Taking the plunge and moving to Enterprise Chat?

There are 4 primary players you’ll want to look at – Slack, HipChat, Microsoft Teams and the more recent Google Hangouts. All of them deliver on core features and functionalities. But sometimes offering an array of services isn’t enough –  you’ve to choose one tailored to your preferences.

At RSpace we let you pick the best communication tool for your team.

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With more than 6 million daily active users, Slack is the most popular enterprise chat tool on the market. It is also the most feature rich, and has the most integrations with other tools, made available to users via an apps page. A key feature not (yet) offered by competitors is the ability to add members from different organizations.

The RSpace – Slack integration support two-way communication. You can post messages from RSpace to a Slack channel. If you’re a PI with lab members working on several different projects you can set up channels for each project and people in each project can post links in the relevant channel to their work in RSpace. Two kinds of RSpace → Slack communication are possible. You can search RSpace from a Slack channel, AND you can import Slack conversations into RSpace. So you can conduct conversations about your research in Slack and then associate them with the write up of your research in RSpace, enabling more complete capture of how the research was carried out, enhancing discoverability and reproducibility. This is useful within a single lab and also in inter-organizational contexts, e.g. for communication between a biotech and a CRO about work the CRO is doing for the biotech.

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Having seen the success of Slack, Microsoft and Google are both entering the market with competing offerings that integrate with their respective collaboration suites, Office 365 and G Suite. These integrations are the key distinguishing factor between Slack and Microsoft Teams and Google’s Hangouts Chat. MS Teams integrates with Office Online, One Drive and Skype for Business, and is advertised as ‘the hub for communication’ in Office 365 for Education.

We anticipate that research and classroom use in universities deploying Microsoft 365 Education will be the major focus of early uptake for our RSpace – MS Teams integration. Like the Slack integration, the MS Teams integration enables you to post messages from RSpace to an MS Teams channel. If you’re a PI with groups working on several different projects you can set up channels for each project and people in each project can post links in the relevant channel to their work in RSpace. Or if you’re using RSpace in the classroom, students can post links to experimental results and other coursework in an MS Teams channel for their teacher to review and comment on, and take advantage of the RSpace integrations with Office Online (coming soon) and One Drive.

The RSpace – MS Teams integration is already available and RSpace will soon appear on the MS Teams apps tab – look out for the announcement!

Google Hangouts Chat Desktop Phone

Google is about nine months behind Microsoft in the race to compete with Slack, but is intent on catching up fast. Hangouts Chat, which launches on February 28, is emerging as one of two bifurcations from Hangouts, the other being Meet, which is a videoconferencing tool. Google’s approach is similar to Microsoft’s, in this case with tight integrations with Google Docs and G Drive. A nice feature of Chat is support for threaded chats.

We anticipate that research and classroom use in universities deploying G Suite for Education will be the major focus of early uptake for our RSpace – Hangouts Chat integration, which will be available in March 2018. Like the Slack integration, the Hangouts Chat integration enables you to post messages from RSpace to a Hangouts Chat channel. If you’re a PI with groups working on several different projects you can set up channels for each project and people in each project can post links in the relevant channel to their work in RSpace. Or if you’re using RSpace in the classroom, students can post links to experimental results and other coursework in a Hangouts Chat channel for their teacher to review and comment on, and take advantage of the RSpace integrations with G Drive and Google Docs.

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HipChat is older, having begun in 2010 before it was acquired by Altassian in 2012. Hipchat does not release user statistics, but notable users include Expedia and RunKeeper, amongst others.

Hipchat is not widely used in research labs or the classroom, and hence we have no current plans to integrate RSpace with Hipchat. If you think that’s wrong, and you’d like an integration, please let us know!

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