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Chat goes professional with Kaizala

Altron Karabina’s team tells BRYAN TURNER how Microsoft Kaizala’s strong chat capabilities boost workplace task success.

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A smartphone showing Microsoft Kaizala’s chat app

When one thinks about chat, WhatsApp comes to mind. But is WhatsApp the best tool for the workplace?

Altron Karabina’s team invited us to experience how Microsoft’s Kaizala app has been optimised for the workplace, and includes strong features like customisable chat extensions to get tasks done via chat.

“The chat experience has been rebuilt from the ground up,” says Ryan Jamieson, CTO of Altron Karabina. “It’s not just about sending messages anymore. Chats need to enhance the experience, and the intelligence from a business chat needs to feed into corporate systems. It’s difficult to do this with WhatsApp or WhatsApp for Business.”

The ability to use chat as a communication tool as well as an intelligence, data gathering tool is becoming increasingly important to businesses. It saves time for those who would be doing repetitive work.

“An airline has started to use Kaizala to manage tasks naturally in chat,” says Jacob Shihawu, principal consultant – digital workplace at Altron Karabina. “They can check on tasks, and complete tasks all in a chat, all while the airline can track how long it takes to complete these tasks. It’s the added comfort of use for users, while management can make informed decisions based on the data they receive from tasks.”

“Kaizala has transformed the way businesses collect information,” says Jamieson. “Businesses don’t need tedious forms that need to be filled in, because a Kaizala bot can accept responses in chat form. One can see this as a trend in the market, with chatbots appearing in many different situations. Accepting data naturally is how businesses can capture as much meaningful data as possible.”

Work chat platforms rely heavily on the pre-existing design language that users already understand. That’s why Kaizala resembles a chat app like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger.

“The transition for companies that have done it has been simple,” says Jamieson. “Thanks to Kaizala’s look and feel resembling chat apps we already use, many are fine with using it, especially when compared to other clunkier, legacy communication software solutions out there.”

“Someone doesn’t want to call in sick by getting out of bed, going to a laptop and filling in a form for HR,” says Shihawu. “These sorts of tasks should be done through a smart device, in a natural way through a chat interface that doesn’t take a lot of effort. Just send a message to HR, let the system capture the details, and both parties can be happy.”

The platform is ready to be picked up for those who already use Microsoft 365 solutions.

“Anyone with a smart device can download the app and see how it works now, with or without a 365 workplace solution in place,” says Jamieson. “Those who are working with 365 platforms, try some of the Kaizala integrations. You might find a month’s worth of build can be done in a few hours with a natural chat platform.”

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Motorola unveils foldable Razr

Motorola has relaunched a new Razr flip phone, dubbed the Moto Razr 2019, that flips out into a full 6.2 inch smartphone – without a display crease on its fold.

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The iconic Moto Razr flip phone has returned, but instead of a tiny LCD with a T9 keyboard, users get a 6.2 inch OLED foldable Android phone. Having a foldable OLED display puts the new Moto Razr in the same league as the Huawei Mate X and Samsung Galaxy Fold. This also, naturally, means it’s extremely expensive, starting at $1500 in the US, and is locked to Verizon for now.

Two major aspects make this device stand out: the hinge design, and the unfolding design. The new hinge uses an interesting unfolding technique, that features a large air gap to allow the hinge to move out the way of the display. This is vital for reducing the crease to the point where it’s no longer noticeable.

Credit: Yanko Design

The way it unfolds seems a bit more practical than the other phone-to-tablet designs we’ve seen so far. Instead, we now see a smartphone-in-hand, which means when closed, the device is really small, but normal-sized (by 2019 standards) when unfolded. It also allows the Razr to dethone the Galaxy Note 10+ for the crown of the tallest phone on the market. It’s great to see a different kind of foldable.

The design remains strikingly similar to its older sibling, with some improvements like a fingerprint sensor on the chin, and a much larger camera lens.

The biggest drawback is the spec-to-price ratio, for a Snapdragon 710, which is not a flagship processor. At half the price, one could get a Snapdragon flagship or another equivalent flagship processor device from Samsung, Huawei, LG, or even an iPhone 11. 

Fortunately, it comes packed with 6GB of RAM, so performance will likely be smooth for those who aren’t playing graphics-intensive games. Another huge plus for nostalgic users is retro mode, which skins the phone with a small screen and T9 keyboard, like its 2004 sibling.

Motorola says the device will be available in Europe, Latin America, Asia, and Australia. The new Razr will launch in the US first, and only on Verizon, on 9 January 2020, with preorders starting 26 December.

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Dynabook adds 13.5-hour laptop battery to Tecra range

Dynabook, formerly Toshiba, has announced the A40-E, a lightweight laptop with a 13.5-hour battery life.

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Dynabook Europe GmbH has announced the latest addition to its Tecra range of laptops with the new A40-E. Being a highly portable, highly connected, and secure business laptop, the device has been designed to meet the Microsoft Modern Computer standard. The product completes Dynabook’s A-Series family, alongside the recently announced Portégé A30-E.

Weighing in at 1.47kg and boasting up to 13.5 hours of battery life¹ – with a Quick Charge feature giving 4 hours’ battery life from just 30 minutes’ charging – the Tecra A40-E offers users optimal portability. It features a 14-inch Full HD anti-glare display that reduces workers’ eye strain and means performance is not impacted by variable lighting. The A40-E has also been designed with durability at its core. It has a highly robust chassis and has been tested under rigorous military-grade standards. 

“The Tecra A40-E has been developed with all businesses in mind, no matter what their size or industry,” says Damian Jaume, President of Dynabook Europe GmbH. “The launch of this device demonstrates our commitment to innovate within the European business PC market and broaden our range of user-centric devices, following on from our company rebrand.”

The A40-E has been developed with a range of robust, in-built security measures. Dynabook’s in-hous BIOS provides enterprise-grade security, alongside a Trusted Platform Module (TPM), which stores data safely. Two-factor authentication also protects against unsolicited logins should the device be lost or stolen. A SecurePad with fingerprint reader is included as standard, with optional Smart Card reader and face recognition also available.

It features a USB Type-C port and, depending on configuration, one or two further USB 3.1 ports, along with Gigabit LAN, HDMI port, and micro-SD slot. An optional USB-C dock provides further connectivity options. The device’s Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265 Wi-Fi Antenna configuration enables fast Internet connection. Optional LTE also ensures Internet is available to employees outside of Wi-Fi zones. 

The device is also equipped with an 8th generation Intel Core processor and a range of storage capabilities including three SSD options – 256GB, 512GB, 1TB PCIe – to enable high performance and efficient workflows whatever budgetary and capacity requirements a business may have.

The dynabook Tecra A40-E will be available in January 2020.

¹measured with Mobile Mark™ 2014. Mobile Mark is a trademark of Business Applications Performance Corporation

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