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1. Google Calendar Has a New Look With Improved Features (10/25/2017)
Google plans to finally implement the long-awaited changes to the desktop version of Calendar. The makeover will not only enhance its aesthetics and put it on par with its mobile counterparts but also give the desktop app cool new features to boost user productivity.

Google plans to finally implement the long-awaited changes to the desktop version of Calendar. The makeover will not only enhance its aesthetics and put it on par with its mobile counterparts but also give the desktop app cool new features to boost user productivity.

One of the more visible changes in the revamped desktop Calendar will be its size. The new Calendar will now automatically adjust depending on the size of your computer screen which should make it easier to navigate.

But the Calendar redesign is more than just skin deep. The new version will be packed with useful features design to make your work life a bit easier.

With the new update, users to are now able to link spreadsheets and documents for meetings directly to the Google Calendar, eliminating the need to open other apps.

The new Calendar app will also make scheduling meetings in the real world a bit easier as it now lets you search for available conference rooms and book them for meetings. According to Tech Republic, the upgraded app will also support conference room details. This will aid organizers in picking the ideal venue since they can search for rooms that have particular audiovisual equipment or even ones that are accessible by wheelchair.

Time management gets easier too. At a glance, the new app will allow busy workers to see the status of each meeting invite as they are now color-coded, according to a Google blog post. They can assign a particular color for meetings with confirmed attendees and another color for invites that have not yet responded. On the other hand, meetings and that were answered a “maybe” will be shown with diagonal lines across them while events that they have declined will be crossed out.

Google is planning to roll out the updated Calender between Nov 14 and 28 but companies already had the option to manually update their desktop Calendar app since last Tuesday.

[Featured Image by Google]

The post Google Calendar Has a New Look With Improved Features appeared first on SmallBusinessNewz.


2. Amazon Brings Prime Shipping to Business (10/25/2017)
Amazon has rolled out a new paid membership program for businesses in the United States and Germany, a clear indication that the company now has its sights on corporate customers.

Amazon has rolled out a new paid membership program for businesses in the United States and Germany, a clear indication that the company now has its sights on corporate customers.

The program, dubbed Business Prime Shipping, extends Amazon Prime’s free, two-day shipping features to everyone with an Amazon Business account and allows them to purchase office supplies. Some sectors will undoubtedly see this new program as a threat to office supply shops likes Office Depot and Staples, retailers like Walmart and stores like Costco, which specializes in warehouse deals.

According to Amazon’s press release, the pricing for the new membership model is determined by the number of users on the business account. The base price starts at $499 for a company with about 10 users and $1,299 for businesses with 100 users. The most expensive is $10,099 for companies with more than 100 users.

Once a company signs up for the program, all the employees or users will be notified through email about the benefits they are entitled to. New users added to current Amazon Business accounts will also be automatically enlisted in the program.

Greg Greeley, VP of Amazon Prime, said the company is excited to introduce the new shipping program and described it as combining the vast selection of products open to Amazon Business clients with the convenience and speed that Prime is famous for. He also assured customers that the company would keep innovating to ensure easier business purchasing.

Amazon Business was launched in the US in 2015 and was later introduced to countries like Germany and the United Kingdom. The service was recently expanded to include Japan and India.

Aside from the usual benefits offered to Prime subscribers, Amazon Business provides other features big businesses need, like being able to compare offers between sellers, exclusive pricing on more than 5 million items, bulk discounts, integration with 30 or more purchasing systems, and reporting and analytics.

Amazon did not reveal when the new shipping program will expand beyond Germany and the US.

Companies can also sign up to try out Amazon’s Business Prime Shipping for free for 30 days.     

[Features image via Amazon]

The post Amazon Brings Prime Shipping to Business appeared first on SmallBusinessNewz.


3. Cisco Acquires Software Company Broadsoft for $1.9 Billion (10/24/2017)
Cisco, the world’s biggest producer of networking gear, announced on Monday that it offered Broadsoft $55 per share, a 28% premium over its closing price on Aug. 29.

Cisco, the world’s biggest producer of networking gear, announced on Monday that it offered Broadsoft $55 per share, a 28% premium over its closing price on Aug. 29. The market day ended with the two companies enjoying a rise in their shares, with Broadsoft enjoying a 1.5% boost before the bell.

News that Cisco was planning on acquiring the American telecom software company surfaced on Sunday, with the deal estimated to be valued at $1.71 billion based on its outstanding 31 million shares.

The arrangement between the two companies would also give Cisco a firmer stronghold in selling consolidated communications software to major telecommunication companies. It also heralds the company’s move from being a purely networking company to one that focuses on software and services delivered via the cloud.

The deal is expected to be wrapped up by the first quarter to 2018, after which Broadsoft employees will be joining Cisco’s communications technology division.

Broadsoft is known for supplying software and services that allow fixed-line, cable and mobile service providers to offer integrated communications over their IP networks. It has historically been offering its products to big telecom companies like AT&T and Verizon, which then resells the software to their clients. Meanwhile, Cisco has been placing all its attention on high-growth sectors like cloud computing, the Internet of Things and security.

While the move might have been surprising for some, Cisco’s management strongly believes the two companies complement each other. CEO Chuck Robbins said that the deal with Broadsoft will give their clients a way to better connect with their customers. According to Robbins, businesses have to think about how they interact with their customers when dealing with digital strategies. He also added that the “acquisition of Broadsoft actually gives us the most comprehensive set of collaboration solutions for our customers.”

Cisco’s Broadsoft acquisition is the company’s second large-scale purchase this year after scooping up AppDynamics for $3.7 billion in March. The company is also gearing up to acquire more companies. In May, Cisco agreed to purchase Viptela Inc., a software-based networking start-up, for $610 million. It also has plans to acquire Perspica, an analytics company focused on machine learning-driven operations. Cisco reportedly has plans to integrate Perspica’s engineering team with the AppDynamics group.

[Featured image via YouTube]

The post Cisco Acquires Software Company Broadsoft for $1.9 Billion appeared first on SmallBusinessNewz.


4. Oculus Rift Releases New VR Bundle for Business (10/23/2017)
Oculus VR is now trying to tap into a new market to boost the sales of its high-end virtual reality device. The company is now launching Oculus Business, effectively sweetening the deal for companies to snap up its Oculus Rift bundle.

Oculus VR is now trying to tap into a new market to boost the sales of its high-end virtual reality device. The company is now launching Oculus Business, effectively sweetening the deal for companies to snap up its Oculus Rift bundle.

Oculus vice president Hugo Barra made the announcement of its business bundle during the Oculus Connect conference in San Jose, Tech Crunch reported. The Oculus for Business package costs $900 and includes the hardware package, dedicated customer support, full VR license and enterprise-grade warranties.

The hardware package consists of the Oculus Rift headset, three room sensors, three Rift Fits and Oculus Touch Controllers, according to The Verge. Altogether, the hardware only costs $574, but the $900 price of the business bundle is still considered a great deal, given the warranty, commercial license and preferential customer support that go with it.

While virtual reality is still a relatively new technology, businesses can harness its potential to improve their reach and exposure as well as streamline their operations. For instance, VR can be utilized to aid personnel training and even allow potential customers to examine products in great detail in the virtual world. In the future, VR could be indispensable to a host of industries such as construction, manufacturing, education, tourism, and health.

In fact, the German automobile manufacturer Audi is one of the launch partners of the Oculus for Business. The carmaker harnessed VR to build virtual showrooms where potential buyers can configure a car and even walk around it to assist them in the selection and customization process.

Aside from Oculus VR, other virtual technology manufacturers such as Apple have been pitching their VR hardware as a business tool. Admittedly, the market for VR gear among individuals is a bit limited, as the price of the gadgets is a bit too steep for the average consumer. In addition, setting up a VR rig inside a home also requires some expertise. Businesses, however, have bigger budgets and tech-savvy staff at their disposal which makes it easier for them to buy and install VR equipment.

[Featured Image by YouTube]

The post Oculus Rift Releases New VR Bundle for Business appeared first on SmallBusinessNewz.


5. Intel Partners With Facebook on New Range of AI Chips (10/23/2017)
Intel might not have taken to AI immediately but the company is now scrambling to catch up. In a bid to assert its dominance, the Silicon Valley stalwart recently unveiled the Intel Nervana Neural Network Processor (NNP).

Intel might not have taken to AI immediately but the company is now scrambling to catch up. In a bid to assert its dominance, the Silicon Valley stalwart recently unveiled the Intel Nervana Neural Network Processor (NNP). These range of chips were designed specifically with artificial intelligence in mind.

Since they are intended for AI, Intel has partnered with Facebook in the design and development of these neural chips. According to Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, the chips could usher in new kinds of AI applications that could change social networks, the health industry, cars and even weather forecasts.

The technology behind the chips is undoubtedly tied to Nervana Systems, a company that Intel bought for $350 million last August. Since acquiring the deep learning startup, Intel has been sending teasers about the NNP line under the code “Lake Crest.” The resulting neural chips are an integral part of the company’s goal to establish deep learning models’ speedy training time.

Since the NNP is designed to meet the demands of machine learning, it’s likely that the chips won’t be found on personal computers but in data centers. Intel CPUs might have a strong presence in server stacks, with a 96% market share in data centers, but present AI workloads are better handled by the graphical processors (GPUs) of ARM and NVIDIA. This is why the demand for their chips have risen astronomically. Even Google has gotten in on the action with its Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), which the company uses to power its cloud servers. Meanwhile, firms like Graphcore are also looking to break into the industry.

The question now is how fast are Intel’s neural chips. Unfortunately, the company is keeping mum on the details. When Google launched the newest version of its TPU chips, the company published test results it conducted against its rivals. In Intel’s case, the company would only say that it’s on its way of meeting its objective of advancing deep learning speeds by as much as 100 times and that it intends to achieve this by 2020.

To meet its goal, NNP has to perform better than NVIDIA’s V100 GPU and Google’s second-gen TPU. But there’s a strong possibility that Intel would be able to meet this mark and more, especially since the company has its 14nm process technology on hand.

Intel is also keeping quiet on when the NPP chips will hit the market, although more details are expected to come out soon. There are some rumors that the new neural chips could be available in limited quantities by the end of the year.  

[Featured image via Intel]

The post Intel Partners With Facebook on New Range of AI Chips appeared first on SmallBusinessNewz.


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