Slack today announced the launch of Connect, an opportunity for up to 20 organizations to communicate in a single Slack channel. Stewart Butterfield, CEO of Slack, said Connect has been in development for four years. Slack Connect is now being introduced to paying customers and may in some way be available to Slack's unpaid tier in the future. Channels are a key part of the Slack experience and are designed to bring people together to chat, share files, and do other things for a specific project or topic.
Connect starts with the option to notify people in a channel directly. However, additional features will be introduced in the future, including the ability to send direct messages to more people from different organizations. With calendar integration, participants in a group channel can scan the calendars of people from participating groups and find a time that is suitable for everyone.
The message comes a day after Microsoft made it Teams for personal use among friends and family.
Tamar Yehoshua, Slack's chief product officer, said in a virtual press conference with reporters today that Connect is being synced with company-specific security standards and that data access will be interrupted after a company leaves a channel. Management of corporate keys for security when using Connect will be available this summer.
"If a customer shares a channel with another organization and the other organization's employees have access to the data in the channel provided by your organization and you revoke your keys, this data will be invisible to members of that organization," said Slack Chief Security Officer Larkin Ryder said in a Connect launch Video.
Shared channels have been introduced in the past with the Slack app for team and organizational communication so that two organizations can work in one shared channel. However, Connect should bring enough people into one channel to make emails unnecessary. To help people who need to use email for work or don't have a Slack account, the company introduced email messages to channels last year.
Connect can also be used to extend integrations and automate workflows between organizations, Slack VP Ilan Frank said during the virtual press event. “Each side has access control for the application they are installing and determines which side the other side has access to to access a workflow. So the app is installed and configured on both sides of the channel, ”he said.
Connect starts with a limit of 20 organizations, but will grow beyond that capacity in the future, Yehoshua said.