Mmhmm and Teams transform video conferencing

Mmhmm app turns video calls into interactive show

Former Evernote CEO Phil Libin has developed the future of video teleconferencing. The Mmhmm app works with any video conferencing system and transforms the experience by enabling the presenter to become large, small, semi-transparent, “stand” in front of the presentation content just like in a conference room, choose any background, and place presentations in a picture in picture window. TheVerge

dis-rup-shun: Innovation — it never stops amazing. This is a simple idea yet so innovative and potentially transforming. If virtual presentations are as compelling and attention grabbing — perhaps even more so — than live presentations, then the future of work really is changed forever. Mmhmm’s functionality will be integrated with video conferencing apps, and the real losers will be airlines, hotels and Uber drivers, as the benefits of being live and in-person become smaller and smaller.

Microsoft Team’s Together mode, like Mmhmm, will transform virtual meetings

The timing of this Microsoft news flash is surely no coincidence, following the unveiling of Mmhmm. A new Teams feature, called Together Mode, puts all virtual conference attendees in the same background setting, so they look like they are in the same room. It is a way to neutralize the distraction of individual settings and create a virtual institution. CNET

dis-rup-shun: This is a pretty intriguing development. Suddenly the fun of exploring someone’s home office or bedroom over their shoulder is removed and we are back in a classroom or auditorium, focusing on the speaker, the content, or on the faces in the crowd. Universities and colleges, especially those that are really expensive — you need to be very, very swift to re-purpose your dorms, your lecture halls and labs. You won’t be needing many of them starting last semester.

Next generation Google Home Nest speaker

The original Google Home speaker was released in 2016 and has not had a major refresh. As part of a regulatory filing in Japan, watchers have identified the next generation product. It is tall, flat and fabric covered. What will be more interesting is to see if the product’s skills, or software functions and sound quality are drastically different from the generation one product or if this is mostly an update of the form factor. TheVerge

dis-rup-shun: Google has some branding work to do, as just describing this new product as the Google Home Nest smart speaker is a mouthful. As the sound quality of the flagship product improves, Google takes on the traditional speaker makers such as JBL, Sonos, Sony and Bose. As Amazon rapidly adds thousands of “works with Alexa” partners, Google continues to figure out what it does better than Amazon, and so far, that is search. The company’s marketing, however, is yet to position it as the best “_______,” and so consumers continue to struggle with the decision of which ecosystem to invest in, and the product continues to be a distance second to Amazon’s Echo line, but well ahead of Apple’s HomePod.

Facebook’s civil rights audit reveals setbacks and missteps

Facebook performed its own internal audit of decisions around civil rights-related posts and censorship. Civil rights organizations that reviewed the report criticized the company for some missteps which were “significant setbacks” for civil rights. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: Where is today’s equivalent of the Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee, who made tough and unpopular decisions about the identity of that publication? Facebook can no longer be the world’s bulletin board — that position has led to unending acrimony. Facebook is the new Washington Post, New York Times, or Asahi Shimbun. It must change its position to a curated, biased source of information with stated editorial guidelines that not all will like, but that are clearly stated. Trying to define the narrow path between free speech and dangerous rhetoric is losing battle.