Huddle moves the desktop from the cubicle to the cloud

The office of the future is not a physical space with a desk, chair and workstation wired to the network. It’s a secure virtual environment that is accessible from anywhere via whatever device people wish to use.

To bring government agencies and business closer to this vision, the U.K.-based company recently launched its Connected Desktop experience, which allows colleagues to work together, store, edit and save files via their desktop applications directly into Huddle’s secure cloud. This removes the need for files to be saved locally and frees up teams from being tethered to the corporate network, company officials said in a release.  

Huddle is an enterprise collaboration platform that combines cloud, mobility and social networking to give teams of people an alternative to using email as their primary collaboration tool. 

In May, Huddle launched a secure, cloud-based collaboration platform for U.S. government agencies. Billed as an alternative to Microsoft’s SharePoint, Huddle hopes to address areas where SharePoint may be vulnerable, such as ease-of-use, pricing and secure collaboration with people outside of an agency. Huddle can work on top of, alongside or instead of SharePoint, depending on an agency’s collaboration requirements.

Not so long ago industry experts said the “network is a computer,” but now “the cloud is becoming a computer,” Andy McLoughlin, Huddle’s co-founder and senior vice president of strategy, said during an interview. The new connected desktop moves workers away from siloed PC applications to team collaboration using the power of cloud, mobile, social and desktop, he said. 

The Connected Desktop experience brings five new capabilities to the Huddle collaboration platform.

Huddle for Windows and Huddle for Mac remove the need for files to be saved locally. Teams of workers can open, lock, edit and save files and move those files seamlessly between devices because all content and conversations are stored in Huddle’s secure cloud, McLoughlin noted. If connectivity is lost while files are being edited via desktop applications, the latest file version is uploaded into Huddle as soon as connectivity is restored. 

Huddle for Outlook is designed to unlock knowledge stored in people’s inboxes by moving content and related discussions out of email. It saves attachments and all related email discussions in the cloud. Email responses are recorded as a series of comments against the file in Huddle, retaining the context of the discussion such as who provided feedback and when. Anyone in the email chain who is not a Huddle user is automatically invited into Huddle to continue the conversation. All information is recorded, searchable and audited. 

Huddle Drive puts all file storage in the Huddle cloud, making it easy to access files just as if they were stored on the networked desktop or laptop computers, McLoughlin said. The enterprise-grade virtual drive provides access to office workers’ Huddle workspaces, files and folders and combines advanced security with an intuitive, easy-to-use interface. With files no longer stored on people’s machines, the risk of corporate data being leaked or lost is mitigated, according to Huddle.

Huddle Viewer allows images and videos to be immediately previewed securely in the cloud. Workers can easily locate the latest version of a media file and share it with colleagues. Files quickly load as office workers scroll down the page, making the file selection process simple. They will soon be able to stream video with Huddle Viewer.

Huddle Dashboard shows users their business activity stream and all the people they are working with. Office workers can see all activity and projects relevant to them across their workspaces. Files for approval, notifications, comments, tasks and actions are immediately flagged, and teams can easily see what progress has been made across projects, Huddle officials said. 


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