OpenPhone is a VoIP service that allows users to make and receive calls over the internet. The app allows users to connect with other OpenPhone users as well as with traditional phone numbers.
A free video call app is an app that allows users to make video calls for free. The app can be used to call people who have the app installed on their phone, or it can be used to call people who are using a computer.
Connecteam is an online platform that allows for businesses and remote (non-desk) employees to connect and collaborate. The platform allows for the sharing of ideas, files, and messages, and also includes a calendar and task management system.
Toggl Track is a time tracking app that allows users to track the time they spend on different tasks throughout the day. The app can be used for personal or professional purposes and can be synced with other devices.
Rippling is a workforce management platform for managing HR, IT, and Finance, including everything from payroll to onboarding. The platform's features include workforce automation, workforce analytics, talent management, payroll, device management, and more.
Dialpad is an all-in-one business communication platform that uses AI to make it easy for teams to collaborate and support their customers. The platform's features include unlimited messaging, SMS, phone system, videoconferencing, and AI-powered contact center.
Aircall is a phone system and contact center software that allows users to make and receive calls from their computer or smartphone. The system integrates with a variety of software platforms and allows for the use of a headset or the built-in microphone and speakers on a computer.
The Notion app is a productivity app that allows users to capture and organize their ideas. The app includes a variety of features such as a notepad, to-do list, and calendar. It also has the ability to sync with other devices and to share files with other users.
Nicegram is an instant messaging platform that is based on Telegram API and is designed to allow for private messaging between users. The app allows for the exchange of photos, videos, and text messages in a secure environment. Its advanced features include instant translations, customized tabs, anonymous forwarding, and multiple profiles.
Miro Board is a digital whiteboard platform that is designed to help teams with the organization and presentation of ideas. The platform allows teams to collaborate online anytime and anywhere for brainstorming, planning meetings, or workshops.
BuzzCast is a live streaming and social platform that allows users to create and share virtual events, experiences, and broadcasts. The platform is designed to make it easy for users to create and broadcast virtual events, as well as to connect and interact with listeners with its social feeds and polls.
A task planner is a planner that is specifically designed to help individuals plan, organize, and track their tasks. The planner may include a variety of features, such as to-do lists, calendar, due dates, priority levels, and space for notes.
Need To Meet is an appointment scheduling software that allows individuals and businesses to streamline the process of scheduling meetings. The platform's features include custom URLs, attendee polls, calendar interface, notifications, comments, groups, and more.
AnyDesk is a remote desktop app that allows users to connect to their computer from anywhere in the world. The app is secure and allows for real-time collaboration between users.
Agendrix is a cloud-based software that helps businesses manage their appointments and schedules. The software allows for online booking, automatic reminders, and real-time updates.
Trend Highlight – The Rise of Body Doubling
There’s a growing market for silent 1:1 video chats.
It’s called “body doubling” and it’s essentially “focussing-as-a-service”. Subscribers can buy slots to help them get their work done–like a modern accountability buddy.
The focus-as-a-service industry started out humbly, with Chrome extensions like BlockSite (>1M users) that would let users block distracting sites while they worked.
But in a world where companies hire thousands of engineers and data scientists to maximize user attention, simply blocking sites is no longer enough.
The space is being increasingly commercialized with sites like Focusmate.com which makes money by paring up strangers to work silently on video chat. And the platform takes things seriously: “If your partner goofs off during the session, you can report it using the reporting button on the appointment card in your dashboard.”...“If you are late, your account can be banned.”
The rise of remote work has increasingly highlighted one insight: co-working spaces are more than just real estate companies. As the office gets unbundled, there’s a rise in sites like Focusmate that bring back the missing component of accountability.
In parallel, the distribution of company sizes is falling: 14 years ago, for the first time ever, single-person businesses outpaced multi-person businesses in estimated formations. As the creator economy grows, and individuals increasingly work for themselves, it has become harder for many to maintain accountability and focus and the products and services that bring that part back will likely play a key role in the future.
Trend Highlight – Gather Town
When Steve Jobs was designing Pixar’s new headquarters, he famously designed the layout to make employees walk long distances to the nearest bathroom in an effort to increase collaboration, serendipitous meetings, and chance encounters. An office isn’t just a place where people work in isolation at desks or meet in conference rooms—it’s also the way they bump into each other between these tasks, which can lead to idea generation.
The first generation of remote work replacements for meetings involved video conferences. Usually, that means one person looking at a gallery of faces, which is an inaccurate reflection of how meetings work and doesn't do anything to recreate other aspects of in-person work, like casual chats in the breakroom or bumping into someone on the way to another meeting. Gather.town is a video chat service that tries to build casual serendipity into the interface.
Instead of logging in to a general chat, users control an avatar that can navigate a virtual room, and when they get close to another user's avatar, a video chat begins. While some workers enjoy remote work—a commute-free workday and a pajamas-based dress code have their benefits—many have discovered that there are aspects of in-person work they miss.
With Gather Town, since users can design the virtual space themselves, they can build and adjust it as needed. Users can test out their design and rearrange it as needed, giving them the job of an architect with the iteration speed of a software engineer. The cartoonish avatars have another benefit: they help avoid the "uncanny valley" phenomenon: some designs and digital art copy life so closely that the few flaws that remain are disconcerting, often in a way that’s hard to articulate. A software interface that looks like a real-world analogue, but doesn’t quite work like it, forces the user to put more effort into processing the metaphor. By keeping some interactions lo-fi and simple, Gather Town dodges this limitation.
Gather Town is one of several companies in this category. Another, Huddle, was founded by a former Uber engineer: he argues that he's still in the same business he was in at Uber, but that "the future of transportation is no transportation."
Trend Highlight – The Surging Popularity of Loom
Loom, one of the most viral B2B products we've seen, lets team members communicate through instantly shareable videos that combine screen sharing and video chat recording. Racking up over a million users from around 20,000 companies in 2019 since launching in 2015, Loom is growing very quickly for a B2B product, even compared to the celebrated Slack which took 2 years to pass one million daily active users.
Loom solves a pain that many of us have felt, but one that has been hard to pinpoint - it's the previously missing communication form that's between writing an email and getting together for a face-to-face group meeting.
Part of Loom's magic is immediate uploading of the video while the user is still recording such that it's ready for sharing the second the user finishes. This makes sharing the message as frictionless as firing off a Slack message.
As with Instagram stories and similar communication mediums, it's becoming more commonplace to briefly hop on camera and this is beginning to transition into the workplace.
Whether they are in part the cause or in part the consequence, tools like Loom, Notion, and Slack all play into the rising bigger picture trend of remote work. In fact, many of the sites that drive large amounts of traffic to Loom are centered around remote work, like Upwork.
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