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The Tech Behind the Future of Work




It’s hard to believe that just a couple of years ago, video calls were mainly something people headed to a dedicated meeting room for. Now, for many of us, it’s every meeting, every day, on any of our devices.

Although the world has jumped on video meetings at record speed, anyone who has sat on back-to-back video meetings all day knows that they’re not the silver bullet.

Google recently worked with Economist Impact to survey workers on how the sudden shift to working from home had affected them

The survey found that although 72% of people say that virtual meetings improve inclusion and participation, 68% also say there are too many virtual meetings to begin with.

Clearly, there’s a need for new ways to connect spontaneously.

The return to corridor conversations

Before the pandemic, quick corridor chats, coffee catchups and even popping your head over a desk divider to ask a question accounted for a lot of the quiet breakthroughs made by teams.

That hasn’t translated well to remote working – in fact, a survey conducted in November 2021 found that the top two concerns about remote working by Australian managers were “difficulty maintaining strong organisational culture” and “difficulty maintaining ‘coffee chat/hallway’ type collaboration”.

Google has been working hard on enabling this kind of spontaneous collaboration regardless of whether people are working remotely or in the office.

In Google Workspace, documents are designed to be edited live online by multiple people.

This takes away the stop-start nature of emailing documents from person to person, with each person sitting on the document until they’re happy with their part. Instead, everyone can work live on the same document.

We’re also building Google Meet video calling right into Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, and this feature will be available in the first half of 2022.

This means anyone who is editing a document simultaneously can have a quick audio or video chat rather than having to schedule a meeting, letting everyone get more out of their day without blocking it with endless half-hour virtual meetings.

Canva, the Australian online design and publishing software company, says its use of Google Workspace has enabled initiatives such as a meeting-free day each week. “To empower our team to undertake deep work, we have a recurring weekly Calendar invitation that keeps an entire day free of meetings across the business,” explains Jeff Lai, Canva’s Internal Infrastructure Specialist. 

Look smart

Eighty percent of the global workforce are deskless frontline workers – doctors, nurses, real estate agents, field engineers, transport and logistics team members.

But only 35% of frontline workers say they have the technology they need to get their job done well.  Often, they have to share terminals and may not have their own network ID or email address.

There’s a lot that Google is doing to help frontline workers get the tech they need, but in particular, companies that have adopted Google Glass headsets have seen significant improvements in productivity.

For example, workers at a GE Renewable Energy factory are wearing Google Glass devices that give them instructions on how to install parts correctly without having to refer back to printed or online documentation.

A study showed that the first time workers put on Google Glass, they were able to complete their tasks 34% faster than the old way of working.

Google Meet is now available in open beta for Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2 too. When a Google Glass wearer connects to a meeting, other participants get a view from the headset’s forward-facing camera. 

​This means that team members elsewhere can get a ‘first person perspective’ of what the wearer is looking at – ideal for providing remote troubleshooting assistance of a technical problem or assisting with patient diagnosis in a medical setting.

Of course, for this to be successful, joining Google Meets on Google Glass has to be really easy. Real estate firm CBRE told Google early on that they didn’t want their team members to have to become technical experts to use video collaboration in this way.

So Google worked to make joining meetings extremely simple – the Google Workspace integration on Google Glass means people out in the field can join Google Meets in their Calendar directly with just a few taps. No complex meeting codes are required.

Making meetings more inclusive

Google is focused on making real, live collaboration never more than a click away in every Google Workspace app, but video meetings do remain an important way for teams to come together.

We’ve been working with our wide ecosystem of partners to develop hardware that makes video meetings better for everyone, whether ‘in the room’ or working remotely. For example, the Google Jamboard is a digital whiteboard that lets people in the room draw on the screen, with remote (or in-room) participants able to add and edit from their own devices. 

We’ve also heard from customers that being in a meeting room with just a single video screen isn’t optimal now that people are used to virtual meetings where they’re used to having their own video tile and full control of documents on their own devices. 

Google Meet Companion Mode (in preview) allows meeting participants to join a meeting in the same room on their laptop or phone and participate fully in the meeting, without worrying about echoing audio feedback or the need to be constantly muting and unmuting.

Individuals can present from their own laptops and participate in online features of the meeting like polls, digital whiteboards and live document collaboration on their own screen. 

Making everybody digitally equal means whether working from the office or a remote location, everyone has the same opportunity to participate. 

Learn more about the latest hardware for Google Meet



China’s Economy Grows Despite Int’l Challenges: Turkish Expert




© Provided by Xinhua

China would continue to contribute to the global economy, especially with the Belt and Road Initiative, and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, said Turkish economist Sinan Alcin.


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UK PM Boris Johnson Arrives in India for Two-day Visit




Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], April 21 (ANI): UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday landed in Gujarat’s Ahmedabad for a two-day visit to India with focus on stepping up cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, giving momentum to negotiations on Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries as well as enhancing defence ties.
Johnson started his visit from Ahmedabad where he is scheduled to meet with leading business gr

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Senate Panel Advances Sandra Thompson’s Nomination As FHFA Director




The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs confirmed the nomination of Sandra Thompson to serve as the next director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, sending her nomination to the full Senate.

The vote passed 13 to 11, with all 12 of the committee’s Democrats and one Republican voting in favor of advancing Thompson’s nomination.

During the session, the committee also approved the re-nomination of Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, the nomination of Federal Reserve Gov. Lael Brainard to be Vice Chair, and Philip Jefferson was confirmed as a member of the Federal Reserve.

Lisa Cook’s nomination to be a member of the Federal Reserve concluded in a tie. Cook, if confirmed by the full Senate, would be the first Black woman to serve on the Federal Reserve board.

Thompson in a statement said that she appreciates the support from Committee members and looks “forward to continuing to work with Congress as [she] fulfills [her] current role as Acting Director while the nomination process proceeds.”

In February 2022, the confirmation process of Thompson and a handful of Fed nominees stalled after Senate Republicans boycotted the vote.

At the time, Pennsylvania Sen. Patrick Toomey, the ranking Republican on the committee, critiqued the nomination of Sarah Bloom Raskin, who was nominated to be vice chair for supervision of the Federal Reserve.

Toomey questioned Raskin’s ties to Reserve Trust Company, a Colorado-based fintech startup that gained access to the Fed’s payment system in 2018. After Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin said he would not vote for Raskin due to her views on climate change, Raskin withdrew her nomination.

The committee’s confirmation of Thompson, who has been leading the FHFA since June 2021, will be welcome news to many industry stakeholders and affordable housing advocates who have been calling on her confirmation.

Bob Broeksmit, president of the Mortgage Bankers Association, called Thompson “a breath of fresh air” during the ICE Experience Conference in Las Vegas this week.

“Her administration is really focusing on the ways in which Fannie Mae and Freddie can achieve its mission to make homeownership available and affordable to low- to- moderate income borrowers and to black and Hispanic borrowers who own homes at shamefully lower rates in this country, than people who look like me,” he said. “And I think that Fannie and Freddie, under Sandra Thompson’s direction, will come up with some really innovative ideas.”

Early on in her tenure leading the FHFA, Thompson said that she would prioritize sustainable lending practices and expand credit to underserved communities.

“As a longtime regulator, I am committed to making sure our nation’s housing finance systems and our regulated entities operate in a safe and sound manner,” Thompson said in June 2021, when she was appointed acting director. “We can accomplish this, and at the same time have a laser focus on mission and community investment. There is a widespread lack of affordable housing and access to credit, especially in communities of color.”

Since then, Thompson has made substantial headway. Within three months of her tenure, she set new affordability benchmarks to expand access to credit in underserved communities, made on-time rental payment history part of Fannie Mae’s underwriting process and signed a historic interagency fair lending agreement.

The post Senate panel advances Sandra Thompson’s nomination as FHFA director appeared first on HousingWire.


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