When it comes to the best workspace collaboration tools, we need to take a step back and address what elements need to be considered a workspace collaboration tool. Gartner’s definition of workspace collaboration is something that incorporates a persistent conversation space where people can collaborate in teams, communities, or networks.

Ideally, a collaboration tool should offer a seamless stream of conversations, similar to a river, and a place where collaboration can happen simultaneously. Each stream of conversation should also have a channel to flow through.

It should also be a tool that allows you to work internally and externally simultaneously. By that, I mean talking with clients or future business partners (external), while also being able to converse with team members in another conversation space(internal).

Now that we have defined what a workspace collaboration tool is let’s talk about the tools out there that could be considered the best. Here’s a list of what we think are the best workspace collaboration tools of 2020: 

  1. AirSend
  2. Cisco
  3. Google
  4. Ring Central
  5. Slack
  6. MatterMost
  7. Microsoft Teams
  8. Symphony
  9. Unify
  10. Wire

Each of these tools will be reviewed through the lens of a workspace collaboration tool, along with other various factors, such as usability, convenience, blueprint and functionality, and solutions. Let’s begin with what we believe to be the number one workspace collaboration tool, AirSend. 

AirSend

AirSend is a new and simple communication tool that brings all of your productivity essentials in one workspace. To have a successful collaboration space, users need a convenient platform, simple design, and provides a solution to a problem. In this case, the problem is context switching.

Most collaborative/communicative tools believe that to have a successful contextual workspace, you need a significant amount of outside resources. In other words, the “solution” is to integrate with other tools to get the job done. But this is not a solution. Instead, it is a substitute for a solution. While integrating with other apps is undoubtedly great, efficiency is a lacking factor. 

We spend most of our time switching between multiple apps to get what we need. Our time is not being appropriately used for productivity. AirSend provides a solution to this. AirSend’s vision/mission is to build a contextual workspace that improves the quality of life, maintain productivity, and increase focus. 

We need a workspace collaboration tool where communication can happen seamlessly. But seamless communication is not all you need for a useful workspace collaboration tool. It would help if you also had the essentials, such as a place to track and manage tasks, file share and organization, and a place where you can keep important notes for later.

Of course, some tools carry these capabilities through the integration of other apps. The main difference between AirSend and other workspace collaboration tools is that AirSend introduces these capabilities through built-in functionality. In other words, users do not need third-party apps to get the job done. 

We believe that by introducing built-in functionality, users can maximize productivity and minimize context switching. Imagine a tool where 80-90% of the user’s focus is through one medium. That is what AirSend is. Through a simplistic and clean UI, AirSend delivers built-in capabilities of task management, file sharing, note management, and centralized conversation through channels.

Finally, the convenience with AirSend is that it is available everywhere. Through desktop and mobile, users can stay always stay connected. 

Cisco

Cisco Webex Teams combines cloud software with workspace collaboration. Also known as Saas software. Cisco Webex Teams is a safe and secure platform that integrates with other business tools to help with user workflow. One of the more renowned aspects of Cisco Webex is its hybrid solution. 

The product offers multiple solutions, mainly to team collaboration, cloud calling, and video conferencing. With the cloud calling system, users can make calls from any device and any location. Cisco Webex offers its very own calling architecture, which gives users an easy path to the cloud. 

With Cisco Webex Teams, users can message, meet, schedule, share files, call, and brainstorm ideas through a whiteboard.

Designed for a utility purpose, Cisco Webex positions itself as an ideal team collaboration tool. The product appeals to what most buyers look for: 

  • A centralized conversation space
  • Content and application interaction

While Cisco Webex seems to solve some solutions to team collaboration through built-in capability, they do not appear to solve all the challenges. One of which is native task management. Additionally, for setting up meetings and calendar dates, a third-party application is required. 

Cisco Webex Teams is a great software. It is an excellent alternative for those looking for team collaboration and outside integration. Users will find the product’s usability exciting with neat trinkets, such as built-in screen capture. However, the product is lacking in some elements. If we want to boost collaboration/productivity, shouldn’t communication tools focus on minimizing integration?

Having a conversation workspace results in high performing collaboration. But to get work done, platforms need tools (preferably native to the software/product) and a simple UI to help guide the conversation workspace. Having the essential tools and UI guide the flow of productive conversations also means guiding the flow of getting work done. 

Google

Google is another SaaS software designed to combine cloud software with team chat. Like Cisco Webex, Google Chat is another possible solution for team collaboration.

Google Chat integrates with GSuite, which allows users to access and share files, and use all the essentials GSuite offers, such as Docs, Sheets, and Slides. The idea behind the product is to provide a more accessible alternative to user workflow by providing all the essentials in one.

One thing to particularly note is that Google Suite is a cloud office suite. Cloud Office Suites broke into the team collaboration/chat sector with a solution. This solution was to result in work getting done faster and smarter. Of course, we all want a tool that can enable us to get the job done with convenience, and that is what Google set out to do. Google Suite provides convenient solutions of:

  • Streamlining communication through email and chat
  • Carry meetings through Google Meet
  • Store and share files with a cloud-based server
  • Increase collaboration with GSuite itself (Docs, Sheets, Slides, etc.). 

To add to the convenience of collaboration, GSuite also offers third-party integrations. 

However, GSuite is not perfect. According to various reviews found on Capterra, there is a common negative theme: UI/UX. Multiple reports state the GSuite’s UI is clunky and usually takes users through a rabbit hole of complexities and confusion. Because of the poor UI, users also say that communicating with others is difficult. The difficulty in communicating with team members poses a negative impact on productivity.

After all, to ensure productivity, a platform needs a space for centralized communication. Google Suite is a reliable strong team collaboration tool. With advanced capabilities, users can save time switching between various apps to get work done. The only downside to the product is the complexity of the UI design.

RingCentral

RingCentral is a communication platform designed to bring a unique communicative experience. The specialty behind RingCentral is its cloud phone system. The idea behind the platform is to reinvent the communication experience with a tool that does it all in one: Messaging, video calling, and audio calling.

Additionally, RingCentral takes their product one step further by incorporating teamwork solutions: task management, teams and direct messaging, integration of apps, and convenience. 

The platform is most known for its seamless and easy-to-reach communication via the cloud phone system. With RingCentral’s cloud phone system, users can check voicemails at a glance, set up local numbers, and flip calls to any device.

They are reinventing the communication experience with convenience, which results in a new form of communication—a form of communication where work can get done seamlessly. 

Though the platform focuses on effective communication, RingCentral oversimplifies its UI/UX design, making it more complicated. Users say that the overwhelming simplicity of the product leads to the confusion of many unnecessary features. In other words, there are too many non-essential features in the product. The product looks cluttered with too many openly available features. 

RingCentral’s unique solution, unified cloud communication, pushes the conventional thought, and propels the communication medium’s new standard. By also adding team collaboration to the product, RingCentral is an excellent solution for both small and large businesses. However, with an oversimplified appearance, the product’s complexity could result in a lack of productivity. 

Slack

Slack is a team communication tool designed to replace email. The platform functions through the integration of other apps. Slack wants to minimize and replace the time we spend buried in our emails. The solution to the problem is presenting all the information we need in one place: a channel. 

Through channels, users can absorb the information they need quickly and efficiently. Additionally, with the concept of channel organization, users minimize time spent browsing through their conversation history. Image a platform that has separate channels for everything: 

  • Announcement Channel
  • Social Media Channel
  • Marketing Channel
  • Threads

Users can make a plethora of channels they need. Efficient teamwork/collaboration succeeds through the incorporation of channel organizations. Having channels is excellent for organized communication, but it is not what propelled Slack to its repertoire today.

Integrations

There is a reason why Slack is called “The King of Integrations,” and that’s because it is the king of integrations. Slack offers over 500+ integrations. From Google Drive to Asana, Slack’s vision is to enable workflow with everything in one space. 

The concept of the product is impressive. Imagine a tool where you can quickly absorb information in a matter of minutes, while also tracking tasks and storing files through a third-party application.

That is what Slack is: a team collaboration tool powered by integrating with other third-party applications. The functionality of the product sounds simple, but when testing the product, there are some complexities. 

One of the more significant challenges to the product is that Slack is a communication tool. To use Slack, users need to sign up for many of the third-party applications that Slack offers. Some of these applications are also not free, which means putting more money toward external products.

The second biggest challenge is that Slack is not ideal for multiple clients. For example, let’s say you are a business that is sustained by client relationships. If you were to choose Slack as your ideal communication medium, you would need to have multiple Slack accounts to have a client-to-client relationship. 

Having the capability of making public and private channels, sharing files within channels, and having bots to help guide productivity is excellent. However, Slack lacks built-in capabilities. Instead, their concept of organizational readiness focuses on third-party apps.

Integrations are not terrible, but it is also not as efficient as we would like it to be. The reason is that we are not minimizing the context switching. We are still spending an enormous amount of time switching between various apps.

MatterMost

Mattermost is an open-source enterprise team communication platform that provides organizations with messaging and file-sharing tools for web, PCS, and mobiles. The company enters the team chat market industry as the first of its kind at the enterprise level: an open-source encrypted chat platform. 

The problem most enterprise-level team chats face is the lack of security and privacy. Especially when developers send information-sensitive data through third-party apps. MatterMost provides the solution for DevOps and remote work:

  • The Cloud: deployable to both public and private clouds
  • Integrations and plugins
  • Atlassian
  • Encryption + Selh Hosting messaging
  • Security

MatterMost has the potential to further grow into a more robust and secure tool. Being open-source, DevOps and users can customize the product to whatever best fits their needs.

In four years, the platform has accomplished many of the common issues team communications faces. However, the product is not finished. There are still many upcoming features, such as call and audio (currently in beta). In the future, users can expect the product to be equal with the other highly ranked team communication tools. 

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is a cloud-based solution designed for business communications to help teams manage chat, meet, file sharing, and team discussion. User workflow is also improved tremendously with the addition of Office 365. Boiled down, Microsoft Teams is three items: 

  • The Cloud (One Drive)
  • Office 365
  • Communication (teams and outlook)

Similar to GSuite, Microsoft Teams mission is to enable work getting done faster and smarter. However, like most tools that strive to solve all of the team collaboration challenges with a “simplified” solution, they lack a particular element; and that is designing a simple product.

Microsoft Teams follows this theme by also delivering a sophisticated tool. According to reviews on Capterra, most users agree that the UI to Teams is not well made, making the product’s usability challenging to use.

Additionally, according to a survey we made several weeks ago, users who used Microsoft Teams mention that the integration is not the best it could be. Especially with project management tools. 

Microsoft Teams has the right idea of combining One Drive with team productivity applications. It is a great way to change how employees work. But with a poorly made UI, changing how people work to be more efficient will be difficult. 

Symphony

Symphony is a team collaboration tool made for the finance industry. One thing to note is that platforms designed to solve a specific problem or market to a particular audience, like Symphony, offer specific solutions. With Symphony, they are data encryption, compliance, and certifications. Symphony also offers various features: 

  • Bots and apps
  • Automated trade flows
  • Collaboration capabilities: messaging, file share, and conferencing

Lately, workspace collaboration tools that adhere to both internal and external usage gain traction to industries that involve finance, consultative advice, contracting, etc. Majority of the workspace collaboration tools we see now attract internal workflow.

But, few team chats have focused on the concept of business-to-client communication (external). Symphony is one of the few workspace collaboration tools that tackle the external business-to-client conversation. 

Symphony drives productivity with a kanban-like design, so users can place what’s most important first. Finally, the product is a great tool to have secure conversations with clients and enterprises. 

Unify

Unify is the Atos brand for communications and collaboration. Unify’s product is Circuit. Circuit (Unify) enables organizations of all sizes to transform the way they collaborate, creating a more connected and productive workforce. This solution would result in improved team performance and business efficiency. 

Unify is also available through web and mobile collaboration. The platform features: 

  • Unified Communication 
  • Voice Messaging
  • Voice Conferencing
  • OpenScape Cloud/Business

One of the more desirable concepts to Unify is its ability to deliver more productivity with less complexity. The way the platform provides this solution is with the OpenScare Business. With its hybrid communication to its deployable cloud services. Like Cisco Webex and RingCentral, Unify also has its very own product line.

Similar to RingCentral, Unify presents a new kind of collaboration that focuses on communication. However, the product lacks some collaboration tools that could better help streamline communication. Some of the tools Unify is lacking in is task/project management and calendar management.

Unify is an extension of team/social collaboration. The addition of the OpenScape Cloud and hybrid communication is a nice touch. But again, with a focus on communication, some elements of collaboration are lacking. 

Wire

Wire is a modern-day collaboration tool that meets advanced security and user experience. Similar to Symphony, Wire focuses on business-to-client and team-to-team communication.

What’s particularly worth mentioning is that Wire offers guest room access making it easy for client interaction to happen. 

Wire features: 

  • Personal and group chats
  • Conference Calls
  • Screen/file sharing
  • Availability status
  • Mentions 
  • Integrations

Wire allows you to securely add Calendars, Financial information, Development progress, Corporate News, or CRM information to conversations. With the focus and solution on security, users can send encrypted messages without fearing a breach.

Additionally, the simplistic UI design of the product makes it easy to use. Some reasons to consider Wire would be: 

  • Security/encryption
  • Guest Room functionality 
  • Integration

What do people look for in workspace collaboration tools?

Several weeks ago, we had surveyed what people looked for in team chat apps. The results were surprising. Below is a chart of what people look for in the current team chat industry. 

To find out more about the survey, click here

Summation

When looking for a workspace collaboration tool there are three common core capabilities that you need to consider: 

  • Integration/ built-in functionality
  • Security and compliance 
  • UX/UI
  • File sharing

These three capabilities are the makeup for workspace collaboration. With a common problem comes a unique solution, and a unique solution emerges a new form of thinking.

Each tool listed today provides its unique solution to a common problem that we face in the team chat industry. There needs to be a channel organization or space where centralized conversation can happen to encourage seamless workflow. Secondly, there needs to be some sort of easy access to integrations or built-in collaboration tools. Finally, there needs to be a tool that has a simplistic design. 

AirSend’s Mission

If we want to change the way people work, we need to address what is preventing us from being productive? We believe that one of the issues that prevent productivity is having too much context switching.

One-to-three hours of our day is wasted everyday switching between apps to get work done. The introduction of more built-in functionality would solve this problem. 

We use AirSend as our digital workspace for our marketing team. Even though AirSend is our product, we sincerely believe that AirSend can help your organization, too. Give us a try and let us know what you think!

AirSend is a versatile digital workspace to share files, send messages, and complete tasks. See how AirSend can help you.

With a new era of conceptual workspace, there is a modern theme of streamlining productivity and convenience into one space. The result of this theme is smart technology. The ability to work from any device and any location is the new definition of productivity.

In this blog post, we are going to explain just how much productivity has changed with marketing. Marketing is one of the essentials of managing a business, and what better way to manage all your marketing essentials than with a conceptual workspace, i.e., convenience and productivity, i.e., smart technology, i.e., a smartphone. 

Please note that all the apps tested were with an Android, so comments on UI and UX are from an Android perspective. For Apple apps, we conducted thorough research of the app and studied case studies of people who have used it. Without further ado, let’s begin. 

Design: Canva

Canva is a graphic design, video, invite, and logo maker. As a versatile free graphic design app, you can make the perfect social media posts, logos, posters, business cards, and more. You can stay on board with their logo creator or logo designer for your business cards, posters, or social media posts. While the app itself is free, there is the benefit of having pro or enterprise options. 

Pricing

  • Free
    • 8,000 templates
    • 100+ design types
  • Pro: $9.95 per user, per month/ billed yearly
    • Everything the free plan has
    • Create your brand’s visual identity with logos, colors, and fonts in 1 Brand Kit. 
  • Enterprise: $30.00 per user, per month/ billed yearly
    • Everything the pro plan has
    • Multiple brand kits
    • Control what team members can see, access, and upload in Canva with brand controls

The Perks

The great thing about Canva is that you can hop in seamlessly anytime and from any device. From your phone to your computer, users don’t miss a beat with designing. We use Canva for our social media posts, and we love the versatility the app offers. Canva is available for both Android and Apple. 

The Disadvantages

Some would say that Canva is quite pricy but worth it. Some have also noted that the UI is a bit clunky with the Android, making it harder to navigate through the app. Overall, Canva is a great tool and is worth the money.

Bonus: We use Canva quite often. We also use other apps similar to Canva. Check out our blog post here if you are interested in seeing what other similar apps we use.

Social Media Manager: Buffer

Buffer is an app dedicated to managing and scheduling your social media posts. Buffer also lets you track your content on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

Having an app that schedules your posts is an absolute must-have. As much as we like to think we can multitask, we can’t. More often than not, our attention will be on more important matters that sometimes we might not even think to post on social media. Having an app that schedules your posts for you lets you focus on what you do best. 

Pricing

While the app itself is free to download, using the app is another story. Below is a list of Buffer’s current prices.

  • Pro: $15/monthly (Ideal for getting started)
    • Eight social accounts
    • 100 scheduled posts
    • One user
  • Premium: $65/ monthly (Ideal for growing brands)
    • Eight social accounts
    • 2,000 scheduled posts
    • Two users
  • Business: $ 99/monthly (Ideal for more substantial teams)
    • 25 social accounts 
    • 2,000 scheduled posts
    • Six users

The Perks

Buffer’s UI is quite simple, which makes it easy-to-use, and resharing posts is quite simple. The app is available for both Android and Apple.

The Disadvantages

One of the significant downsides is that there is a limit on file size when posting media, often making it difficult to schedule the posts. The other downside is that there are crashes to the app, making it hard to use.

Social Media: “The Works”

“The Works” is a cumulation of widely used social media apps. A vast majority of people use these apps to catch up with the latest trends.

“The Works” are: 

  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest

These are the must-have and most popular apps used to market brands. It is highly suggested that businesses/users use these apps. 

SEO: SEO Check

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. There are many great tools on the web to help conduct SEO, but not many mobile apps do the same. The mobile app that we find best to use for SEO is SEO Check.

This app allows you to quickly review and audit a website from an onsite SEO perspective. Additionally, the SEO check app analyzes all relevant criteria and gives tips for optimizing your website for sustainable SEO success. The app is also free. 

The Perks

The app gets the job done. With SEO Check’s suggestion, users can guarantee that their website scores increased over time. SEO Check provides excellent recommendations on wats to improve your website. The app is available for both Android and Apple.

The Disadvantages

The downside is that the app does not give steps on how to fix and avoid common mistakes; rather, the app is designed to provide suggestions to help improve SEO. SEO Check may not be a suitable app if you want to learn how to avoid common errors. 

Communication: AirSend

AirSend is an all-in-one communication tool designed for coordinating with team members and clients. Having a reliable team chat app is one of the essential requirements for marketing. The best part of all is that AirSend is a contextual workspace, meaning that we bring in all that you need into one space.

The Perks

AirSend is free. Additionally, AirSend offers native tools, such as task management, file share/organization, and knowledge sharing. Convenience and productivity have never been more accessible. AirSend is available for Android and Apple. 

The Disadvantages

Currently, AirSend does not offer video or audio calling. But having a shared knowledge space can allow you to post-meeting links. 

Hashtag Generator: Tagify (Android)/ Hashtag Expert (Apple)

The purpose of a hashtag generator is to generate the latest and most widely used hashtags. Hashtags are a neat and simple way to gain traction to posts. Sometimes, it is not easy coming up with hashtags which is why there are hashtag generators like Tagify and Hashtag Expert.

Pricing

Tagify is free.  Hashtag Expert offers in-app purchases and requires a subscription. 

The Perks: Tagify (Android)

Tagify is a useful app to find the best hashtags for your posts. The purpose of this app is to:

  • Let you search and find the most relevant hashtags 
  • Help increase the “likes” of your photos
  • Copy and paste the necessary hashtags. 

The Perks: Hashtag Expert (Apple)

Hashtag Expert has the same concept as Tagify, with a few additional features. Hashtag Expert offers personal tag analytics, which is a massive game-changer in the hashtag game. With a colorful UI display, users can find hashtags trending on Instagram, Tik Tok, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and LinkedIn. 

The Disadvantages: Tagify (Android)

The major downside to Tagify is that there are ads. The other negative is that while the hashtags are undoubtedly useful, there are not enough options. Further, the hashtags seem only helpful for Instagram. Finally, UX is a bit clunky to get through. 

The Disadvantages: Hashtag Expert (Apple)

Hashtag Expert roughly charges $50 for a yearly subscription. 

Email Tracking: Track- Email Tracking

One of the more essential tactics for marketing is email tracking/cold emailing. Cold emailing is a great way to spread the word about your brand, gain connections, and determine your market. It is also a great way to determine the market with cold emailing. Track offers email tracking and link tracking. 

Pricing

The app itself is free to download, but there is a premium subscription after a free trial. Premium is $19.99 monthly. 

The Perks

The app is easy to use, and it works amazingly well. The UI is user friendly, and having the analytics of tracked emails is pretty lovely. The app is available for Android and Apple. 

The Disadvantages

Some issues with the app are that there are some latency issues. There are times when the app freezes and shuts down, so you have to close out the app and open it up again. 

Marketing Analytics: Google Analytics

Plain and straightforward Google Analytics is the best marketing analytics tool out there. Having some sort of marketing analytics tool is an absolute requirement. Having a tool designed for analyzing successful content, the number of views, bounce rate users’ time of day are handy. Put simply, Google Analytics is a recipe for success. 

Pricing

Google Analytics is a freemium service. Meaning if you want more advanced features, you have to pay.

The Perks

1) Check key metrics in built-in reports

2) Compare date ranges and apply segments

3) Monitor real-time data

4) Build your reports with any combination of metrics, dimensions, and segments that you care about

5) Save any reports to your dashboard so you can quickly come back to them

Google Analytics is available for both Android and Apple. 

The Disadvantages

A few downsides to the app itself is that it takes some time to load the data on your screen. Some use cases have also claimed that the UI is “too busy,” which leaves it overwhelming. 

Blogging: WordPress

WordPress is a fantastic web/content publishing tool. With WordPress, you can also create/design websites, share ideas, and create posts and pages. Essentially the app is excellent for creating the content you love and marketing your brand. 

The Pricing

There is a four-tier pricing structure with WordPress. These are: 

  • Personal: $4 per month, billed annually (Best for Personal Use)
  • Premium: $8 per month, billed annually (Best for Freelancers) 
  • Business: $25 per month, billed annually (Best for Small Businesses)
  • eCommerce: $45 per month, billed annually (Best for Online Stores)

The Perks

One of the more significant selling points to WordPress is that the prices are unbelievably reasonable, and users get a lot of features for what they are paying. The other major perk is that the mobile app allows you to:

  • Post on the go
  • Check your stats
  • Look at your favorite sites
  • Push notifications
  • Jetpack integrations. 

WordPress is one of those apps that streamlines conceptual workspaces into one: convenience and productivity. The app is available for both Android and Apple. 

The Disadvantages

The not so great perk is that the app itself can be buggy sometimes- buggy in the sense that it takes several tries to upload an image. Also, formatting is a little tricky with the app. Because of these minor issues, it takes time to upload content through the mobile app itself.  

Research and Content Generator: Medium

Part of being in the marketing industry is understanding who your competitors are and what content they are producing. To do that, you need an app that gives you the latest content relative to your industry and comments from people who are also in that industry. If you haven’t guessed already, we are talking about Medium. 

Pricing: Subscription Based

There are two options for the price, but each plan has the same benefits. There is the $5/per month plan, and there is the $50/yearly subscription. As said before, each subscription offers the same benefits. It is just a matter of which subscription plan you prefer. 

The Perks

Medium is a great content generator tool. The latest content, opinions, and ideas are published consistently. Consumers also publish the majority of the content, so understanding the consumer mindset is a great way to understand the market. By following the market, businesses/users can get a sense of what type of content should be published and what solutions need to be addressed. 

Medium is available for both Android and Apple.

The Disadvantages

A not-so-great feature is that the web UI and mobile UI are different. While the functionality of seeing the latest content is available, the mobile UI makes it seem like users cannot see everything compared to the web UI. Because of the clustered UI, there is a lot of scrolling through the mobile app.

Summation

There are plenty of tools that are useful for conquering the marketing industry. We believe there is a set of base tools that are required to have effective and longterm performance. These tools are: 

  1. Design
  2. Social Media Manager
  3. Social Media: “The Works”
  4. SEO
  5. Communication 
  6. Hashtag Generator
  7. Email Tracking
  8. Marketing Analytics
  9. Blogging
  10. Research and Content generator

We also wanted to show that the concept of a conceptual workspace is taking off. The new method of streamlining productivity is the ability to work from any device and any location. Productivity also means convenience. To have convenience, users need ready-made tools that are accessible from any device. Productivity + convenience = conceptual workspace. 

AirSend is a versatile digital workspace to share files, send messages, and complete tasks. See how AirSend can help you.

Source: unDraw

In many ways, the real estate industry is stuck in the stone ages and just beginning to break free of tradition. Cold calling, open houses, yard signs… things all realtors are familiar with. It doesn’t help that big firms like Keller Williams and Berkshire Hathaway make it their goal to recruit and churn out as many realtors as possible. All of these new recruits are put through the same cookie-cutter training program that teaches everyone to do the same things, use the same tools, even speak the same way (ever heard of scripts?).

The result is an industry filled with competition and lacking in innovation. A real red ocean.

So how, as realtors, do we stand out from the army of clones?

There are many answers to this question, but the one we are going to focus on in this article is technology. Specifically, how some new communication tools available can differentiate us from the majority of realtors out there who are still stuck in the 90’s.

The Old

Source: unDraw

Before we jump into some of the new, exciting stuff out there – let’s talk about the status quo: email, text, and phone calls. That’s it. Literally — while other industries expand their horizons through digital workspaces, robots, and artificial intelligence — we’re still stuck with email, text, and phone calls.

Well, why rock the boat if it works, you might ask?

And you’d be right. If it works, it works. The problem is that it’s not working anymore. Even though coronavirus restrictions have been lifted in many places, society has a long way to go from returning to times when open houses were packed with people eating cookies from open platters and closings ended with happy hand shakes. The world has changed, and we must change along with it if we want to survive.

The problem with email: it’s slow, blind, and frustrating. Have you ever waited, and waited, for a client to open an urgent email to the point where you send them a text asking them to check their email? Have you ever wondered if maybe they already checked it, but just haven’t responded? Then you think… well what does that mean? Do they still want to buy the house? Are they backing out? Additionally, there’s the frustration of attaching files – especially large ones like home tour videos and photos. 10 minutes… still loading… 20 minutes… still loading…30 minutes… Doesn’t it make you want to rip your hair out? (Or is that just me?)

And texting and phone calls are great when you can meet face-to-face. You use them primarly to schedule appointments where you can then develop rapport through handshakes and smiles. But what if you can no longer meet people in person? Then what?

The New

There are many amazing new communcation tools for realtors now that solve many of the problems presented by the old trio of emails, texts, and phone calls. I’m going to talk about my two favorite ones — AirSend and Zoom.

AirSend – the simple communication tool for realtors

AirSend is an all-in-one remote work tool that you can use to send messages, share and organize large files (like home tour videos and photos), write and keep notes, and track tasks. Its comprehensive capabilities make it the ultimate communication power tool. Plus things like read receipts, Office 365 integration, email integration, and unlimited channel creation give it a leg up on options like Slack and Microsoft Teams when it comes to working with clients.  

Zoom – the best way to meet without meeting

Considered the standard way to video conference by most people, Zoom has taken great strides to becoming safe and even more user-friendly after security issues were unveiled. Using Zoom as a realtor helps us meet people face-to-face without actually meeting in person when not necessary. This is safer, more convenient, saves on gas money, and is much better than just texting or talking on the phone because you can actually see the other person, and they can see you.

Stepping into the Future

While a realtor’s job will most likely always include some amount of in-person meetings and showings, technology can help us cut down on the frustration and hassle of only using email, text, and phone calls. It can also help differentiate us from our ever increasing competition. So what are you waiting for? Give these new communication tools for realtors a try.

Source: unDraw

A multi-billion dollar company. A winning presidential campaign. A happy marriage. What do these three things have in common? The foundation of success in each is effective communication.

Effective communication has the power to amass riches and make history. With it, governments have been transformed, along with the lives of billions of people. With it, enterprises like Amazon, Apple, and Alibaba rise from obscurity.

It’s no wonder that all successful businesses need strong communication infrastructures in order to grow and prosper. But that’s not what this article is about. The topic of communication is so vast that you can get a Ph.D. in it. This article would have to be a book, maybe three, to properly cover the topic.

What this article focuses on is a single concept that, if grasped, can give your organization a big push in the right direction towards effective communication in a digital work environment. The concept is this:

Chat is like a river; Wiki is like a dam.

River? Dam?

Source: unDraw

A while ago, we published an article that dives into synchronous and asynchronous communication. Synchronous communication is communication that happens in real time. It’s a company meeting on Zoom or an active chat room. Asynchronous communication is communication that happens… not in real time. It’s that email you send to a client which you know you won’t get a response to until weeks later, or notes on that Zoom company meeting posted to an online bulletin. Both are important because different types of information do best in different formats.

Synchronous communication is fast, immediate, brief. Information flows like a river — as it does in a chat. This format is best for times of uncertainty and/or urgency. It’s good for exploring ideas together, having discussions to make decisions, and addressing crisis situations.

Asynchronous communication is slower, usually more considered and voluminous. Information gathers like a dam — as it does in a Wiki. This format is best for adding context to real time communication after it has happened, putting together detailed information, and explaining complex concepts.

When used properly, synchronous and asynchronous communication together form effective communication.

Increasing Effective Communication in Your Organization

Source: unDraw

When synchronous and asynchronous communication are used appropriately in an organization, communication is at its best and collaboration is smooth and easy. In a digital work environment, some of the most common modes of communication are chat and Wiki. As mentioned before, chat facilitates synchronous communication and a Wiki facilitates asynchronous communication.

Increasing effective communication in your organization is as simple as having both chat and a Wiki available to everyone and then making it clear which medium to use for each type of interaction. In other words, the roadmap to achieving effective communication in a digital work environment is:

  1. Provide the right tools – Have chat and a Wiki available to all team members and get everyone accustomed to using them.
  2. Ensure the tools are used correctly – Do this by training management on the concept of synchronous and asynchronous communication (or “Chat is like a river; Wiki is like a dam.”) and have them lead by example so the rest of your organization follows.

Chat and Wiki in AirSend

In AirSend, each channel has both a chat section and a Wiki section. The chat is great for quickly discussing new developments, exchanging links to articles or tidbits of information, and scheduling calls for further discussion. The Wiki is great for storing, sharing, and collaborating on more detailed, complex items.

Having the chat and Wiki together in one place makes communication much smoother and more efficient than the previous model of emailing back and forth with document links or attachments.

Finding Balance

Effective communication is powerful, and one of the key factors of communicating effectively in a digital environment is finding the balance between synchronous and asynchronous communication. When used together correctly, chat and Wiki can streamline the communication process for clutter-free collaboration, resulting in increased productivity.

Just remember: Chat is like a river; Wiki is like a dam.

Source: unDraw

Remote work has become a reality for many and may become a permanent fixture at some companies, like Twitter. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey recently gave employees the choice to continue to work from home even after COVID-19 lockdowns are lifted.

But even before the pandemic, working remotely was a rising trend. In CloudApp’s State of Collaboration report, they discovered that around 50% of people work from home at least one day a week, and 25% of people work from home at least two to three days a week.

There are two major drivers behind this shift. The first is that working remotely is good for business. It increases worker productivity, cuts down on costs (an average of $10,000 on real estate expenses), and improves retention rates. The second is that the new workforce wants to work from home — especially after coronavirus restrictions provided a taste of remote work life.

As remote work becomes the new norm, the focus sharpens on making working from home streamlined, productive, and easy. How do you keep in touch, stay organized, and share files quickly when everyone is in a different place and possibly even different time zones?

The answer is multifaceted. A successful remote working team must have the right people and the right tools.

The Right People for Remote Working

Source: unDraw

Working remotely isn’t for everyone. Some thrive in a situation with more freedom, and some don’t. A good remote worker has some basic characteristics: self-discipline, strong communication skills, remote work experience, and tech savviness.

Self-discipline

Unlike in a structured office environment, the home is full of distractions and temptations. Everything is just a short walk away – the bed, the refrigerator, the TV. A successful remote worker must have the self-discipline to stay focused on work or things won’t get done.

Strong Communication Skills

Working with a geographically distributed team means that effective communication is more important than ever. Strong communication skills prevent confusion and redundancy to maximize productivity.

Remote Work Experience

One way to increase the chances of finding a good fit for a remote working situation is to choose someone with prior experience. Someone with experience will already have a routine in place that works for them, reducing the steepness of the remote work learning curve.

Tech Savviness

Technology is what makes remote work possible, so it’s essential that a remote worker understands how to use tools like Zoom or G-Suite. A good remote worker either already knows how to use common remote work technology or is able to learn things quickly.

The Right Tools for Remote Working

Speaking of tech savviness, the second necessity of a successful remote working team is the right tools. There are many options out there, some better than others. The remainder of this article will introduce some crowd favorites for remote work.‍

AirSend

AirSend is an all-in-one remote work tool that you can use to send messages, share and organize files, collaborate on documents, and track tasks. It’s comprehensive capabilities make it the ultimate power tool for remote working. Compared to Slack, the other popular option, AirSend shines because of its read receipts, Office 365 integration, and ability to easily create workspaces for as many parties (teams, clients, friends etc.) as you want with no additional cost or hassle.

Zoom

After security issues were unveiled, Zoom has taken steps to make its video conferencing product safer to use and remains the top choice for many when it comes to face-to-face video conferencing and screen sharing. Friends use it to host game nights where they play Jackbox games, and workplaces use it for everything from company-wide meetings to customer demos.‍‍

Trello

Created to provide a user-friendly, Kanban-style way of managing tasks and projects, Trello is a pleasure to use. The ability to make interactive to-do lists with boards and cards that you can easily drag-and-drop is invaluable when working with a distributed team. Trello is used to manage projects, teams, and businesses of all types and sizes.

G-Suite

G-Suite includes Gmail, Google docs, Google sheets, and a whole host of other products that work seamlessly with one another. Great for collaboration because of its easy sharing and permissions, putting a team on G-Suite can cut down on a lot of unecessary cost and hassle.

The Future of Remote Work

Source: unDraw

Although restrictions due to COVID-19 have accelerated the shift, an increasingly distributed workforce has always been the natural conclusion of technological progress and new business and worker mindsets.

As remote work becomes the new norm, new theories and research will arise on how to successfully make and manage a remote working team. However, the basis of these theories will always be about the people and the tools they use. With the right people and the right tools, a remote working team can find success in any environment.

We are back with another blog post on Discord vs. AirSend Design Edition. We recently wrote about Discord vs. AirSend Community Edition, which you can read about by clicking here. In this blog post, we are going to get a little bit technical on UI and UX capability on both community platforms. After all, when choosing the ideal chat/group software, two of the most important decision factors are UI and UX. 

Without further ado, let’s talk Discord vs. AirSend: Design Edition.

UI Design

UI is the design and visual appeal of a product, basically the user interface. Additionally, UI is used for branding, planning/creating product layouts (wireframes), typography, and visual design. You know when people say, “appearance is everything,” or “first impressions are the most important”? Well, it’s true. When deciding on a product to use, the first thing we notice is visual design. What and where are the layouts, the color chosen, the font, size, and color of texts, and even graphics.

More often than not, when a product does not catch our eye, we are less inclined to use it. Now that we have given an idea of what UI design is like, let’s take a look at Discord and AirSend.

Discord

Based on the first appearance, we can see that Discord’s UI is incredibly busy looking. On the right-hand panel, you can see a list of the members, moderators, patrons, and creators of the server, all in different colors.

Alternatively, on the far left side of the panel, there is a list of servers. Next to the panel of servers is another panel; which are the customized channels created for the specified server. There are also voice channels. In the middle is the conversation space. 

The great thing about Discord’s UI is that it is organized. However, having the layout super organized, leaves the product to feel and look a bit overwhelming to some users.

Additionally, servers that have a lot of channels with an amazing amount of notifications to them can appear exhausting to look at or even exhausting to check.

Finally, with servers that have over 200+ members, the conversation medium can appear daunting. This is especially true when you have multiple people chatting simultaneously on several channels. 

AirSend

With AirSend’s UI design, users can immediately see that it is a cleaner look. There is not so much clutter compared to Discord. Instead of showing members on the right-side panel like Discord, AirSend has built-in functions. These functions are Actions, Files, and Wiki. We will explain those features in the UX section of this blog. On the left side panel, are channels. In the center is the conversation space.

Remember that the basic layout of Discord is the server, channels, and conversation space. AirSend eliminates the complexity that Discord presents by creating a simplistic layout. Instead of having three steps to getting to the conversation space, AirSend has two. Channel to conversation space. Having a simplistic UI allows for increased focus. 

Think about it. With AirSend, users can easily shift their focus from one context to another. The context representing the channels. With Discord, most users have a harder time focusing because for one the UI is busy, and secondly, it takes quite a few clicks to get to the designated conversation space. 

While both platforms are arguably designed for productivity, it all really comes down to what design you look for that can guarantee maximized productivity. Let’s get into usability.

UX Capabilities

UX short for user experience is a person’s emotions and attitudes about using a particular product or service. A person’s emotions and attitudes are influenced by the functionalities and capabilities of a product or service. Hence a cycle of user experience. It is also important to note that there are some attributes that make UX a success. Those are:

  • Valuable
  • Usable
  • Useful
  • Findable
  • Credible
  • Desirable
  • Accessible 

Usually having a product that carries these attributes are what defines a product successful. Let’s get into the comparison

Discord

Let’s get to the bottom line of Discord’s UX.  With Discord, you can, 

  • Pin messages
  • Hide members list
  • Tagging 
  • Mute notifications
  • Create invites if the creator of the server gave permission
  • Assign roles to everyone in the channel 
  • Create bots

In summation, Discord has a lot of capabilities and functions. Discord is ideally targeted to the gaming community, so having a complex design with access to code, create bots, assign roles, etc, is really helpful. But sometimes not all features are findable. I use Discord quite often, and until recently, I had no idea you could organize your servers with other servers.

As far as the desirable aspect, there are some things I personally still desire. Like, read receipts. Discord has no read receipts, so you don’t know when a community member, or a coworker, reads your message. Discord is definitely useful to a certain extent. The gaming extent. As far as usability, Discord can appear overwhelming at times, and still finding out new features after three years of using the software can be surprising. 

AirSend

So the golden egg with AirSend is that everything is located in one space. AirSend lets you seamlessly switch between channels, with a ready mind to focus. You can assign tasks to anyone who is in the channel, easily switch to organizing files, and working with others to creating a collaborative shared workspace.

There is also a public link feature for creating intimate groups of shared interests. Finally, there are customizable features to AirSend, such as uploading a channel background (great for branding) and uploading a channel logo. 

Results

AirSend and Discord are both wonderful products. AirSend exceeds Discord in terms of productivity. Discord exceeds AirSend in terms of community.

But, the bottom line is that UI and UX go hand-in-hand. Yes, there are specific attributes that make UI and UX  succeed in their own way, but without having the other element, it will become difficult for the product to succeed. 

Source: unDraw

We hope you’re doing well and staying safe. Over the past few weeks, the AirSend team has been working hard and is excited to share with you our most recent improvements!

Desktop Apps

We now have AirSend desktop apps for all platforms (Windows, Mac, and Linux).

You can now download our new desktop apps to work with Airsend on your computer with even more convenience.

New & Improved Wiki

The Wiki is now a fully functional, portable notebook. Create multiple notes to keep important information and collaborate with others. And make folders to organize your notes so you can find things with ease.

Also, the Wiki is now editable on both Android and iOS apps.

Public Channels

You can now create your own online groups using AirSend’s Public Channels. You can also explore and join groups that other AirSenders have created to:

  • Meet new friends
  • Interact with people with similar interests
  • Ask questions to professionals

To find your group, click here or check out the ones below.

At Home Cooking

Welcome to the group designed for inspiring home cooks, share at home recipes, tips, tricks, and more.

Join this group >>>

At Home Fitness

All things related to fitness, exercise and wellness at home.

Join this group >>> 

Founders & Marketers Club

A group for startup founders and marketers to connect.

Join this group >>> 

iOS App Native Share

iOS app users can now share links directly from your web browser into AirSend Channels.

What’s Next?

We’re ecstatic about the progress we’ve made, but our journey is far from over. Stay tuned for our next update where we will reveal more improvements.

If you haven’t signed up for AirSend yet – sign up now for free lifetime access to AirSend Pro. Or if you have anything you’d like to share about your AirSend experience so far, please fill out this quick survey to help us make AirSend even better for you.

One of our goals with AirSend is to deliver the ideal team chat tool. A tool that can be used to communicate with team members as well as outside clients. That being said, we know we still have plenty of work left to do. To further develop an excellent product, it requires feedback. Our solution: a team chats app survey. What better way to develop a product than by the voice of the people? 

We thought that by creating a survey on team chat apps, we would hear the most honest feedback of what people look for in a team chat app. We received some very fascinating feedback, and we want to share them with you. Please note that this survey does not pertain to AirSend or the company in any manner.  Additionally, we think it will be more exciting if we release the results to each question every week. Without further ado, let’s dive in with a bang and show the most impressive results.

Question Two: What do you look for in a Team Chat App?

Capture from Survey

As you can see from the results having a team chat app that is easy-to-use with a 58.33% vote takes the lead. After that comes, 

  • Collaboration/All the Above: 54.17%
  • Organization: 41.67%
  • Security: 37.50%
  • Design: 33.33%
  • Customization: 29.17%
  • Community: 20.83%

Hypothesis

Based on the results listed above, it can easily be concluded that the vast majority look for an easy-to-use team chat. From the graph above, we can speculate that most people look for a team chat app that is clutter-free, with the right amount of UI. Having this outlook will help users get work done faster. In essence, team chats that people love to use should also be easy-to-use.

As I’m sure you are already aware, we preach that AirSend is a simple and easy-to-use communication platform. So, seeing these results made us thrilled. As previously mentioned in other blog posts, we want to create a versatile uncomplicated team chat tool. A tool that doesn’t require over 500+ integrations, multiple accounts, and confusing UI’s and UX. 

We believe that with AirSend’s clean and simplistic UI design, the usability of the product will be effortless. We offer all the built-in tools required to help get work done faster, such as task management, a shared workspace (a.k.a.the wiki), and premium file storage. 

Did you know that we are offering AirSend Pro free for one year if you sign up before May 15?

Finally, we want to conclude that we use AirSend for our marketing teams. Even though AirSend is our product, we sincerely believe that AirSend can help your organization, too. Give us a try and let us know what you think!

AirSend is a versatile digital workspace to share files, send messages, and complete tasks. See how AirSend can help you.

Source: unDraw

Great! You’re starting a small business or looking to upgrade your existing small business by incorporating some better technology. But with all of the tech products and services out there, where do you even begin? Those of us who have tried and failed and tried again know that it can be tough trying to find the right mix of tech products and services. That’s why we’ve written this must-have IT systems plan for small businesses so that you can feel more comfortable putting together something that works well for you.

What is your budget?

The first step of the process is to figure out your budget. Different tech products and services charge in different ways. Some make you pay upfront for an entire year. Others automatically charge your credit card or bank account at the beginning of every month. Because of these differences, it’s best to come up with an overall annual budget and then multiply the monthly charges by 12 when calculating whether or not you can afford something.

The four categories of technology for your business

No matter what type of business you’re running, tech tools usually fall into one or more of the following categories:

  • Communication
  • Knowledge Sharing
  • File Storage and Management
  • Line of Business Apps

And you will usually need to have at least one tech tool in your set-up to cover each of the four categories. The rest of this post will explore what functions these categories fulfill and some popular apps for each.

Communication

Source: unDraw

All businesses need a way to communicate with others, and most have several. This category includes email, text messaging, chat apps, and more comprehensive platforms like AirSend or Slack which include chat but also contain other capabilities.

Here are some popular tech products and services in this category:

Gmail

Gmail is pretty standard for email and has good spam protection and features like smart compose to make your life easier.

Zoom

Like Gmail is standard for email, Zoom has become the standard for video conferencing. The free version of Zoom lets you have calls up to 40 minutes long, which is more than enough for most meetings.

AirSend

For team chat, use AirSend. It’s better than Slack because of the read reciepts. You can also easily create different channels to work with external teams.

Olark

Olark allows you to run live chat windows on your website. It’s easy to use and has good support.

Knowledge Sharing

Source: unDraw

Knowledge sharing tech tools refer to tools that you use to store and share business information. This information can be company documentation, weekly to quarterly reports, or even to-do lists.

Here are our favorite apps for knowledge sharing:

Trello

Trello is great for task management. The UI is smooth, and the UX is satisfying. AirSend also provides task management, so if you don’t want to minimize the amount of apps in your set-up you can just use AirSend.

BookStack

Using BookStack for internal company documentation and hosting it yourself can be much cheaper than using other Wiki tools like Confluence.

Discourse

This lets you self-host a private, online forum where you and your team can post reports and updates. (We’ve also used it to collect entries and entry votes for our company Olympics where we made themed GIFs to win prizes.)

File Storage and Management

Source: unDraw

FileCloud

FileCloud is a secure file repository where you can store and organize files. It’s a very powerful file management tool that has a drive client and sync capabilities.

Dropbox / G-Drive

Dropbox and G-Drive are pretty easy-to-use and other popular solutions for file storage and management.

Line of Business Apps

Source: unDraw

Line of business apps are everything else that doesn’t fall into the first three categories and are usually specific to your industry.

For example, a line of business app for realtors would be the MLS. For lawyers, it might be Practice Panther – an app that helps lawyers create templates for various law documentation.

We’re not going to recommend anything specific here because it really depends on what type of business you own, but an easy way to find line of business apps is to Google “best apps for…” and insert your profession.

Ready to make an IT plan for your business?

After reading this post, you should feel more prepared to make a minimal IT plan for your small business. Just determine your tech budget, take note of the four categories, and choose the apps that work for you in those categories. Our recommendations can help you do that.

If you need more guidance and want to see how we set-up our tech as a small marketing team, go here to read “Apps We Use to Run Our Distributed Marketing Team.”

Good luck!

The AirSend Team