Since acquiring the social networking service Yammer a decade ago, Microsoft has been working hard to improve workplace communication through Microsoft Teams. Remember how they recently introduced the Microsoft Viva platform to help businesses with remote work with a bet that this new way of life will become the norm for hybrid or remote work?
This year, they are taking it further with the launch of Viva Engage within Microsoft Viva, a brand-new Facebook-like tool inside Teams that promotes social networking at the workplace.
What is Microsoft Viva?
Microsoft Viva is a work engagement platform that facilitates interaction, communication, and the sharing of information, resources, and insights in the workplace. It is powered by Microsoft 365 and accessible through Microsoft Teams. Microsoft says that Viva will nurture a culture that enables people and organizations to perform at their peak level from any location.
What is Microsoft Viva Engage?
Microsoft Viva Engage is a social networking platform for creating interactive online communities, discussions, and connections. It leverages the Teams’ Communities app’s functionalities. According to Microsoft, the new Viva Engage app will be an improved version of the current Yammer Communities app, with advanced functionality for establishing connections, exchanging information, expressing oneself, and building community at work.
Additionally, Viva Engage, which will be an integral element of the Microsoft Viva suite, supports Viva Connections and Viva Topics and can provide chances for community engagement, socialization, and education across several Viva domains, including Microsoft Viva Insights and Microsoft Viva Learning.
Workers from various parts of the company can use the new tool, a Yammer-based platform, to engage, ask questions of management and other employees, share personal stories, and generally feel more connected at work. Viva Engage aims to empower leaders to shape culture by allowing everyone to interact and participate in their organizations.
Viva Engage has all the functions a social networking platform would entail. You will get a user profile akin to Facebook, where you can publish updates, pictures, videos, and pretty much whatever you’d usually post on a social media channel.
Furthermore, Viva Engage allows you to express yourself through posts or stories. The new Storylines section includes a feed of postings from colleagues you follow and workplace recommendations.
Launch and Transitions
Microsoft will relaunch its Communities app for Teams as Viva Engage by August of this year. It will become available through the Teams web, desktop, and mobile apps. Current administrators of the Communities app should not be concerned, as Microsoft promises a smooth transition with minimal to no changes. Existing Yammer users can launch Viva Engage via the Teams Admin Center.
Although there is much anticipation and excitement for the launch, some current Yammer users are reluctant and confused about the upcoming transition.
Murali Sitaram, Yammer, and Viva Corporate Vice President explain:
“Nothing is going away. Yammer simply starts contributing to Employee Experience more directly through Viva Engage, and we add new features for both Viva and Yammer customers with Storyline and Stories. We believe that social connections, individual expression, and community should accrue to customers of both productivity and employee experience categories,”
The features that come with Microsoft Viva offer excellent communication and management solutions depending on the user’s needs. The addition of Viva Engage further makes remote work easier than ever by connecting fellow employees across states and regions and making it easy to collaborate regardless of location. Viva is a flexible platform that can accommodate different types of work structures.
The main question will ultimately be if this platform is sustainable. In the end, it’s up to your organization to determine if Viva Engage is a good fit for your team or remote work.
The Best Robot Vacuum of 2023
Are you looking to maintain spotless floors effortlessly? With robot vacuums becoming increasingly capable and budget-friendly, these top-tested models can ease your household maintenance task. However, finding the right robot vacuum is easier said than done. We’ve curated a list to help you choose the best robot vacuum of 2023.
1. Roborock S8
The Roborock S8 is our number one best robot vacuum of 2023. It is the top tier of Roborock’s extensive collection of robot vacuums. This model is an upgraded version of the existing Roboroc S7 MaxV. Roborock has a dual-sensor mapping, hazard recognition system, and a more powerful suction motor. Likewise, its new cleaning head with twin rubber rollers is more resistant to hair wraps. The build quality is also excellent and easy to maintain, allowing a smart, effortless cleaning experience.
- Excellent performance on bare floors
- Relatively easy to maintain
- A wide array of cleaning configuration options
- Impressively effective mopping system
2. Dreametech DreameBot D10 Plus
Here comes a mid-priced robot vacuum and mop with an auto-empty station. The Dreametech Dreame Bot D10 Plus two-in-one robot vacuum is an efficient workhorse of a robot vacuum that also has a mopping module for hard floors. It has an auto-empty station that will empty its onboard dustbin into a giant bag that can be emptied in 30 days.
For anyone wanting hands-free sweeping and mopping, the Dreame Bot D10 is a must-have. It will sweep your floor to the schedule you wish to daily or even multiple times per day. Just set the schedule and forget that it is there. If you have hard flooring, fill the 145ml water tank with clean water, which will mop your hard floors.
- Real-time smart tracking
- Voice notifications
- Strong suction
- Large charging dock
- App download required
- Water-only mopping
3. Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra
Our next featured item is one of today’s most advanced robot vacuum cleaners. It can mop and vacuum floors simultaneously while requiring minimal human intervention. In addition, its built-in camera allows the robot to identify obstacles precisely. As one of the original models on the market with a self-cleaning dock, the Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra has two water tanks and can wash the robot’s mop.
- Great cleaning performance
- Efficient self-cleaning
- Good navigation
- Clever mop mechanism
- Bulky dock
- Cable and small obstacle detection isn’t great
- No consumables included in the box
4. Bob Sweep PetHair SLAM
The Bob Sweep Pet Hair Slam robot vacuum is designed to tackle the challenge of pet hair and general debris on your floors. SLAM stands for Simultaneous Localization and Mapping. With laser vision and state-of-the-art mapping and localizing technology, Bob creates a map of his surroundings and plans the best cleaning path, providing full cleaning coverage of the entire house. Its advanced features make it stand out in the market of automated cleaning solutions.
- Pet Hair Expertise
- Powerful Suction
- Advanced Navigation
- App Control
- HEPA Filtration
- It is relatively pricier compared to some other robot vacuum options on the market
- Learning Curve
5. Shark AI Ultra™ 2-in-1 Robot Vacuum and Mop
This model from Shark is similar to other vacuum-and-mop combos, effectively cleaning floors. It has an easy-to-use app for cleaning a room or a specific area. The app is used for turning on the robot vacuum to clean even when you’re not home.
- Excellent vacuuming and mopping power
- The app is easy to use
- It can be set to clean when you’re not home
- Battery life and charging speed are not comparable with other robot vacuums
- Starter cleaning solution may not last a long time
6. iRobot Roomba 694
The iRobot Roomba 694 is the most affordable product on our list. Even without advanced navigation technology, it captured dust and pet hair. It offers slightly better battery life than its excellent predecessor, the Roomba 675.
- Rarely gets stuck
- Seamless app setup
- Supports Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant voice control
- Allows for scheduled cleanings
- Detects and focuses on heavily soiled areas
- Missed some debris on carpets in testing
- Lacks smart navigation and mapping abilities
- No carrying handle
7. Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo T8 AIVI
This feature-rich hybrid vacuum and mop uses artificial intelligence to detect and avoid many obstacles other robot vacuums wouldn’t get.
The Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo T8 AIVI combines powerful cleaning capabilities with artificial intelligence and visual interpretation (AIVI) technology. This enables the robot to vacuum and mop different floor surfaces effectively and identify and avoid obstacles like shoes, cables, and pet waste.
- Automatically recognizes and avoids obstacles
- Exceptional battery life
- Allows for remote home monitoring with a built-in camera
- Supports virtual boundaries
- Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice support
- Mops with water, not cleaning solution
- Moderate learning curve
8. Eufy RoboVac G30
Measuring 12.8 inches in diameter, the Eufy RoboVac G30 is one of the smallest robot vacuums we’ve tested. It can clean where many other robot vacuums won’t fit, like under couches. The RoboVac G30 smartly navigates your home, cleaning in orderly lines instead of randomly bouncing from wall to wall like some other affordable models.
- Compact, low-profile design
- Strong suction power for its size
- Well-designed app
- Easy to set up and use
- Works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
- Features smart navigation for systematic cleaning
- It doesn’t support strips or virtual boundaries
- Battery life is on the short side
Do you agree with our line-up and pick your own choice of the best robot vacuum of 2023? As mentioned earlier, these smart vacuums can clean different types of floors and even adapt to our schedules. They have cool features like maps of our homes and can be controlled with our phones. But remember, these advanced robots might be expensive, and setting them up could take some time. Still, they’re a big step towards having homes that stay clean with less effort.
Explore Owner’s Mag for more product and service reviews.
Preparing the Shift to Mobile eCommerce: Tips + Tools
We Are Social reported that around 50% of the 16 to 64 demographic use their mobile to purchase something online weekly. With those in mind, your eCommerce business shouldn’t be confined to one place. It’s essential that you have a website and social media sites. Plus, don’t be afraid to list your products other than those platforms. Here’s how to make a successful shift towards mobile eCommerce.
1. Use Website Builders
Most website builders nowadays can optimize your eCommerce site on the desktop or mobile. These tools help you design and layout your website and make tweaks before publishing it. Moreover, you can add pages, such as blogs, products, and contact pages, to make your eCommerce site operational.
You don’t need to hire a web designer or developer immediately when creating your site on these builders. It’s ideal for new eCommerce site owners, considering you want the business up and running from Day 1 without any hassle.
2. Set Up Secure Payment Methods
One way to enhance your customer’s experience in your eCommerce site is setting up payment gateways. Although you install payment gateway plug-ins on your desktop, it’s crucial that it’s working on your mobile site, too. This way, your customers won’t experience any mishaps or issues when paying via mobile.
3. Widen Reach with Social Commerce
Mobile eCommerce isn’t only about a mobile eCommerce app. After all, it’s a catch-all term to describe all eCommerce-related strategies done on mobile. Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok have opened avenues for eCommerce sites to integrate their store into these platforms. Plus, social media sites are easily accessible on phones, allowing customers to browse anywhere.
You can promote your best-sellers and new products on these platforms. Then, ensure that you link to your website. This way, your customers can view other products, regardless of where they’re browsing them.
4. List Products on Other Relevant eCommerce Marketplaces
Even though you have a website, you can reach more people when posting items on other eCommerce stores. This allows you to get more exposure. It’s possible that your competitors are in the same marketplace. However, if you have the correct copy and high-quality images, your customers are likely to buy your products.
5. Develop an App or Hire an App Designer and Developer
Not all eCommerce sites have an app for their eCommerce products. But you can change the game by having one for easier browsing and a smoother experience. However, app development is challenging for non-developers. There are no-code app makers to use for your new app.
Or, if creating an app is too tedious, hiring an app developer and designer is a much better alternative. They have the know-how to create an optimized app for your eCommerce site. You can find them on freelance sites like Fiverr or Upwork.
Mobile eCommerce Tools
Shopify is one of the top eCommerce tools for all businesses. You can build a site, sell online, market your products, and manage your business. You don’t need experience developing or designing a website on Shopify. The eCommerce platform has a no-code website builder, letting users create sites in minutes. Additionally, Shopify allows you to integrate apps into your online store, including payment gateways.
Another contender in website building is Wix. Like Shopify, it’s fast, easy, and simple to create and design a website. Their web design feature, “Editor X,” allows you to customize your site. Also, you can use their Wix Payments feature. It’s their solution for all payments, allowing customers to pay via Apple Pay, credit card, and other payment methods.
If you need a payment method solution, Stripe is one of the best eCommerce payment tools! You can accept payments globally. Plus, Apple Pay and Google Pay are two payment methods to integrate into your Stripe account. Stripe is also advanced because it can detect fraud and block it. Plus, you can increase conversions and launch subscriptions.
An alternative to Stripe payments is PayPal. As one of the oldest payment methods, you can trust this tool for easy payments. You can install PayPal for your checkout needs. Plus, you can even request payments! Additionally, PayPal accepts credit and debit card payments worldwide!
Don’t have time to post all the time? Consider Sked as your social media management tool. You don’t need to publish and tag your posts manually. Sked helps you tag posts directly on their dashboard. You don’t have to worry about losing your product tags. Plus, Sked will add your shoppable posts in one gallery!
Post your products on these sites:
Another social media management platform to consider for your mobile eCommerce needs is Planoly. Like Sked, Planoly enables users to tag shoppable posts without leaving the social media management platform. You can post your products with Planoly:
Content creation tools are necessary to make your mobile eCommerce strategies successful. Canva is one of these tools to promote your eCommerce site and products. You can use the abovementioned social media schedulers or other options. It’s easy to create designs for your social media platforms. Or you can create custom designs for your website and post them on other eCommerce marketplaces.
If you want a simple yet functional app, you can create one with Jotform! They use a drag-and-drop model when you build and design your app. Plus, you can use their templates to build your app in minutes. Finally, you can share your app with a QR, which will download the app to your customers’ devices.
Glide is another no-code option to consider when building your app. Like Jotform, you can create using templates and customize your app design. Additionally, you can integrate productivity tools into creating your app and automate workflows!
Our final mobile eCommerce tool is Buildfire! They have a dedicated eCommerce solution that allows you to sync your products and organize your inventory. You can even add a notification so users are informed when their products are in stock or when they need to complete checkout.
Threads: Elevating the Instagram Experience or Just a Glorified Feature?
The newest app on the block, Threads, takes the social media world by storm. Developed by Instagram, it is a companion app designed to facilitate text sharing, posting updates, and engaging in public conversations. While some got excited about the idea, some dismissed it. They say that the app is just a glorified feature aiming to get the attention of a fleeting market. Let’s find out.
What Exactly is Threads?
Launched on July 5, 2023, Threads is a text-based conversation application. It is often compared to Twitter as the two operate in the same way. It is a platform that offers a feed of text-based posts to let users get updated on what’s happening around them.
Opening an account on Threads will find you looking at feeds from accounts you follow. You’ll also find suggested content from creators and influencers that the platform’s algorithm thinks you will like. It is primarily a platform for communicating within your network and the whole world.
Threads allows you to write up to 500 characters and add photos, links, and videos. The name “Threads” came from the product Instagram launched in 2019. It was a “camera-first messaging app” to stay connected with friends.
What are Threads’ Features?
Instagram introduced Threads with the objective of providing a focused and dedicated platform for letting you connect with a select group of people. Its key features include:
Direct Messaging: it offers direct and seamless communication with your close friends. Threads puts your messages from select individuals in a dedicated inbox. This makes it easier to chat without distractions from other interactions on Instagram.
Integration with Instagram Stories: you can capture and share special moments as Threads incorporates Instagram’s Stories. You can easily and quickly share your photos and videos with close connections.
Automatic Status Updates: you can set automatic status updates to give glimpses of your activities, moods, and locations.
Camera Access: Threads has a quick camera access button that lets you instantly capture photos and videos. This is perfect for sharing spontaneous moments with your close friends.
Close Friends List: you can create a list of close friends with whom you can share your more personal content. It is separate from Instagram’s regular followers to let you select which groups of people will see your activities.
Status and Privacy Settings: the app lets you customize your status settings. It allows you to determine who can see your automatic updates, giving you the power to keep control of your privacy.
The Positive Perspective
Many users consider Threads an app that elevates their social media experience. The following factors make it an app worth having:
1. It fosters genuine communication and interactions among close friends. Threads provides a change in the way you engage with your close contacts on social media. It enables you to curate a list of only your close and trusted friends, making more meaningful interactions.
2. It offers a space that’s free from distractions. The app has a dedicated space to communicate with close friends, separate from the main Instagram feed. This translates to a more focused and calm environment. A platform devoid of the distraction from viral posts, advertisements, and trending topics.
Threads has also gained the support of many users because of the following real-world use cases. These show the successful engagement made via Threads:
- It provides a supportive network among friends. In instances where friends want to create a supportive network, they can do so in Threads. A great example is when a group of bikers want to share their rides, their struggles, the places they’ve been to, and many more.
- It enables friends from across the globe to have a unique platform to connect. Maintaining relationships with friends from all over the world is easy in this globalized world. It provides a space for auto-updating and direct messaging.
- It is an effective platform to share and cultivate various interests. Threads lets you communicate seamlessly with your niche communities. Book club members, video gamers, and cooking enthusiasts can converse with like-minded people.
- It provides a platform to celebrate private wins and milestones. You and your friends can now celebrate milestones and life events more privately. You can celebrate birthdays, graduations, and job promotions more intimately and meaningfully.
Threads is a perfect example of a social media platform that prioritizes quality over quantity. Its capability to provide a platform for nurturing genuine relationships is the main reason users give it positive feedback.
The Skeptical Perspective
As there is plenty of good feedback for Threads, it also has its share of the negatives. Here’s what the skeptics are saying about the app:
- It duplicates features Instagram already has. They question the need for another app with the same direct messaging and close friends options as those of Instagram. Although Threads has automatic status updates, it does not compensate for its redundancy.
- Skeptics believe that Threads does not address a distinct user demand. Existing platforms are already providing intimate updates with close friends. Hence, there is no longer a necessity for another one.
- Many users are questioning Threads’ long-term sustainability. When compared to Facebook Messenger or Snapchat’s Bitmoji, it seems to them that Threads will find it difficult to establish itself.
In summary, skeptics are hesitant about Threads’ uniqueness. Critics wonder if the app has enough distinctiveness to justify its separation from a huge platform or just be made as an extension of Instagram.
What the Users are Saying
In essence, user feedback on Threads is divided. While many see it as a valuable app for enhancing close connections, many see it as a redundant tool. The app’s focus on privacy and intimacy may be lost as some think it offers nothing different from its parent app.
Designed to enhance intimate sharing among close friends, Threads has ignited debates about its existence. Users offer varying opinions about it, making us wonder if it’s a worthy app or just another one to add to the clutter.