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As predicted, Microsoft is pushing the boat out on releases in the run-up to its Ignite annual conference next month with new announcements almost every day over the past week. One of the more notable ones — and ones that digital workers will be happy to see — is a new artificial intelligence-driven transcription service for audio and video content stored in OneDrive and SharePoint.

Even with a digital asset management system in place it has always been hard to manage video and re-use it, or to pull audio files out of a silo and use them in the workplace where they are needed. Microsoft is tackling this problem by bringing automated transcription services like those available in Stream to OneDrive and SharePoint using AI.

According to a statement, later this year Microsoft will offer this service enabling those who are viewing a video or listening to an audio file to create a full transcript (improving both accessibility and search) directly in Stream, which supports over 320 different file types.  Some of the other AI driven capabilities, include in-video face detection and automatic captions.  More importantly, the audio and video content never leave the Microsoft Cloud and it is it is not passed through potentially costly and insecure third-party services.

On top of this the new audio, video and image search that Microsoft announced last September will be made available next month which uses native, secure AI to determine where photos were taken, recognize objects, and extract text in photos. This recognition and text extraction allow users to search for images as easily as you search for documents. Other additions on the way include:

  • File insights - This is a new capability for native Office applications will offer a file card, providing access statistics for any file stored in OneDrive and SharePoint
  • Intelligent sharing - Later this year users will have the option to easily share relevant content with meeting attendees.
  • Intelligent compliance - Soon uses will be able to use the text extracted from photos and audio/video transcriptions to automatically apply compliance policies to content in OneDrive and SharePoint.

The focus at this year’s Ignite conference will be AI and there is likely to be a lot more AI-driven productivity news in the same vein. 

Slack Integrates Adobe Creative Cloud

Over the past three weeks Slack has featured prominently in this column. It announced that it was buying Atlassian’s HipChat at the end of July. Then, it secured a funding round of 427 million. This week its back with deeper integration with the Adobe Creative Cloud (ACC). According to a blog post during the week, users of both Slack and ACC will be able share and collaborate on files with the introduction of a new integration between the two through the Slack App Directory.

As a result, creative teams can share ACC files more efficiently, while a new, rich image previews make it easier to discuss designs in detail without leaving Slack. An integration with Adobe XD prototypes sends notifications about new comments to you in Slack, so you never miss out on an update or piece of feedback. There are many ways of using ACC in Slack but one of the most interesting possibilities is the ability to share files directly through a Slack channel or even as a direct message. For anyone that uses Slack this will be easy as all you need to do is drag the file you want to work on and collaborate into the conversation or channel. The statement from Slack reads, “Our ongoing goal is to make it easier to share and collaborate on work in Slack, no matter the type of content or file format. This integration with Adobe Creative Cloud is a big step in expanding the types of documents you can work with, and you can expect to see more of these kinds of updates coming soon."

You get the picture? Slack over the past couple of years has been adding integrations and functionality at breathtaking speed with all of them designed to make Slack a single place to work, one where you access your files, send emails from Slack through a Gmail integration, access your customer files through Salesforce integration and so on. The bottom line is that you can do a lot of work in Slack now and the San Francisco-based company doesn’t look like its going to slow the pace down any time soon. That said its in one of the most competitive markets in enterprise tech with the likes of Microsoft, Google and Zoho already well established in the collaboration space.

Google Pulls Productivity Apps Tighter Together

Speaking of Gmail and Google productivity applications, the Mountain View, Calif.-based company has announced that it too is pulling its productivity apps tighter together. Earlier this year with the revamp of Gmail, the company introduced a quick-access side panel that gave users easy access to Google Calendar, Tasks, Keep and their Gmail extensions.

Now, Google is adding a quick-access side panel to the Docs editors and Google Calendar to help you quickly access other G Suite products without leaving what you’re working on. There are three additions where you will be able to access three G-Suite products from Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Drawings:

  •  Google Calendar - Quickly reference, create or edit invites.
  •  Google Keep - Easily take notes, create lists, and see your other content.
  •  Google Tasks - Manage your tasks and to-dos.

You’ll also see the side panel in Google Calendar, where you’ll be able to use Keep and Tasks.

Like the ACC addition to Slack, this is designed to enable users to more work in one place and to give them a better view of all their apps and the data that is stored in them. Like all other Google G-Suite upgrades this is rolling out over several weeks, so you will see them depending on where you are located over the coming weeks.

M-Files Releases M-Files Online

Meanwhile, Dallas, Texas-based M-Files has announced the immediate availability of M-Files Online, which the company claims is the first information management system that enables organizations to combine cloud and on-premises deployments with a single user license and without having to lock into one model.

M-Files Online offers a more intelligent and flexible, system-neutral approach that unifies information and related policies and processes across an organization's systems and repositories, including M-Files, file shares, SharePoint, and ERP and CRM systems. The result is immediate access to existing information on day one, without massive, upfront data migration projects. Among the key features are:

  • Instant cloud readiness 
  • AI-powered metadata 
  • Connects to existing file shares and SharePoint

M-Files Online is available on a subscription basis, providing immediate access to new features and improvements with automatic updates.

OpenText’s New Legal Center

Waterloo, Ontario-based OpenText has also announced a new release, this time in the shape of OpenText Legal Center, a cloud-based EIM application designed to integrate with OpenText eDOCS to manage client onboarding and document sharing. The company also announced a newly-aligned suite of products with strategic integrations to better serve the needs of the legal market.

The development of these products following the acquisition of Guidance Software and Recommind and is designed to serve OpenText’s growing portfolio of legal industry customers. "With our acquisitions of Guidance Software and Recommind, OpenText has expanded and enhanced our solution set," Mark J. Barrenechea, OpenText Vice Chair, CEO, and CTO said in a statement. "Combining these solutions with our EIM platform, new AI and ML capabilities, and our experienced professional services organizations allows OpenText to provide a range of solutions unmatched in the legal market today."

Freshworks Launches New Collaboration Offering

Finally, this week, San Bruno, Calif.-based Freshworks, which builds customer engagement cloud software has announced the launch of Freshconnect, a new contextual collaboration solution for support and sales teams. Immediately available to Freshdesk and Freshsales users, the new collaboration tool makes it easy for customer-facing and internal teams to work more efficiently with each other on customer issues and sales deals.

Unlike most internal messaging and chat platforms, Freshconnect provides users with real-time customer information throughout the collaboration process, so that context is never lost. Its threads are organized by customer context instead of by teams, which is what usually occurs in standalone tools.

While team-based threads offer the ability for quick, simultaneous discussions, valuable context can quickly be lost. With Freshconnect, users can easily track separate discussions spawned from the initial ticket or deal and can be viewed with comprehensive context at any time instead of being lost in a long thread of different issues.

Freshconnect is available now at no cost to existing Freshdesk and Freshsales customers. In the future, Freshconnect will be extended into other Freshworks products.