CES 2022, taking place as a hybrid onsite-virtual event this week, has been all metaverse, all the time. Vendors are vying for a piece of the heart — and wallets — of enterprises. It is clear that, for this year at least, the metaverse is aiming to be the must-have tech for the digital workplace.

While the reality of the metaverse, when it is finally established, will likely be significantly different than some of the proposals currently making the rounds, a number of companies are facilitating the move. This week, for example, Touchcast announced the launch of MCity.

The New York City-based company claims that MCity will be the world’s first enterprise metaverse where any company can seamlessly deliver powerful communication, collaboration, commerce and learning experiences. Companies can now claim their address in the metaverse by registering their .metaverse domain.

Powered by Epic Games’ Unreal Engine, NVIDIA’s AI and Cloud GPUs, Accenture technology services and industry expertise and the Microsoft Cloud, MCity offers Metaverse-as-a-service (MaaS). MaaS lets organizations register their .metaverse domain for free, securely set up their metaverse campus and begin offering immersive experiences that the company claims will bring people together across time, space and language barriers.

To underline its metaverse credentials, Touchcast also hosted the Metaverse Summit at CES as a hybrid experience, with more than 20 industry thought-leaders on the emerging metaverse.

The argument goes that for digital interactions to be meaningful, they'll need to go far beyond conference-calling and video chats. Touchcast claims MCity provides this richer, deeper, persistent digital experience and Accenture will help its clients navigate their move to the metaverse.

It will be offering 3-D, photoreal environments that were, until recently, only available to high-end games and movies. MCity uses cloud-based rendering on the Microsoft Azure Cloud powered by NVIDIA GPUs and Maxine software to let any one of the 250 million active users of Microsoft Teams be transported into a metaverse venue to meet, work, shop and learn with others.

Currently available as an invite-only preview, MCity allows companies to migrate current workflows into the metaverse to support a hybrid work reality, without requiring VR headsets, high-end computers or specialized software.

LinkedIn Enters Virtual Events Market

Clearly the market for virtual events continues to grow as remote working will likely remain the work-flavor of the year for 2022. While Microsoft, which owns LinkedIn, has already made Teams an enterprise mainstay for large-scale internal meetings, LinkedIn is moving onto a bigger stage with the virtual conference space.

According to a TechCrunch interview with LinkedIn product manager Jack Poses, in order to get users to spend more time on the professional social network, LinkedIn is preparing to launch a new Clubhouse-style virtual events platform for audio in beta this month, with plans to introduce video in the spring. The new events platform will allow creators and organizations to list, host and market interactive virtual events.

The move should surprise no one. LinkedIn has a track record in events that goes back to 2019 when it launched Events Hub. Event Hub is an exhibitor management platform for live event organizers, plus a nationwide event space marketplace. Organizers manage exhibitor applications, payments, paperwork and logistics through a dashboard that also enables batch updates and messaging. Like all other areas of the digital workplace, however, the sudden explosion in remote working has forced LinkedIn to take another look at its event offerings. It added online polls and video events to provide remote workers with further content access. 

Poses explained the thinking behind the new venture: “Our philosophy is to put the organizers in control. We want to make it easier to host virtual round tables, fireside chats, and more. Some may want the event to be more formal, or less formal. Some might want to communicate with their audience, to open up to the floor. We’re giving professionals interactivity and support.”

It will be interesting to see how it stacks up against other offerings where the video capabilities are released. It’s a tight market, but LinkedIn already has an audience of almost 800 million members with over 55 million registered companies on its platform.

OpenText Releases Extended ECM Documentum for Salesforce

OpenText Documentun has developed a new integration to make it easier for users of both Salesforce and Docmentum to access data located in both systems.

According to OpenText, Documentum customers have been using its capabilities to manage and extract value from content of all kinds across their entire enterprise. Its enterprise content services have also enabled organizations to establish control of their critical information with a single source of the truth, simplifying access to the most recent, approved business content.

As it stands, many large enterprises use the Salesforce Customer Relationship Management (CRM) applications to manage their business processes and data.  With its reach in the enterprise, Salesforce is often deeply embedded in key areas of the business, such as marketing, sales, commerce, and IT, across the entirety the organization.

However, until now if you use Documentum and Salesforce together you leave the end-user constantly switching between the two systems, something which is inefficient, wastes time and increases risk.

Now though, with the release of OpenText Extended ECM Documentum for Salesforce it is possible to integrate OpenText Documentum with Salesforce solutions, such as Sales Cloud, Service Cloud and Financial Service Cloud, so users can easily access all information contained in Documentum directly from the process experience in Salesforce.

Using it, data processes and information are linked together combining structured and unstructured data in a single end-user experience. Users can see all relevant content in the context of a business process within Salesforce. Working from within Documentum users can also see hierarchies of content enriched with key business data from Salesforce.

Learning Opportunities

This two-way integration ensures that information and content are accurate, while providing a single source of truth and stronger collaboration, better quality of response and shorter response times and anything that simplifies data access between systems like these is going to help manage and control data

SmartSuite Releases Work Management Platform

With remote workforces on the rise, Orange County, Calif.-based SmartSuite, a new work management platform aimed at the latest generation of remote working professionals, has been launched after two years of development and an $11 million investment.

Initially available in 15 different languages, SmartSuite is an all-in-one collaborative solution, helping remote workforces connect while planning, tracking, and managing workflows for one-time projects, routine tasks, and ongoing business processes.

SmartSuite was founded by three veteran software execs, along with a team of 100 developers. The execs were previously behind Archer Technologies, the enterprise governance, risk and compliance software that evolved into Archer eGRC solution suite, used by 75% of the Fortune 100 today.

The new offering follows a two-year development cycle, with what the company states are the key features needed to transform how businesses operate. SmartSuite enables teams to plan, track and manage workflows for one-time projects, routine tasks and ongoing business processes.

It supports teams of two to 5,000 and provides more than 200 pre-built templates that support core business workflows such as project management, sales, marketing, and software development, as well as specialized industry needs of construction, real estate, hospitality, nonprofits and more.

Vyopta Adds Monitoring Features

Meanwhile, Austin, Texas-based Vyopta, a digital collaboration user experience management provider, has announced new functionality to improve voice cost optimization and calling insights. The new features aim to help organizations better plan for and reduce VoIP costs and gain greater visibility into the performance and utilization of session border controllers (SBCs) and SIP trunks by providing actionable insights based on call trends.

Feature highlights included in this release are:

  • Inventory insights that present all trunks and utilization in the environment
  • Dashboard overview of trunk counts and segmentations
  • Trunk details along with search and reporting
  • Unifying trunks across all data sources and vendors into a single dataset
  • Traffic analysis to inform how calls are routed
  • Tagging trunks with valuable attributes about where and how calls are routed
  • Linked data model tying back to the user to perform Direct Inward Dialing (DID) optimization

In addition to more powerful monitoring and analytics capabilities, this release also includes deeper coverage of Session Border Controllers such as Cisco’s Unified Border Element (CUBE) and Oracle’s Acme Packet, allowing for more complete voice coverage across the collaboration ecosystem.

Miro Raises $400M

Finally this week, San Francisco-based Miro, developer of a visual collaboration platform announced it has closed $400 million in Series C financing. According to a statement, the investment will support Miro’s continued focus on building out the platform.

With the global movement to remote and hybrid work, Miro claims to have increased its user base to 30 million and now works with 99% of Fortune 100 companies as they adopt a new, digital-first way of working. This new infusion of capital brings Miro’s total funding to $476M and a post-money valuation of $17.5B. Miro will invest the capital in product development and programs designed to bring the visual collaboration platform to more enterprises and continue expanding its global footprint. 

Since Miro raised its $50 million Series B funding round in April 2020, the company claims to have increased its user base by 500% (from 5 million to 30 million) and its paying customer base by 550% (from 20,000 to 130,000).

Miro brings teams together in a shared online workspace that begins as a blank canvas to solve complex problems, design products and services, improve processes, exchange ideas and bring them to life in an agile way. The platform enables a new way of working that allows teams to co-create quickly and inclusively — no matter where they are located — through more than 100 app integrations.