How To Enable Cross-Platform Messaging In Your Business
Cross-platform messaging is the ability to send a message from one platform to another.
We do this from Apple to Android in the mobile world. We can now even do this between Xbox and PlayStation.
So why can’t we do this in the business world?
The answer lies in APIs. Or, more pertinently, access to the APIs.
The current state of cross-platform messaging
For the longest time, vendors who provide business messaging have kept their platforms locked down.
If you wanted to send cross-platform messages, you were stuck.
There have been attempts to introduce unified inboxes but they have been unsuccessful.
More often than not, when we need to message a colleague who doesn’t use the same platform as us, we do one of three things:
- Switch platforms to cater to their preference
- Message them on our favorite platform and not get a response
- Send them an email
Switching platforms is bad for productivity. When you switch platforms, you also switch context.
When we context switch, even in small doses, we lose focus on the first task and our brain tries to catch up to what we’re trying to achieve in the second task.
The downside to messaging them on our own favorite platform and not getting a response is obvious: they don’t respond. Or they take far too long.
Sending them an email may not sound like the worst option. But when you switch to email, you immediately lose the functionality of your business messaging tool. (Think message threads, notifications, etc.)
You also open the door to all the bad habits people have picked up using email.
Some people are quick on the trigger when it comes to deleting emails. Others are slow so you won’t get a response for days. Many have inboxes so overflowing that your email will never reach the top.
It’s pretty bleak without cross-platform messaging.
So it’s a good job we did something about it.
Message interoperability for cross-platform messaging
That means you can send a message from Google Chat and it gets sent to your colleagues who use Microsoft Teams.
But only once you install Mio in the background.
Mio enables you to sync users and channels that need to send cross-platform messages. When you’ve configured who needs access to who, users see no change to their interface.
If they love Zoom, they stay in Zoom. The only difference is that they can now chat with their Webex colleagues without leaving Zoom.
We achieve this by receiving a message on one platform, translating it to the other platform’s language, and sending it to the other.
Check out how it looks:
In the case of connecting Google Chat and Microsoft Teams, for example, we receive a message via the Google Chat API and deliver them using the Microsoft Teams API.
Mio does the translation element in the middle to make sure what gets sent from platform A gets delivered as expected on platform B.
As we support more than basic text messages, it’s important to understand and manipulate how each platform handles things like emojis, GIFs, threaded messages, and other messaging functionality.
To keep the user experience exactly as they expect it, components with different styles and formats need logic applied so it’s not a direct transfer of one message function to another.
When customers install Mio, they start to send messages cross-platform and wonder why they were so unproductive before.
To start using Mio, visit our website.
Vendor attitude to cross-platform messaging
Throughout the 2000s and most of the 2010s, cross-platform messaging has been improbable at best.
Walled gardens and workplace silos have become a common theme. The “one platform to rule them all” mentality took over and created disjointed user experiences.
Moving into the modern era of digital communications, however, it’s clear that multi-vendor environments are the norm. In fact, 91% of businesses use at least two messaging apps.
Recognizing this, all of Google, Microsoft, Slack, Webex, and Zoom have publicly stated their support for cross-platform collaboration. After all, they’d all rather have some of the pie than go hungry.
Take a look at how vendors’ views on interoperability and cross-platform messaging have changed in recent years…
Google’s interoperability stance
Google has always been at the forefront of innovation. So it should come as no surprise that the tech giant is making concrete strides towards collaboration interoperability.
A 2023 partnership with Mio is confirmation that interop is a priority for Google.
“Together with Mio, we can extend the reach of Google Chat and empower users to collaborate seamlessly across different platforms,” says Ilya Brown, Vice President of Product Management for Google Workspace.
At Google’s annual conference, Google Next, Mio’s CEO Tom Hadfield joined a host of interop advocates for an exciting lightning talk on the power of cross-platform communication. Watch it here:
Zoom’s interoperability stance
Since the inception of Zoom’s chat tool, it’s always enabled external federation. So chatting with people outside your organization who use Zoom has been simple.
But inside your organization, when colleagues use different platforms, it’s been impossible. That is until Zoom’s interoperability options extended to messaging.
This was made even clearer when Zoom invested in Mio in 2021.
Webex’s interoperability stance
The same is echoed by Webex’s attitude to interoperability.
“Cisco has a decades-long commitment to delivering openness and interoperability for our customers, and we are delighted to support Mio’s efforts to advance cross-platform messaging across the Webex ecosystem.”Jeetu Patel, EVP & GM, Security and Collaboration at Cisco.
At Webex’s annual conference, Webex One, the keynote included a guest appearance from Microsoft’s Jeff Teper.
He discussed the partnership between Webex and Microsoft that allows you to run Microsoft Teams as the native meeting experience on Webex meeting rooms devices.
Read more: 6 Ways to Connect Microsoft Teams and Webex
Microsoft’s interoperability stance
There has long been a Microsoft focus on enabling cross-platform meetings with Zoom too.
For example, Microsoft Teams direct guest join with Zoom allows Teams users to join Zoom meetings with a single click.
But it doesn’t stop at meetings when it comes to Microsoft’s interoperability enhancements.
In fact, Microsoft Teams and Slack is the most common platform combination among Mio customers.
While company-wide initiatives increase adoption of Teams among Microsoft and Windows users, there are always going to be pockets of Slack users who thrive in their own tool.
Forcing them to migrate from Slack to Microsoft Teams is counterproductive. Especially when you have options to integrate or interoperate.
The Teams calling option within Slack, for example, allows you to start calls using the Teams calling feature without leaving Slack and firing up Teams.
Outside of basic integrations for meeting and calling between the two, you can connect your platforms with Mio.
Using message interoperability, Teams users stay in Teams and Slack users stay in Slack.
Thanks to cross-platform messaging, everybody uses the platform they feel most productive in.
Slack interoperability stance
Slack is unique in that its core functionality is messaging. This means there’s little need for video or device interoperability.
With regard to message interoperability, you can send cross-platform messages to Microsoft Teams, Webex, or Zoom using Mio.
What Slack lacks in interoperability, it makes up for it in integration. There are over 2,300 Slack integrations in its app store.
As Slack pushes to be the place where you work (rather than restricting where to location), it recognizes that other apps exist too.
But if you prefer Slack as your primary interface, integrations that allow third-party app use within Slack are a win-win for Slack, the user, and the third-party app.
Cross-platform messaging has long been a blue-sky requirement for most enterprises.
The genuine alternatives have been migrating platforms, managing messy multi-vendor environments, and forcing users to choose platform A, B, or email to send messages.
As the owners of business messaging platforms now see benefits for their users and their pockets, cross-platform messaging and interoperability across the wider collaboration stack is very real.
Long may it continue 👏