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Hardly a week goes by without one tech company or another claiming that the latest version of release of their product is ground breaking. It is very rare that these claims stand up. However, there was one announcement this week that could end up being a major addition to the digital workplace.

This time it comes from  New York City-based Verizon, which has just announced that it is joining forces with Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft to create new ways for enterprises to accelerate the delivery of fast and secure 5G application.

5G is quickly becoming part of the digital workplace and while there are many advantages to it. The fact that it provides easier transfer of data through low latency connections could really speed up and simplify access to data across the enterprise.

There are many areas this can used but some applications that are still currently being developed and which use large amounts of data will find this particularly useful; applications incorporating computer vision, augmented, mixed and virtual reality, digital twins or machine learning can be enhanced with 5G and mobile edge computing on the customer premises, helping transform the way industries such as retail, transportation and logistics operate.

It will also likely have a lot to offer for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Here you need to think of automated high-precision asset localization, tracking and positioning in manufacturing. In healthcare, the increased speed, reduced latency and high bandwidth connectivity of 5G networks could enable real-time precision medicine leveraging mixed reality and AI capabilities as well as seamless and fast sharing of large files to improve patient care.

The collaboration will bring Azure cloud and edge capabilities together with Verizon’s on-site 5G Edge, a mobile edge computing platform designed to enable developers to build applications for mobile end-users and wireless edge devices with ultra-low latency. Moving forward, the two companies have said they will explore opportunities to co-innovate with to deliver new value to industries ranging from manufacturing to healthcare.

It would be wrong to think, though, that just because Verizon and Microsoft have been quick off the mark here that they are the only company working in the area. Verizon has also been working with Cisco. Last month the two announced a new collaboration that will integrate Verizon's 5G network and edge interfaces with products from Cisco's sports and entertainment portfolio. Intel has also a strong presence in the 5G market. Ultimately getting 5G right is what is going to make the difference to digital workplace users so the stakes are high. This is definitely something to watch for in 2021.

Google Workspace Gets New Add-Ons

This week also saw Google Workspace keep up its growing pressure on the productivity market with the release of new add-ons for Google Docs, Sheets and Slides, its equivalent of Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. The new add-ons will let users make use of third-party applications within Google Workspace itself, without having to switch from one app to another.

Google Workspace Add-ons allow you to use third-party applications within Google Workspace, helping users get work done faster without switching from one app to another. Add-ons are already available for Calendar, Gmail, and Google Drive.

Add-ons are customized applications that integrate with Google Workspace productivity apps. Through these, third-party services or information will directly be available in Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. Organizations can also use Apps Script or alternative runtimes to build add-ons.

This is the second move in recent weeks that has seen Google move to pull all the apps in G Suite together. Three weeks ago, it announced that it was rebranding G Suite and calling it Google Workspace.

It also announced that it was integrating its collaboration tools across its applications with Gmail currently the principle service where they all come together. Javier Soltero, vice president and general manager of Google Workspace, said at the time of rebranding that for more than a decade the company has been building products to help people transform the way they work. Now, work itself is transforming in unprecedented ways. Work is no longer a physical place to go and interactions that used to take place in person are being rapidly digitized.

Google Workspace includes all the productivity apps, including Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Meet and many more. With the new add-ons in the three business apps and the ability to connect with third-part apps Google has taken another step closer to creating a single place to work. It is unlikely, however, given the rate of change in the digital workplace that this will be the last of the changes to Workspaces.

CTERA Enables File Transfers to the Edge

Elsewhere, New York City-based CTERA this week announced the release of its enterprise file services platform which unifies local file sharing with cloud hyperscale storage, allowing enterprises to modernize distributed file services delivery — including remote offices, work-from-home laptops, VDI and mobile — without compromising performance or security.

The pandemic has forced enterprises to support a more distributed workforce and the innovations in CTERA 7.0 are designed to enable enterprises to keep data close to users wherever they are and to easily migrate file workloads to the cloud.

It also includes CTERA Antivirus, offering virus protection at the edge and in the cloud, new CTERA Migrate, a built-in migration engine that enables automated data discovery and import from NAS systems and new CTERA Zones, allowing enterprises to dynamically segment their global file system into any number of geographic locations.

File sharing has not had a lot of limelight in recent months as many workers are using their communications suites to transfer data from one employee to another. However, CTERA 7.0 is a different kind of file transfer application. CTERA 7.0 is an ultra-fast edge-to-cloud transfer protocol that synchronizes data at a throughput of over 30TB/day per site with minimal sensitivity to network latency.

CTERA Zones, which also comes Zones allows enterprises to dynamically segment their global file system into any number of geographic locations. By preventing sensitive data exposure to unauthorized sites and users, enterprises can strengthen internal privacy mechanisms and ensure data sovereignty and compliance requirements.

There is a lot more in this too which, given the kinds of enterprises the company works with — the US Department of Defense, for example — are key requirements. Keep in mind too that edge computing is one of the major emerging digital workplace technologies and any vendor that can service that technology is on to a winner.

Hyland Adds Capture, RPA

Meanwhile, Cleveland-based Hyland, which is owned by private equity firm Thoma Bravo, has  announced the release of Hyland Experience Capture (HxC), an intelligent, web-based scanning, classification and data extraction tool, and introduced Hyland RPA, an end-to-end robotic process automation (RPA) suite.

The offerings were announced in virtual keynote addresses from Hyland’s executives to more than 3,500 customers, at Hyland’s annual Community LIVE conference. The addition of the products to Hyland’s content services suite support Hyland’s mission to be the leading provider of modern content services solutions driving digital transformation.

HxC is the first cloud-native application built on the Hyland Experience Platform (HxP) — Hyland’s next-generation cloud-based platform delivering best-of-breed content services capabilities through a variety of SaaS applications in the Hyland Cloud.

Hyland RPA is a comprehensive RPA (Robotic Process Automation) suite that comes with everything from process analysis to bot management. Hyland acquired its RPA technology offering in its acquisition of Another Monday earlier this year.

Automating manual, rule-based, high-volume and repetitive tasks helps organizations increase efficiency and accuracy, improve information security and compliance and accelerate ROI and takes human error out of the creation and management of processes.

CISOs Conflicted Over Remote Work

Finally this week, research carried out by New York City-based Hysolate in partnership with Team8, shows that chief information security officers (CISOs) are conflicted about how their companies can best reposition themselves to address the sudden and rapid shift to remote work caused by the pandemic. There are a few other significant findings, including the fact that COVID-19 has accelerated the arrival of the Remote-First era.

  • Legacy remote access solutions such as virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), desktop-as-a-service (DaaS), and virtual private networks (VPN), are not considered secure by CISOs
  • Half of CISOs believe that security measures are impacting productivity when scaling Remote-First policies.
  • Bring-your-own-PC (BYOPC) policies further complicate organizations’ approaches to secure remote access.

The responses revealed deep and surprising divisions in how different companies are responding in the face of real business continuity challenges posed by the pandemic.  There is a lot more in this study, the full results of which can be found here.