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Microsoft

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  • Office 365 and G Suite both have their strong suites but there are places they fall short. To start with Office 365 and G Suite are both strong in the email area both Office 365 and Gmail both do well when it comes to email where the two differ is messaging. To start with Office 365 has Skype For Business and Microsoft Teams. While Google has Hangouts, Google Voice and Meets. While I have to say Hangouts is great and I have used it many times for podcasting it lacks the professional meeting and messaging features that Skype for Business offers its users. Google Meets while easy to use lacks the collaboration piece that Microsoft Teams has and offers, which is more of a competitor for Slack while Google has no real program like Slack or Teams Google Hangouts and Meets is a competitor for Skype For Business. Google lacks the professional features of Skype at times but beats Skype hands down in ease of use for users. Skype for Business users can set up and record online meetings for up to 250 people and broadcast meetings to up to 10,000 attendees. Skype streamlines caller management with its call forwarding and auto-attendant features. It also has a Skype Translator, a plugin that instantly translates voice and text. Google Meets supports between 30 – 100 people per session and lacks broadcasting and voting capabilities. When it comes to SMS messaging it’s not even a contest for the simple reasons is Skype for Business or Teams cannot do SMS messaging. Why Microsoft? Is the question I ask? Google Voice offers both unlimited voice and SMS messaging. But Google Voice does lack an enterprise level solution where Microsoft can offer an enterprise level cloud-based phone system with Skype for Business, G Suite has...
  • Microsoft is again getting out of the consumer space by shutting down Microsoft HealthVault and focusing their health efforts more on the enterprise side. Microsoft emailed out information about the HealthVault shut down to users saying “The Microsoft HealthVault service will be shut down as of November 20, 2019. Data you have in your HealthVault account will be deleted effective November 20, 2019. If you wish to keep the data in your account, you need to take action now to transfer that data from your HealthVault account.” Microsoft has suggested users who want to keep using HealthVault like services to migrate their data to other personal health record services like Get Real Health and FollowMyHealth. HealthVault was initially started with the mission of allowing patients to collect their own data with heavy hitter partners including the American Heart Association, Johnson & Johnson and Allscripts and Walgreens. Microsoft struggled with creating a sustainable business model around HealthVault and integrations with companies like Fitbit were abandoned over the years. Microsoft HealthVault did not fail on its own Google Health was launched in 2008 and ended three years later because of low user adoption. Google even went as far as to suggest HealthVault as an option when their service shutdown. Since its launch in 2018, Apple Health Records system has signed up more than 140 providers and health system partners and recently struck a deal with the VA to provide personal health records for veterans. I think with the success of Apple Health and Apple Watch its safe to say Apple will probably get this market as Microsoft Band is dead and Google Wear OS has had little to no adoption in recent years.
  • April 12, 2019

    5 Free Conference Calling Solutions

    Connecting with business associates, colleagues, and acquaintances who are scattered in different locations is no longer an issue. Thanks to the wonderful conference calling solution which has made it possible for teams to communicate and team up with each other at any time and from any part of the globe. When it comes to conference calling there are several options. Here are the 5 free solutions that one must try. 1. ezTalks Meetings This free conference calling solution lets you make conference calls from any platforms like smartphones, tablets, desktops, and mac. In case there is no internet connection then the conference call can be made using the telephone. With their free plan, 100 participants can get connected. They offer some very good features like free group video calls, audio calls, screen sharing, remote support, instant messaging, recording, etc. If you have been looking for a conference calling solution for online training or for remote education or conducting remote interviews then one must consider using this free solution. 2. Skype Now this one is something that we all know and use it very frequently. Skype lets you make conference calls and it has a number of features that are free and easy to use. This is one of the most popular apps and it has a number of calling plans for landline and cell phones. 25 people can join the conference call for free and they can see each other with complete clarity. If you want to use this solution you use their web browser version or you may download their app. 3. What’s App This app is an integral part of our lives and its free conference calling is definitely one of the best things. It is very simple to use and you need not be worried about the...
  • While Slack has supported Azure Active Directory previously today Slack announced on their blog support for Microsoft’s Office 365 apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive and Outlook. Slacks new integration with Office apps and files, includes a new Outlook calendar and mail app, an updated OneDrive app, and the ability to preview Office files directly in Slack. Slack and Microsoft have made a significant improvement to email space. Outlook mail integration, with the ability to bring emails straight into Slack channels, a new Outlook add-in and a new Outlook calendar app. The new Outlook calendar app for Slack brings in all your meetings and calendar invites into the messaging service along with meeting invites that arrive. The Outlook calendar app will even set your Slack status automatically based on your calendar, and it will add “out of office” to status if you’ve enabled it in Outlook. Slack is also enabling full previews of Office files like PowerPoint slides, Word documents, and Excel spreadsheets. New OneDrive improvements allow you to preview Office files without even opening them. Both Slack and Microsoft Teams have been going head-to-head to try to win over new customers but, in this case, bringing a new customer great customer experience is important to both Slack and Microsoft. Microsoft launched its free version of Teams to rival Slack, but I am not sure how good that is doing and maybe Microsoft see this as a better idea. I would like to see more Slack integration with OneNote sooner I am also interested to see if this is a space where Google might launch a messaging product.
  • April 9, 2019

    Spotify Missing the Hulu Family Plan

    Spotify and Apple have been at odds over the last year or two over different issues related to the iPhone, Apple Watch and unfair practices by Apple. Those issues aside Apple has been trying to rev up their services and offerings with Apple Music by partnering with cell phone carriers and offering their large user base of Apple Echo system users 3 to 6 months of free Apple Music. While Apple has been doing their thing trying to get new users, Spotify has been approaching user growth by offering deals like discounts to college and university students. Offering ad-supported Hulu for free to Spotify Premium members. Spotify offers a family plan or a couple’s plan and now is offering a Google puck with Spotify. One thing I have noticed about Spotify is they are trying everything to keep their growth going. Spotify, unlike Apple, is seeing their growth with the millennium crowed which is the same market Hulu is seeing their growth so it would make sense for a strategic partnership to get members. The only thing I find upsetting about the Spotify Hulu partnership is the lack of Hulu support for premium plans for users with a Family Plan or Couples Plan. While I think this could be a market that might help Hulu since they offer family plans as well, I am surprised nothing has come of this from either Spotify or Hulu.
  • Skype is really rolling out the new features and giving users the improvements, they want including doubling the number of users that you can group call at once from the 25-user limit to the now a 50-user limit. I have to say I would be hard pressed to find 50 of my friends to Skype with all at once but in Corporate America this feature is going to be useful. Skype doubling of the number of users supported by group calls to 50 puts Skype ahead of most mainstream chat services likes of WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. Apple who finally released group FaceTime messaging back in August has a limit of 32 people in a group Facetime. Skype allowing more users now puts them ahead in an area where they were behind but doing so many users in a group call has made Skype rethink the way Skype handles notifications. Skype has added a notification to replace the ringing as the default, allowing every member of the group to receive a quick ping to join the call. You can still use the ring feature if the notification of a starting a call is not enough, you can select individual members to ring, or if your group is less than 25 participants, you can ring the entire group.
  • Cloud Hosting service has become extremely popular across all industry spaces and business domains. With its wide range of benefits and usage flexibility, Cloud Hosting offers a hosting infrastructure like never before. Cloud Hosting solutions can be either public or private. While a Public Cloud stores your data in a data center and shares server resources with other users, a Private Cloud is an environment created exclusively for you on your intranet or your data center. Now, combining the best features of these two, there is a third alternative, called Hybrid Cloud. A Hybrid Cloud solution involves two data centers which use an encrypted connection to allow secure data transmission between them. Being a combination of two different solutions, the Hybrid Cloud makes for the best of both and offers a bunch of benefits to its users. Here are a few of them: Data Security One of the most pertinent issues of hosting is the security of your data. With high-level end-to-end security measures offered by  a hybrid environment, you can store and manage even the most sensitive data without any worry. Resource flexibility If you are constantly dealing with high volumes of data, then this is the best solution for you. You can easily manage the data load, analyze them, and switch between public and private environments as per your needs. This lets you use resources on-demand, avail additional resources, or minimize usage when not required. Thus Hybrid Cloud operations are easily customizable. Cost-effectiveness One of the most important thing that is considered while choosing a Cloud solution, is mostly the cost involved. Hybrid Cloud helps you make that decision and easily. With its ability to scale resources and smooth data management as per your requirements, it makes for a cost-effective solution. For instance, if your site is experiencing...
  • January 26, 2019

    Office 365 Now On The Mac App Store

    Microsoft Office 365 after long last is now available in the Mac App Store. Mac users can download the entire Office suite including full installs of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, and OneDrive. While Microsoft Office 365 has been available for the Mac via Microsoft website only some of the apps were available directly from the Mac App Store. One big change going forward will be Office 365 updates. Those who download Office 365 via the app store will receive updates the apps via the App Store. This is a significant change since the updating experience for Office apps has been through Microsoft proprietary update software on the Mac. Getting updates via the App Store should make the process much smoother for users. Microsoft and Apple both had a press release that quoted Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing “We are excited to welcome Microsoft Office 365 to the all new Mac App Store in macOS Mojave. Apple and Microsoft have worked together to bring great Office productivity to Mac users from the very beginning. Now, with Office 365 on the Mac App Store, it’s easier than ever to get the latest and best version of Office 365 for Mac, iPad, and iPhone.”
  • Microsoft recently released a statement telling everyone to switch from Windows Mobile to Apple iOS or Google Android as the end of Windows Mobile is scheduled for December of 2019. This was Microsofts last attempt at a mobile platform and it failed but this was destined to fail just like so many other Microsoft platforms due to lack of app support. We all use the apps on our phones on a daily basis. I used three apps already this morning just before I started writing. Since the start of the smartphone, Apps were the lifeblood of the world of mobile. Everyone who has a smartphone has come to rely on these apps for daily information, tasks, and other functions to help us get through the day. You would think Microsoft would have understood that after all the failures they have had in other spaces due to lack of app support. Microsoft mobile failed because basically there were no good apps for the platform. People can move from iOS to Android or Android to iOS because the apps they use every day are for the most part on either platform the same could not be said for the windows mobile platform. This is the same reason Blackberry and Palm fell from dominance in the mobile market. This is a case where Microsoft should have learned their lesson from the mobile platform but they did not. When they released Windows 10S to be a competitor with Chrombooks and the ChromeOS again the platform failed because of the app store for Windows 10 S pails in comparison to the Google Chrome and Android Play Store. Google Chromebooks have found their nitch because of this reason have grabbed a good size piece of the PC market. Then Microsoft tried their hand at Cortana and while I never really thought...