Online communication platforms that provide horizontal (used across the industry) or vertical (used with in an industry) software applications for employees to collaborate with team members. Features including one-on one and group conversation, calling and securing messaging are provided as part of the package.
From pictograms carved in stone walls, to the latest chatting apps, humans have been trying to communicate since the prehistoric age. The need to communicate has been engrained in our DNA. This has led to the driving integration of AOL (America Online) Instant Messenger (AIM) and MSN messengers in businesses especially in the 90s while messaging apps like WhatsApp and Skype are persuading more of the human population to go online today.
Emails and video chat do go a long way in helping to communicate. The current trend is simpler now. Chatting simplifies the way communication works. A tiny message is typed and a short reply or an emoji is sent back and the work is done. There are multiple apps that are used to organize team conversations, navigates company archives and speeds up integration of apps and bots.
This is more of the current trend that has been employed in the business world. There have been more team chat apps with some of features that aid organizational communications. The report covers platforms that assist P2P communication without any physical (wired) connection over wireless (OTT) network. These platforms like WhatsApp, Twilio, and Bitstrips.
Implication and Problems
Some of the problems faced in this sector are:
Cyber hacks and viruses: Messaging apps allow users to send files during conversations and although this is good for business, it can also be used by hackers to send malicious programs and malware that eventually damages systems and networks. This a problem that many platforms face and loss/migration of customers is usually the dire consequence when proper encryption isn’t put in these platforms.
Distraction at work: Can social media take up productive business hours? This is a question that business owners ask and although its application is not limited to businesses, statistics have shown that employees and individual get distracted by their chat apps during work hours.
Internet Psychology: This is a broad topic that covers issues regarding the impact of technology on humans. How does the exposure to messaging apps affect millennials? How does it affect their social lives and does the exposure contribute or reduce their psychological growth? These are some of the questions that are raised here.
There are other popular messaging platforms like WhatsApp and Twilio but for the purpose of this article, we would discuss Slack Corporation and Skype.
Slack is an acronym for “Searchable Log of All conversation and Knowledge”. Slack is a cloud-based set of collaboration tools and services founded by Stewart Butterfield. Slack as an app was launched in 2013 and is one of the most popular and used team chat app that many have praised and criticized, but slack is more than just a chatting app. Slack has features like a slackbot tool that reminds you of messages, it allows you to use emoji-based reactions and allows you to use customizable themes.
The main reason for the popularity of Slack is the Slack bots as they have been equipped with tools that can start projects, approve invoices right from a team chat. Multiple teams can all work together, keep reading groups, work chat and mini channel. Recently, Slack is partnering with Oracle that will allow Slack app as the interface for a range of Oracle business applications. Since the launch of Oracle’s Intelligent Bot services which allows retrieval of information without switching applications, customers would be able to deploy the bot on Slack. The deal has advantages for Oracle as it helps make the company’s applications appealing to a younger user base. And this wasn’t the first time that Slack had partnered with enterprise software vendors to integrate chatbots. Early this year, it had partnered with SAP (bots that create for its expense management and HR applications) and Google Drive (bots that can retrieve information from G suite tools).
There are other apps that drive communication within and outside organizations, some examples include HipChat, Microsoft Teams, Cisco Sparks, Google Hangout Chats, Skype etc. These apps help collaboration among the team members and drive business processes.
Skype is a communication platform that focuses on providing video and voice calls between mobile devices, tablets and computers via the internet and regular telephone. Users can send text and video messages and exchange digital documents and the application even supports video conference calls. The platform was first released in 2003, in 2005, eBay bought the company for $2.6B but in 2011, Microsoft acquired it for $8.5B. Skype has its headquarters in Luxembourg but stayed true to it’ developer’ country in Estonia. There have been over 74 million users on this platform according to the company’s web statistics.
There is an explosion of messaging apps and connecting platforms that people have to choose from. The rise in this sector indicates that people prefer to stick to popular platforms because of the number of connections they can make. Investors in this sector should pay attention to the increase in customer choice especially because of the problems of multiple offerings that plagues this market.