • Completeness Of Vision: Huawei, PGi, StartLeaf and Lifeseize

Within that group, there is a wide variety of functionality, but broadly speaking the vendors segment their product lines to target and scale to one or several use cases, while others offer broad solutions that work for many purposes.  However, they all over the following functionality:

  • Face-to-face meeting with associated collaboration activities.
  • Enable better and quicker collaboration.
  • Enables communication across geographic barriers.
  • Reduce geographic barriers for organizational communication.
  • Improves employee engagement through better teamwork.

The report analyzed the pros and cons of each solution and points to where the vendors are going with them. More interesting, though, are the market insights that identify established and emerging trends in the market and point to what functionalities enterprises will be looking for. According to the report, buyers of meeting solutions are increasingly interested in solutions that offer audio, video and collaboration capabilities under the same hood (for example, screen share or virtual whiteboards).

It also said the focus for enterprises has moved from narrow delivery mechanism to much wider, enterprise-wide access. The report adds that while the cloud-based meeting solution vendors initially focused on delivery of the services to PC clients and mobile apps, more care has been taken in the past year to improve ease of accessibility from videoconference room systems. There are other capabilities that feature prominently this year, including:

  1. Support for collaboration modes.
  2. Integration with UCC infrastructure.
  3. Use of embedded audio.
  4. Webcasting functionality.
  5. Browser and application options.
  6. More automation in conference rooms.

There is a lot more here that every enterprise interested in digital conference rooms should take a look at, but as always remember many other vendors did not make it into the Quadrant for various reasons that should not be written off.

Box Unifies Content Access

Last week at Box’s annual BoxWorks conference the company released a number of new solutions for the workplace designed to make digital work easier. According to a blog post by Faizan Buzdar, senior director at Box, this is no mean feat given that the average enterprise, for example, is using more than 1,100 cloud apps across its organization today.

All this abundance does not come without its challenges. Workers need to figure out what the latest version of a file is, what collaboration do other teams use to get work done, or how to keep  information secure. Even going back to the days when it was a simple file sharing service, Box always had ambitions to become a place where works could work, share and store content. In other words, it had ambitions to offer agile enterprise content management. Last week with the unveiling of its new, unified activity stream for files, it takes another major step towards fulfilling that ambition.

The new stream will make it easier for users to see where their content is and how it is connected to other cloud-based digital workplace applications, like Slack, Salesforce and DocuSign. A new sidebar will also let users know what apps they can use to work on a particular file, which they can then launch without navigating away.

Box also announced the public beta for our comprehensive integration with G Suite, first debuted at Google Next in July. The Box for G Suite integrations include: 

  • The ability to create, edit and collaborate on G Suite files, including Google Docs, Sheets and Slides, without ever leaving Box.
  • A new Box integration with Gmail that will allow Gmail users to attach Box files and download email attachments to Box, without leaving the Gmail interface.

Finally, the company introduced the public beta for Box Feed, a machine learning-based content suggestion stream embedded in the Box interface. Feed serves up information based on the individual's current work, collaboration or interests. The feed carries over all security and privacy permissions from content to ensure access is not offered to those without permissions. 

Box Feed and the new Box for G Suite integration is available in public beta now and the unified stream beta will be available early next year.

Microsoft Upgrades SharePoint Mobile App

There's been little on the mobile app in the recent spate of SharePoint coverage, but this week Microsoft remedied that with the announcement of a number of new improvements to the mobile app. This set of upgrades focuses on simplifying discoverability, providing a smoother navigation and offering cleaner aesthetics.

Learning Opportunities

According to a blog post about the release, the goal is to cut down on the number of taps a user must take to find the content they need via the new Find tab. It also brings an improved news layout and quick access to recent content.

The Find tab uses AI to help users find people, content and answers to queries while on the go. It replaces the existing three Find tabs with one 'super' tab. In sum, it effectively collapses Sites, Links, People and Search into one, streamlined experience to give you quick answers to queries as well as access to sites and people.

Microsoft expects to make the new app available worldwide for iOS and Android device users by mid-September 2018. Microsoft did not share any details about whether an updated app would also be available for Windows 10 users.

Initially it will be offered to SharePoint Online Office 365 subscribers, but the company is also planning to add updated app support for organizations that use SharePoint Server.

Atlassian Buys OpsGenie for IT Management

Sydney-based Atlassian is back in the news this week with its announced acquisition of OpsGenie, a Boston-based startup that provides IT management, for $295 million. OpsGenie was founded in 2012 and was previously headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia.

The company moved its headquarters to Boston sometime after it raised a $10 million Series A round from Battery Ventures in 2016. The company did not indicate what would happen to the Boston workforce.

In a blog post about the deal, Berkay Mollamustafaoglu, one of OpsGenie’s co-founders, wrote the company was founded six years ago to provide a way to monitor always-on services, especially as customers’ expectations were growing and service disruptions increased the potential impact to a company’s revenue and reputation.

Since its founding, the platform has evolved into one that empowers teams to plan and prepare for incidents, collaborate on solutions, and analyze their response processes to increase operational efficiency.

Atlassian says it has already integrated OpsGenie's incident alert software into a new tool called Jira Ops, which IT teams can use to find, monitor and resolve issues in one place.