Digital Workplace
Digital Workplace<br/>數碼辦公室

Working from home has become a necessity to protect the health of staff and also prevent the spread of Covid-19. Technology’s role in providing companies with the tools and means to continue business-as-usual has never been as crucial. 

However, with so many options, baggage and personal preferences, not to mention the need to protect corporate and personal data, the choices can seem overwhelming for the uninitiated. 

A smooth and effective remote working experience requires careful short- as well as long-term planning, because these solutions could potentially change for the better the way you and your staff operate for the long-term. 

This new work culture has the potential to provide a more open, flexible environment that meets the individual needs of each employee, and at the same time improve productivity and retain talent. 

We have listed out some of the most popular, and not so well-known tools, each of which has its own specific pros and cons to help those members unfamiliar with the options to decide which is most appropriate.

 

Communication and Messaging

Solution

Skype

Whatsapp

google hangouts

Brief Intro; What is it and what does it do? How popular?

Popular VoIP service

Telecommunication software that enables users to interact online through an instant messaging option, chat, video conferencing or voice calling

The most cost-effective remote conferencing software 

Commonly used as an instant messaging app, Whatsapp has since developed into a full communication software, providing users the options to create groups with up to 256 members.

Whatsapp also features message broadcasting, location sharing, file sharing, voice calling and also basic video conferencing for up to 4 people. Compared to other video conferencing apps, it lacks many of the bells and whistles, but one can rest assured that most people have some level of familiarity to it.

Aimed at enterprise communication

Part of G Suite line of products 

Works best for causal small- to medium-sized group discussions

Pricing Model

Skype Credit for Calling mobile and landline numbers 

Free

NA

Price

Free

335 mins for HK$ 60.00 of Skype Credit

Free

Free

Pros

Permits users to exchange documents over the Internet, as well as both video and text-based messages online

No budget concern

Popular communications app 

Free of charge

End-to-end encryption

Fast and simple file sharing, location sharing, photo and video sharing

Can open groups up to 256 members

Desktop version available

No budget concern

Chats are saved in history

one-on-one or group chats are available 

Ease of use

Good for small to medium group size

Cons

Often freezes and suffers from video noise Limit of 4 persons in conference call for free version

Lacks advanced features such as white-boarding, polling, screen sharing

Video conferencing has a limit of 4 people

No option to remove a person from a video conference, as people have to hang up or disconnect themselves

Unable to edit chats

No desktop application

Link

https://www.skype.com/zh-Hant/

www.whatsapp.com

https://hangouts.google.com/

 

Solution

zoom

GoToMeeting

WeChat

Brief Intro; What is it and what does it do? How popular?

One of the most popular VoIP services

Combines video conferencing, video webinar, online meetings, chat, and mobile collaboration

Flexible and extensive suite of features that satisfy nearly any business’ needs, but some are difficult to use

It costs relatively high comparing to other VoIP services like Skype or GoToMeeting

An online meeting, desktop sharing, and video conferencing software package that enables the user to meet with other computer users, customers, clients or colleagues via the Internet in real time

Best known for its user-friendly intereface

One unique advantage for WeChat Enterprise is the link with WeChat where all the customers are. It also works between WeChat users and WeChat Work users. A key feature is its use across teams in: sales, CRM, customer services, customer experience, any customer facing department, HR, finance, IT.

Pricing Model

Annual / Monthly Subscription +

Other Available Add-on

Annual / Monthly Subscription

NA

Price

Personal: Free

Small Team: HKD 116/m

Business: HKD 155/m

Professional (<150 ppl): HKD 109/m

Business (<250 ppl): HKD 148/m

Free

Pros

Expandable with many optional add-ons are available

Exceptional simultaneous screen sharing

Provide admin feature controls

Allows users to have full control over the equipment of a participant

Share documents in real-time

User-friendly interface

Provide customized solutions for different sectors

Huge and fast growing user base

Payments capability with WeChat 5.0 enables selling goods directly

Can be fully integrated with official WeChat account and effectively establish the connection between business and clients

Cons

Some of the extra features such as white-boarding, polling, and remote control are difficult to use

Video is often blurry and pixelated

Users are mostly in Mainland China

Link

 

https://zoom.us/

 

https://www.gotomeeting.com/en-hk

https://work.weixin.qq.com/

 

Online Office Suites 

Solution

 Google Cloud

Office 365

Brief Intro; What is it and what does it do? How popular?

Suite of cloud computing, productivity and collaboration tools, software and products developed by Google Cloud

Integrated apps and services designed to help entrepreneurs grow their business

Apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and more, updated monthly with the latest features and security updates.

Pricing Model

Free, Basic, Business, Enterprise

Monthly subscription with annual commitment 

Price

$0 limit of 10 users 

$6USD/m per employee

$12USD/m per employee

$25USD/m per employee

Business Essentials: HKD 39 user/mo

Business: HKD 64 user/mo

Business Premium: HKD 97 user/mo

Pros

Everything in one pack, including 1A3C, Access, Connect, Control, and Create

Create blog posts, spreadsheets and presentations

Access in the globe 

Available on all devices, including, Windows devices, Mac, iPad, iPhone and Android

Collaboration in the cloud

24/7 real live person support 

Hub for teamwork 

Free upgrades

Cons

Hard to work offline

Not easy for constantly travelling businesspeople

Cost efficiency

Not flexibile

Link

https://gsuite.google.com.hk/intl/zh-HK/

https://www.microsoft.com/zh-hk/

 

Project Management and Collaboration

Solution

Slack

Trello

ZOHO Projects

Brief Intro; What is it and what does it do? How popular?

Searchable Log of All Conversation and Knowledge

Real-time messaging and the ability to archive, search and share files 

Intended for those who want their communication materials housed in one place and easily accessible through mobile device or PC

Slack is an excellent and powerful team messaging app with a rich collection of settings and options. It’s among one of the best, but one of the most expensive.

One of the most popular / cheapest project mangement tools in the market

Management tool that organizes projects into boards; tell what is being worked on, who is working on it

Create tasks boards with several columns (typically: To Do, In Progress, Done) and move tasks among them

Trello is probably the cheapest option one can find, but rather limiting in functions.

Allows users to schedule tasks, create a budget, create tasks and assign to members and set due dates

Automates document process, including access control, revision tacking and, search and retrieval

Allows real-time texting, meetings

An intuitive but feature-rich interface and a competitive price make it both easy to use and easy to get, which is why it’s a leader both in project management and time tracking.

Pricing Model

Monthly

Annually

Monthly / Annually

Price

$6.67 USD / mo for SME

$12.5 USD / mo for larger business 

Free version

$9.99 USD p.a. for Business

$20.83 USD p.a. for Enterprise

$ 18 USD p.m. / $150 USD p.a. for Standard

$ 50 USD p.m. / $ 480 USD p.a. for Express

$ 100 USD p.m. / $1,020 p.a. for Premium

Pros

Messages are fully searchable and centralized, allowing new members to retrive messges / files and catch up 

Works both in PC and mobile phone; everything in sync

Can video conference, voice conference 

Super easy to use 

Mobile Friendly

Simplicity: Intuitive and user friendly interface 

One of the cheapest options 

Real time update

Rich communication features.

Generally easy to set up and use.

Responsive, strong customer support

Great value.

Deep configuration options.

Time-management tools let you clock multiple tasks at once.

Cons

Might have intermittent connectivity issues

Call capability can be spotty 

Cannot know if a member of the channel has read the message or not

Battery consuming for phones

Really more of an internal team thing; for internal communication only 

Video calls up to 15 teammates only for SME Plan

Attachment size limitation 

Cannot delete comments

Comparing to other tools in the market, this is really more like a mere To-do List

Resource data displayed in an unusual way.

Not ideal for large teams.

Poor dash board functionality

Link

https://slack.com/intl/en-hk/

https://trello.com

https://www.zoho.com/

 

Remote Access

Solution

TeamViewer

ConnectWise

Chrome Remote Deskto

Brief Intro; What is it and what does it do? How popular?

One of the most popular and commonly used remote desktop software by both corporations and personal users. Free for personal use, but a license is required for any business application.

For those without a big budget, ConnectWise is free for even commercial use for up to 3 computers, after which you can choose to upgrade to a better plan with more features such as support for iOS and Android clients, voice chatting, remote meeting, sound capture, logon session switching and others. Functions are limited on the free tier.

Chrome Remote Desktop is a remote access software that enables users to control and manage a computer through Google Chrome. It is an extension that runs on different operating systems. 

Pricing Model

Free for personal use

Business License

Premium License

Corporate License

Free (For personal and commercial use)

One (10 computers, 1 simultaneous session)

Standard (Unlimited computers, 3 sim sessions)

Premium (Unlimited computers, 10 sim sessions)

Access (Unlimited computers and sessions)

Free

Price

$0 (for personal use only)

$248HKD/m

$548HKD/m

$1,099HKD/m

$0 (w/ limitations)

$19USD/m

$35USD/m

$45USD/m

$38USD/m

$0 (no limitations)

Pros

Expensive

Most commonly known and used

Comprehensive feature set including presentations, shared meetings and others

Easy to install

Works on a wide range of platforms from Windows to Macs, and also mobile devices

Supports multiple monitors

Free for up to 3 computers

Paid tiers are affordable for small businesses and professionals

For IT professionals looking for a maintenance tool for all computers in the office, the Access tier can provide advanced remote functionality

Quick and easy to set up as a Chrome extension

Secure connections with randomized pins

Supports multiple monitors

Works on a wide range of platforms from Windows to Macs, and also mobile devices

Cons

File transfer is very slow

Can be laggy at times

Sometimes after upgrading the versions are not compatible with each other

Sales team is quite naggy on getting users to upgrade their plans

Free tier only offers limited functions, without support for iOS or Android clients, remote meeting, wake-on-lan, chatting and other features

Does not support multiple monitors

No built-in chat function

Inability to reboot remote machine and automatically reconnect

Limited features

Link

www.teamviewer.com

https://www.connectwise.com/software/control/free

www.remotedesktop.google.com/

 

Solution

Microsoft Remote Desktop

AnyDesk

Brief Intro; What is it and what does it do? How popular?

Microsoft Remote Desktop is a free remote desktop tool widely used in Windows environments for network administration and employee support. It offers almost lossless screen sharing with a stable internet connection, and is built-in for Windows machines.

Provides functionalities for remote printing, file transfer, mobile to PC remote control, and auto-discovery. Its main selling point is that it works smoothly with a slow internet connection, and provides up to 60FPS connections. AnyDesk Enterprise can provide a customized solution to fulfill security requirements.

Pricing Model

Free

Free (For personal use only)

Lite

Professional

Power

Price

$0 (no limitations)

$0 (no limitations)

$10.99USD/m

$20.99USD/m

$52.99USD/m

Pros

Free of charge

Screen sharing quality is top-notch with a stable internet connection

Works on a wide range of platforms from Windows to Macs, and also mobile devices

Can work even in areas with poor internet connectivity. It has the capacity to work smoothly with bandwidth as low as 100KB/sec.

Smooth connections up to 60 FPS, can be used for video editing and CAD

Safe conections with encryption

Easy to set up: Download and launch without installation required

Feature rich with file transfer, session recording, online meetings, presentation, messaging and others

Works on a wide range of platforms from Windows to Macs, and also mobile devices

Cons

Features are basic

Does not support shortcut keys with remote desktop

Link

https://www.microsoft.com/en-hk/p/microsoft-remote-desktop/9wzdncrfj3ps?activetab=pivot:overviewtab

www.anydesk.com/

 

Cloud File Sharing / Hosting

Solution

Google Drive 

Microsoft OneDrive

Dropbox Business 

Brief Intro; What is it and what does it do? How popular?

As part of Google, Google Drive is one of the most popular cloud storage services. It is supported on almost all systems and naturally offers good intergration with G Suite. It offers great compability with multiple platforms and settings, and integration with a wide range of office collaboration tools.

Microsoft OneDrive for Business increases the number of files types it can view. Artificial intelligence makes accessing recently edited and most important files, folders, and projects quicker and more intuitive.

Dropbox Business improves on cloud file storage solutions for small to midsize businesses. It offers Smart Sync and Remote Wipe features and an increased focus on collaboration.

Pricing Model

Pay what you use

Business Plan 1

Business Plan 2

Office 365 Business Premium

Standard

Advanced

Enterprise

Price

$8USD/m per employee + $1USD per 25 GB

$5USD/m per employee

$10USD/m per employee

$12.5USD/m per employee

$12.5USD/m starting at 3 users

$20USD/m starting at 3 users

Custom pricing

Pros

Brings G Suite’s ease of collaboration and smarts to Microsoft Office products.

Powerful search and proactive workflow features.

Offers unprecedented control over data with easy migration and host of privacy and compliance tools.

Pre-installed on Windows

Good integration with Microsoft Exchange, Office 365, and Microsoft Teams to collaborate with Excel, PowerPoint, Word and OneNote from desktop, mobile device, and the web

Outstanding mobile app support

Expanded functionality evolves product from storage solution to full-on file-sharing platform.

Solidly business-focused.

Offers a remote-wipe security feature.

Cons

File sharing security could be better.

Not too many reasons to get Google Drive Enterprise over the more comprehensive 

G Suite solutions.

Must use desktop application for offline access.

Online file editing is not supported.

Lacks private key management.

Missing text optical character recognition (OCR) for mobile scanning.

Link

www.cloud.google.com/drive-enterprise/

www.products.office.com/en/onedrive-for-business/online-cloud-storage

www.dropbox.com/business

 

 

 

 

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