When the car becomes the chassis

|March 14, 2017 0
Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at freedigitalphotos.net
Is it too early for a Chat OS to arrive or is it about time for the desktop-mobile boundary to get even more blurred?

Pratima H

INDIA: It used to be all about whether it is a V8, a V12, a 458, a 488, a flat one with horizontal cylinders or a turbo-charged one; but now the conversations in Mo-towns are about hybrid engines, MGU-H, MGU-K, electric-versions and the likes. Who knows if even this phase is also going to combust soon?

The world is changing laps at a full tilt and soon what would matter about a car is not the number of cylinders or the wood finish inside it but what it can turn into and how fast. Hover-crafts, self-driving vessels, and may be a world of my Optimus vs. your Megatron.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

What Hasbro built as toys could soon be a new comparison-point for actual cars. The lines between cars and transformers are getting blurred. Like the ones between chat apps and chat-species.

It’s no longer enough that you drive in a car. It’s no longer extraordinary that you can chat with colleagues in an app. The question and appetite is moving to – What more?

Let’s chat with Ninad Raval, Director of Product and Design, Flock to get precisely into that ‘more’.  Specially after the folks behind the team messenger, a collaboration app meant for communication and productivity that is being used at Whirlpool, Yepme, Voonik, Accenture already are changing its skin into a chat operating system (and a world’s first at that, from what they claim). Of course, we are tempted to ask – is it time to press the ‘future’ button? And why?

Tell us about the uniqueness and relevance of this OS in chat/app space? What disruptions or way-forward can we expect from here on?

We believe an efficient OS mechanism can offer any messaging app a significant advantage over its competition. Right on top of messaging-as-a-platform, allowing one an integration layer to connect or build your own tools, is invaluable from an automation standpoint.

Recently, we launched World’s First Chat Operating System with FlockOS. An ultra-powerful platform which enables developers to build apps, bots and integrations on top of Flock. While Flock provides the team messaging backbone, FlockOS transforms it into an ecosystem of workplace apps with Flock at the center. These apps built using FlockOS can help users complete frequent tasks like setting to-dos, scheduling meetings, conducting opinion polls, reviewing performance dashboards and much more – all from within Flock.

Does that mean that Chat-OS wars likely to dominate the scene in the next few years as some industry watchers predict?

It is quite early to make any predictions on ChatOS. Anyways, competition is good for innovation. As a result, the users gain and also, such competitions trigger multiple approaches for better innovations.

Can an OS sort out some endemic issues that most chat apps face currently: fragmentation, un-seamless experiences, walled gardens, noise, security, Shadow IT etc.?

Any Chat OS by itself can’t solve many of these issues. That said, technology advancements are driving massive improvements in all of these areas. Security, for instance, is largely in the technology provider’s control owing to these products being cloud-based.

Is it something that is inclined towards the Android, .NET, Symbian side or the Windows, Linux side – Would it be something for users or developers or both?

Our FlockOS is platform-agnostic – so it is not inclined towards any single platform from the ones mentioned above. In fact, it allows the developer to use the languages/a stack of his own choice, while the apps can be accessed by every Flock user.

Initially, the impact of a Chat OS like FlockOS would be more centered on the developers as they get to build apps, which are much more powerful than the average ones. However, as more apps are developed – the advantages of the ChatOS would naturally translate to a better overall experience for the users.

Can an OS be a defining force for the strong move towards Bots that we are witnessing in chat space?

Yes, chat operating systems will definitely result in a strong push towards bot adoption. With bots being an integral part of user-app interaction in team messengers, it is reasonable to assume that the rise of chat OSs will result in increased and more relevant adoption of bots.

Can discoverability, analytics and collaboration be achieved better with an OS?

FlockOS in particular, supports discoverability through URL-based app discovery and app discovery prompts. These options allow users to discover apps, which are relevant to their needs or ones which many of their team members find useful, making it a win-win situation for both users and developers. Chat Operating systems will also help boost collaboration by seamlessly integrating multiple workplace apps and activities with the core team messaging product.

Ninad Raval, Flock

Ninad Raval, Flock

Anything in the area of external integrations, better UI, more-enterprise-readiness, APIs, uptime, reliability, desktop-mobile-boundary-dilution etc.?

We believe that external integrations are one of the key advantages of a chat OS. Such integrations allow the required flexibility to the users. Our users can easily integrate a fully fledged app from Flock App Store, with the team messaging software, or even get notifications from a custom-built internal tool. This allows typical workplace activities to draw from the benefits of a team messaging/chat system and hence, it evolves as the central advantages of a Chat OS.

Moreover, our FlockOS uses widgets, which are capable of displaying rich HTML, making the overall experience as good as that in a fully interactive website. Also, the possibility of integrating multiple apps with Flock does make it a very relevant tool for most enterprises. However, as with most new technologies, we should not forget the start-ups and new-age firms as they are the ones who could accelerate the adoption.

The desktop-mobile boundary will be blurred even more with chat operating systems. In Flock, the introduction of widgets allows apps to operate seamlessly across devices. So you could assign a team-member a To-do from your desktop, which he could mark complete even from his mobile device.

What is the most exciting goal or potential of this OS as you see it in context to the imminent shape of the industry?

In the present scenario, most chat apps do not do much to blend other functionalities with the core chat app. With chat operating systems – specifically FlockOS – it is easier to blend multiple workplace activities with the team messenger, helping rethink how work gets done, and in turn boosting productivity immensely.

How?

For example, you could use a meeting scheduler app to set up a meeting with your entire team. Since all the team members are there on a group on Flock, you could invite everyone at once without manually adding any individual team members to the meeting. The app pushes all users to confirm a meeting time, sends invites and reminders, and could even share a meeting transcript with the entire team after the discussion is done.

These examples are barely scratching the surface of what is possible with a ChatOS. We expect there to be a plethora of apps which address several productivity issues observed in typical workplaces.