Microsoft launches meeting app Invite for iPhone, coming soon to Android and Windows Phone

Microsoft today launched a new standalone app for scheduling meetings called Invite. Available only for iPhone users in the U.S. and Canada for now, you can download Invite now directly from Apple’s App Store.

Here is how it works. First you suggest times that work for you, and then invite attendees to vote. You can send invites to anyone with an email address — even if they are outside your organization. The recipients select all the times they can attend from the app itself or from a browser, once votes are in, you pick the time that works best.

The best part is that anyone invited can see what options work best for other attendees, and suggest their own times as well. The sender chooses a final date and time whenever they’re ready, hitting Send Calendar Invites to get it on everyone’s calendars.

Here is how Microsoft explains its thinking behind the app:

Invite is designed to overcome the biggest obstacle when scheduling meetings — not being able to see the calendars of attendees outside your organization. As a result, your proposed meeting can be repeatedly declined until you find a time that works.

From VentureBeat

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Certain events and meetings can be moved if something more important comes up, but only each person knows best where they are flexible. By letting attendees pick times that work for them, even when it means moving one of their own meetings, can stop that meeting from being scheduled on a Friday evening.

Invite is mainly designed for users with Office 365 business and school accounts. That said, the app also works with any email account, including Outlook.com, Gmail, and Yahoo Mail.

The app’s launch and limitations are very similar to Microsoft’s Send, a lightweight email app that debuted in July. Like Send, Invite is starting out as iPhone-only, available only in two countries, and with the promise of “coming soon” to Android and Windows Phone.

Invite is the latest in a long line of apps to emerge from Microsoft Garage, the software giant’s lab for experimental tinkering. At this rate, Microsoft will soon have more experimental apps than “final” apps.

And that’s okay, as long as some of them are eventually released or integrated into existing products.

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Google Offers Cheaper Version of Cloud Services to Run Low Priority Jobs

Some departments in your company do not need cloud computing resources to carry high-performance tasks, right? Because Google has just formatted a service plan for such demands. Google launched Preemptible Virtual Machine, a new cloud service that allows to use computing resources at low costs. The offer is suitable for workloads with low priority and can, therefore, be interrupted.

The search giant introduced a new cloud platform that cost 70% less than the same default setting in Compute Engine. The Preemptible Virtual Machine can do well cheap, about $ 0.01 per instance/hour. The most affordable VM charges per hour can range anywhere between $ 0.03 per hour, up to $ 0.11 per hour or more. The problem is that the VMs may stop working when you need it or face peak periods.

The company argues, however, that the offer (in beta) serves very well the various computational tasks. The company cites, for example, some critical workflows that can be distributed among multiple virtual machines. However, it would be a bad idea to adopt the approach to process analysis, modeling, and simulations that require high computing power and instant answers.

To provide the service, Google will use the free capacity in its data center. At times when there is a peak in demand and Google needs more resources, virtual machines involved in Preemptible Compute Engine VMs are recalled and interrupts the current processing. Users receive a notice period of 30 seconds, which should be enough to save your work. Google said No Preemptible VM can run for more than 24 hours straight.

According to the Google post, “all machine types are charged a minimum of 10 minutes. For example, if you run your instance for 2 minutes, you will be billed for 10 minutes of usage. After 10 minutes, instances are charged in 1 minute increments, rounded up to the nearest minute. For example, an instance that lives for 11.25 minutes will be charged for 12 minutes of usage.”

According to Google, there are many that utilize cloud scalability and pricing model to calculate relatively intensive, but short-term assignments. It includes the coding of video, reproduction of visual effects and calculations based on large amounts of information, such as in data analysis, simulation, and genomics.

The solution is quite similar to that of Spot Instances offered by Amazon Web Services (AWS). The model of AWS differs in price. Google has a fixed cost while the competitor price varies according to demand.

The market leader AWS routinely cuts their cloud pricing. The company is facing tough competition with Google and Microsoft to maintain its lead in cloud computing and tries to woo more developers to come to its solutions with lower prices, more hardware offerings and more advanced technologies. Microsoft, on the other hand, progressed enough to be a serious threat to Amazon’s dominance in the market.

Related Articles:

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  • Google Unlocks Competition to Amazon with Compute Engine
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Bring your company’s ‘dark data’ to light with this free new tool from Tamr

All the analytics tools in the world won’t do a company much good if it doesn’t know what data it has to analyze. Tamr offers a free, downloadable tool designed to help tackle that “dark data” problem.

Dark data generally refers to all the information an organization collects, processes and stores but doesn’t use for analytics or other purposes. It’s often unstructured or qualitative data that’s harder to keep track of than numerical data is, and by research firm IDC’s reckoning, it can account for as much as 90 percent of an organization’s information assets.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


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Bring your company’s ‘dark data’ to light with this free new tool from Tamr

All the analytics tools in the world won’t do a company much good if it doesn’t know what data it has to analyze. Tamr offers a free, downloadable tool designed to help tackle that “dark data” problem.

Dark data generally refers to all the information an organization collects, processes and stores but doesn’t use for analytics or other purposes. It’s often unstructured or qualitative data that’s harder to keep track of than numerical data is, and by research firm IDC’s reckoning, it can account for as much as 90 percent of an organization’s information assets.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


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IBM opens San Francisco office for Watson developer cloud

IBM has opened a new office in San Francisco to channel further growth in its supercomputing business as it claims 77,000 developers across the world are using its Watson Developer Cloud to pilot, test and deploy new business ideas.

The San Francisco office will open in 2016 to give local start ups access to Watson technology for their software projects. The facility will include resources dedicated to IBM’s new Spark processing technology as the vendor seeks to get Spark users interested in Watson, it said. IBM claims 100 companies have released software services based on Watson.

With a reported $ 100 million of venture capital fund earmarked for startups looking to build products on Watson, IBM now plans to offer its nascent partners technical support and consultancy on business plans, in addition to market making initiatives that include introductions to potential customers.

In September IBM opened a new Watson Health business centre in the Boston area to target the health sector and pharmaceutical industry. The new cloud initiative comes in the wake of reports of declining revenues in 13 consecutive quarters, while the app economy is ‘in full swing’, as IBM described it, with industry revenue projected to grow to $ 143 billion in 2016, according to analyst IDC. By 2018 half of all consumers will interact with services based on cognitive computing on a regular basis, according to the analyst.

IBM also announced a new expanded portfolio of application programming interfaces into Watson, bring the net total to 50. IBM’s cloud development partners have created systems for query support for card payments, customer support Q&As for financial services, live event media aggregation ‘as a service’ social marketing and apps for the entertainment and marketing industries. Early investment partners include WayBlazer, Sellpoints, Welltok, Pathway Genomics, Modernizing Medicine and Fluid.

In the UK, IBM has created three new Watson partners 50wise, Volume and SocialBro, which have created cloud apps for financial services, sales training and online marketing.


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