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Skype And Google Hangout Find Real Competition In Slack

|Includes: 5BARz International, Inc. (BARZ), GOOGL, WORK

Two-year old Slack could now be the next big-competitor of giant video chat platforms Skype and Hangout upon announcing a multi-million expansion plan that could permanently change the office communication niche.

Last March 11, 2016, the tech company, which promises to eliminate emails in office,s revealed that it was raising $200 million to narrow user gap against leading video chat platforms. However, Slack also admitted that it was also about augmenting brand appeal to boost the possibilities of deals with other investment firms like Thrive Capital, which is now leading the first round of financing at the company.

According to Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield, his company's goal could be simply summarized to "replacing interoffice email with the kind of messaging service it offers." It has efficiently done its job, indeed, as it managed to attract multitudes of investors and enhance its $2.8 billion valuation to $340 billion in less than two years.

What adds to the company's appeal is its CEO's honesty over his company as he was quoted saying how "terrible" his very own Slack is today, despite its growth. This highlighted the executive's sincerity over continuous improvements and making Slack a revolutionary modern office tool.

"I feel that what we have right now is just a giant piece of [expletive]. Like, it's just terrible and we should be humiliated that we offer this to the public. Not everyone finds that motivational, though," he said in an interview with the MIT Review, adding that improvements have to be done immediately to make it a top choice among firms. "There's a huge amount of stuff we're working on, from things like message replies and the ability to react to messages in a nonverbal way."

However, Microsoft, which owns Skype, and Google, which has Hangout, have no plans of surrendering just yet.

Microsoft just announced that it would be introducing a budget-friendly version of its premium service Surface Hub through Project Rigel. This lower-tier service promises to emulate the same experience in $22,000-worth Surface Hub by linking together different hardware controllable by a Windows 10 tablet. Microsoft is working with Logitech to come up with a smart dock to connect each device, and with Polycom, for its videoconferencing capabilities.

Google Hangout, on the other hand, has just updated its system with Android N Support, which makes users faster to reply to latest messages, and let them send group messages more efficiently and organized.

However, the newest updates in Slack is very hard to ignore. The company's acquisition of screen-sharing platform Screenhero has enabled it to turn a text chat into either video or voice message, which is the next big thing in the digital messaging segment. Also, Slack will soon be more seamless on all platforms as it rolls out the new feature, which would also come with a formatting tool that lets users copy-paste text more aesthetically appealing and documentation-worthy. It will also improve content organization, which allows users to find archived messages easier.

All these could only be seamlessly utilizable with a reliable Internet connection. Twenty minutes of Skype, for instance, can use almost 2.5 MB of bandwidth at a transfer rate of 30 kbps. On an average, a Skype chat consumes an average speed of 0-4 kbps, while a call can average from 24 kbps to 128 kbps. That means only countries with passable Internet speed can experience these platforms' services utmost potential.

Daniel Bland, CEO of network extender provider 5BARz International (OTCQB: BARZ), said that while other countries can use low-bandwidth alternatives like OoVOo or Swiggle, Skype and its competitors still offers better and more office-centric services.

"That's why we are introducing our plug-and-play device to telcos that are still having problems with their network infrastructure. Everyone deserves to have these great services. Our product has proven its worth it India, as we have already convinced the likes of Vodafone that it could really do wonders," Bland said.

In 2015, 5BARz International decided to commence operations in call crop-beleaguered India. After its success, it immediately started talks with network carriers in Southeast Asia, which is also among the regions with slow Internet speeds. It also plans to expand to South America and Africa before introducing its product to the European and North American market.

Additionally, it's a good idea if Skype and Hangout can introduce a lower-bandwidth version of their services to reach other markets with dismal Internet speeds. With this, they could topple promising, nascent brands that could be their next giant competitor in the near future, which is basically the story of Slack, a small venture that has now gotten big, to become a threat even.