Slack is out today with a number of updates to the service but the bigger news is that the company is testing a new Asynchronous video feature that could be a valuable addition. The feature is like a mix of Snapchat or Instagram-style stories with Marco Polo. There’s also a new “always-available audio” feature in the works.

Slack detailed the news in a press release and blog post today titled “Exploring better ways to work” along with videos (see below) showcasing its new ideas:

We’re more than seven months into the global shift to remote work and it’s clear there is much more we can do to improve the way we work together in this new world. For starters, we know there are better ways to collaborate than simply falling into the copy-paste trap of moving physical behaviors to the digital world—back-to-back video conferences all day, every day are a uniquely exhausting way to work. On the other hand, people miss the unplanned, spontaneous interactions in the office that helped us stay aligned, make quick decisions and spark new ideas.

While still in the prototype stage, here’s how Slack describes its new video feature:

Asynchronous video to help people collaborate on their own time instead of at the same time

Let’s take what we love about video—seeing faces and places—and separate it from the constant pressure of video conferences and packed meeting schedules to help us stay aligned with teammates.

Imagine the daily standup meeting that happens from 9 to 9:15 every morning. What if you could record your update at 8:53 a.m. and watch the others at 10:51 when it’s more convenient for you? This gives people the information and updates they need, with a measure of flexibility that is usually missing in today’s setup.

Here’s what it looks like:

Another interesting new feature in testing lets Slack users connect quickly via audio:

Lightweight, always-available audio that allows for ad-hoc connections when you need a quick answer or more eyes on a problem

As you’ve probably already experienced, channels are the perfect place to kick off a conversation with the right people because everyone is already there—sharing updates, files and starting workflows.

Imagine if you could talk live with whoever is available on your team—not scheduled, but totally spontaneous, like sticking your head into an office to get an answer, or starting a hallway conversation that turns into a brainstorm. An audio option in channels is another way we’re thinking that we can bring back that all-important creative flow, no matter where you work.

Slack hasn’t announced release dates for the new video and audio features but the following updates are now live:

  • Collaborate securely with everyone
    • Slack Connect DMs
      • Easily collaborate with any external partner on Slack; simply send an invitation to a trusted collaborator and begin direct messaging once they accept
    • Verified Organizations
      • Verified companies will be denoted with a checkmark for peace of mind that your organization is connecting to trusted partners
    • Managed Connections
      • Admins can pre-approve channel requests with trusted organizations, streamlining the approvals process and removing overhead for admins
  • Bring key events & information right to your team
    • Workflow Builder: Steps from Apps
      • Build workflows that integrate tools and apps outside of Slack using a visual tool and without using code
    • Socket Mode
      • Build secure, interactive apps behind your organization’s firewall
    • Org-Wide App Deployment
      • Deploy apps across some or all of your organization, giving instant access to essential tools in Slack
    • Enterprise-Ready App Certification
      • Paid certification program for App Directory apps to distinguish themselves as enterprise-ready, meeting requirements across security, policy, support and user experience
  • A Slack sneak peek*
    • Feel connected while physically apart
      • Slack is prototyping ways to quickly sync with the team by sharing and following asynchronous video updates in channel
    • Collaborate without a schedule
      • Slack is exploring audio-only ways to collaborate in real-time, in channel, with your team while avoiding live video conferencing burnout
      • *Note: These are not currently on our product roadmap; they are simply concepts that offer a glimpse into our thinking to help find alternatives to processes that today are synchronous in nature

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.


Check out 9to5Mac on YouTube for more Apple news:

You’re reading 9to5Mac — experts who break news about Apple and its surrounding ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow 9to5Mac on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel

About the Author