Microsoft and Google Beef Up Communication Apps

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Microsoft will do very well with its incoming Teams product that leverages all of Microsoft’s Office 365 apps and services according to new research from Spiceworks. Based on input from 450+ IT professionals in North America and EMEA, the tech company appears set to become kingpin when it comes to messaging platforms in the work environment.

TechRadar noticed two functions that Teams has over the competition. First, when you create a message, you can deem it as “Important” with an exclamation point symbol, alerting everyone in the channel. Second, Teams offers a custom polling tool to easily take team members’ reactions to a given idea, subject, etc. without a plug-in.

Microsoft Teams is only used by 3 percent of businesses right now (this increases to 7 percent when talking about larger firms of 500+ employees), but it’s expected to grow considerably within the next two years, with 17 percent of organizations planning to adopt the system. TechRadar believes this means within two years Teams will be used by 20 percent of organizations (with the majority of that adoption coming in the first year). This would overtake both Google Hangouts and Slack, which Spiceworks estimates will be 19 percent and 17 percent respectively.

In other words, Microsoft Teams will be the second most-used messaging platform, behind only Skype for Business which will be deployed by 47 percent of firms in two years’ time (and is already used by 36 percent of businesses). Of course, that’s a Microsoft product too, leaving the firm pretty dominant when it comes to collaborative chat in the workplace.

As for Workplace by Facebook, another big name in this arena, it is currently only being used by 1 percent of smaller firms, and 2 percent of larger companies. According to Spiceworks, 82 percent of the professionals surveyed said they had no plans to deploy this platform at their organization.

Other interesting points the research turned up include the fact that 47 percent of the EMEA IT pros indicated that they believed collaborative chat apps were critical to the success of their business. When it came to security, respondents weren’t too concerned. Only 32 percent believed that messaging apps put business data at more risk, and 29 percent said that these messaging platforms represent a security risk which is ‘difficult to manage’.

Not to be outdone, Google is bolstering its communications offerings with the addition of Meet according to TechRadar. The full title of the app is Meet by Google Hangouts. This is a videoconferencing solution aimed at providing businesses with meetings that benefit from HD video.

Just as with Hangouts, you’ll be able to make group video calls, although in this case with up to 30 people taking part (triple the number allowed in Hangouts). Although Meet hasn’t been officially launched yet, TechCrunch spotted the product via its website which is now online.

The iOS app did go up for a short time, during which TechCrunch grabbed some details, including the fact that Meet will allow people on the move to use dial-in numbers – but this will only be available to G Suite Enterprise Edition users. Incidentally, the fate of Hangouts remains unclear in terms of whether it will stay as a video chat solution for consumers.

For more information, check out these posts:

Microsoft Teams is the Firm’s App-Filled Answer to Slack and HipChat

Google’s New G Suite Addition Ups the Ante for Videoconferencing

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Ryan Lahti is the founder and managing principal of OrgLeader, LLC. Stay up to date on Ryan’s STEM-based organization tweets here: @ryanlahti

(Photo: Microsoft, Flickr)

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