Project GigJam is about reinventing productivity — and Microsoft too

14 Jul 2015

In an endeavour to dominate the new productivity world defined by apps like Slack and Wrike, Microsoft has revealed Project GigJam. Pictured is Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

Microsoft is working on a new set of apps with its AI assistant Cortana at their core that will make the software giant relevant in a world where productivity rivals like Slack and Wrike and even Dropbox are trying to eat its lunch.

Most people in the working world today grew up with Microsoft Office or Lotus Notes. The truth is we don’t even scratch the surface of what they are capable of because there are so many options, tools and so much to learn.

That clutter is being cleared up by new players who realise that in a mobile-first, cloud-centric world people want clarity and simplicity – on any device, at any time.

That’s why teamwork apps like Slack are so hot right now.

What is happening is a whole new generation of workers are growing up on Slack, Dropbox and Wrike in the same way as older generations grew up with Word, Outlook and SharePoint, just without the hassle.

In a mobile and cloud dominated world, Microsoft has every reason to be concerned. That’s why it has been buying companies like Sunrise and Wunderlist, whose apps simplify and gamify the world of work and especially teamwork.

The new productivity

Microsoft is about to unveil Project GigJam, previously codenamed “Magic Glass”, which is a set of apps for PCs, tablets and phones that allows users to call up business information using Cortana and route information via cards to co-workers.

Each card pops up on relevant screens and colleagues can then collaborate in real-time.

In effect, with GigJam Microsoft wants to make it possible to make tasks actionable without everything descending into a flurry of meetings, phone calls, screenshots and emails.

GigJam effectively pulls data from multiple apps and plonks them onto a shared screen for colleagues to work together more intuitively.

The project was launched at the Microsoft World Partner Conference in Orlando.

CEO Satya Nadella said the idea is to allow workers to complete tasks without having to go into each application, effectively breaking work down into “molecules of work.”

Satya Nadella picture by Bhupinder Nayyar via Flickr (Creative Commons)

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years