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Kollaborate Server 3.1 - Modify default roles, folder downloading, heatmaps, task tags and more

Last week we released Kollaborate Server 3.1, a major update to our self-hosted workflow platform for creatives.

Edit default roles

You can now modify the default roles for projects server-wide from the Tools page of the Admin Area.

Installer passwords

The installer and upgrader are now password protected for added security on Docker installations by default. You can find the password inside the config.env file.

Non-Docker manual installations do not have the password set by default but it can be set through the environment variable KOLLAB_INSTALLER_PASSWORD.

Folder downloading

The contents of folders, departments or entire projects can now be downloaded all at once as a single zip file.

Heatmaps

Heatmaps show how a video has been viewed - where people skipped ahead and where they watched more than once. Click the Heatmap button in the player for all results combined, or go to the Users tab to view heatmaps for individual users.

Currently heatmaps are recorded only for team members but we plan to record them for link recipients in future.

Quick Share

Clicking the Share button on the player or Files page now generates a link that you can copy and paste immediately, which can dramatically speed up the process if you need to generate lots of links at once. You can edit the link options in the dialog and they will be remembered for future links.

If you clicked the button by mistake, you can also delete the link from that dialog.

Task tags

You can now add tags to tasks. Some uses for this could be:

  • To segment tasks into categories such as "sound" and "VFX"
  • To tag tasks with milestones such as "v3.0"
  • To convey a task's status - e.g. "Needs verification" or "Successfully reproduced"
  • To add additional context or information to a task - such as "5.1 mix" if the issue only appears in a particular mix

Keyboard shortcut overhaul

While Kollaborate has supported keyboard shortcuts for a long time, these weren't easily discoverable. Now whenever a page has available shortcuts, a keyboard icon will appear at the bottom of the screen that will show you shortcuts available for that page. This update also added lots of new shortcuts for things like image zooming and PDF page navigation.

Other changes

  • Import / export metadata to CSV files
  • Pin important tasks to the top of the Tasks view
  • Improved icons
  • You can now add captions in languages other than English
  • Language can now be specified when creating a project - this controls which caption language displays by default
  • Lots of bug fixes and improvements

Kollaborate is an essential cloud workflow platform that allows you to share files with clients and team members while integrating with Digital Rebellion apps and services. Kollaborate Server allows you to host the platform in-house on your own servers and storage. To find out more, see the Kollaborate Server overview or register for the free cloud trial (Server trials are available on request).

Posted by Jon Chappell on Sep 30 2020 to DR News, Front Page News, Kollaborate
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Kollaborate transcription improvements

We've made big improvements to the automatic transcription feature of our Kollaborate cloud workflow platform.

English transcription is now more accurate and we're offering support for Russian, Chinese and German too. We expect to add additional languages in future as speech models become available.

Automatic transcription is free and unlimited for all Team accounts.

Kollaborate is an essential cloud workflow platform that allows you to share files with clients and team members while integrating with Digital Rebellion apps and services. To find out more, see the overview or register for the free trial.

Posted by Jon Chappell on Sep 2 2020 to Kollaborate, Front Page News, DR News
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Kollaborate 3.1 - Heatmaps, folder downloading, task tags and more

We recently released Kollaborate 3.1, a major update to our cloud workflow platform for film and TV.

Massive under-the-hood overhaul

Kollaborate has had a complete under-the-hood overhaul to improve scalability and provide a secure base on which we can quickly develop new features. All new features are being delivered on the new foundation and we plan to convert existing features to the new system over time.

Folder downloading

The contents of folders, departments or entire projects can now be downloaded all at once as a single zip file.

Heatmaps

Heatmaps show how a video has been viewed - where people skipped ahead and where they watched more than once. Click the Heatmap button in the player for all results combined, or go to the Users tab to view heatmaps for individual users.

Currently heatmaps are recorded only for team members but we plan to record them for link recipients in future.

Quick Share

Clicking the Share button on the player or Files page now generates a link that you can copy and paste immediately, which can dramatically speed up the process if you need to generate lots of links at once. You can edit the link options in the dialog and they will be remembered for future links.

If you clicked the button by mistake, you can also delete the link from that dialog.

Task tags

You can now add tags to tasks. Some uses for this could be:

  • To segment tasks into categories such as "sound" and "VFX"
  • To tag tasks with milestones such as "v3.0"
  • To convey a task's status - e.g. "Needs verification" or "Successfully reproduced"
  • To add additional context or information to a task - such as "5.1 mix" if the issue only appears in a particular mix

Custom Roles

Roles on the Team page can now be customized. Project admins can click the Manage Roles option in the dropdown next to a user to add, edit or remove custom roles.

Keyboard shortcut overhaul

While Kollaborate has supported keyboard shortcuts for a long time, these weren't easily discoverable. Now whenever a page has available shortcuts, a keyboard icon will appear at the bottom of the screen that will show you shortcuts available for that page. This update also added lots of new shortcuts for things like image zooming and PDF page navigation.

Other changes

  • Import / export metadata to CSV files
  • Pin important tasks to the top of the Tasks view
  • Improved icons
  • You can now add captions in languages other than English (although automatic transcription is still English-only)
  • Lots of bug fixes and improvements

Kollaborate is an essential cloud workflow platform that allows you to share files with clients and team members while integrating with Digital Rebellion apps and services. To find out more, see the overview or register for the free trial.

Posted by Jon Chappell on Aug 20 2020 to DR News, Front Page News, Kollaborate
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Kollaborate Server 3.0.3 - improved Docker integration and bug fixes

Kollaborate Server 3.0.3 is now out, which is a minor update to our self-hosted workflow platform.

Docker changes

  • Fixed an issue where the container may not be able to communicate with LetsEncrypt's servers
  • Setting USE_LETS_ENCRYPT to false now removes existing certificates, which is useful for troubleshooting
  • Fixed an issue where Postfix may not start automatically
  • When LetsEncrypt is switched on, http requests are now automatically forwarded to https

Other changes

  • Support for showing image files in the Adobe Panel
  • Comments - Replies are still listed under their respective parent comments when ordering comments by date
  • Comments - Fixed an issue where comment replies may not be threaded correctly
  • Player - Fixed an issue where pressing Play on Cut Notes wouldn't stop rewinding/fast forwarding when synced to the web UI
  • Users - Fixed an issue where admins could be unable to add users in some instances
  • Various minor tweaks and bug fixes

Upgrading from a previous version

Please see the Upgrading section of the installation guide for instructions on how to upgrade your existing installation.

Kollaborate is an essential cloud workflow platform that allows you to share files with clients and team members while integrating with Digital Rebellion apps and services. Kollaborate Server allows you to host the platform in-house on your own servers and storage. To find out more, see the Kollaborate Server overview or register for the free cloud trial (Server trials are available on request).

Posted by Jon Chappell on May 20 2020 to DR News, Front Page News, Kollaborate
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Kollaborate Server 3.0.2 - improved Docker integration and backend polish

The latest update for our self-hosted workflow platform, Kollaborate Server 3.0.2, is out with significant improvements to the Docker integration plus lots of backend tweaks and polish.

Docker changes

  • Environment variables have been moved to a separate config.env file to make future updates simpler
  • LetsEncrypt integration allows you to easily setup SSL encryption
  • A proxy is now used to route HTTP and Websocket data to the correct services, increasing the compatibility of Synced Sessions with certain firewalls / network configurations
  • Kollaborate Server now has a local mail server for sending emails directly from the server, although you'll still need to setup things like SPF, DMARC, reverse DNS records, etc, at the domain level in order for emails to get past spam filters.
  • Fixed an issue where special characters may not display correctly
  • Fixed an issue where thumbnails may not display
  • Limited the size of Docker logs to save disk space

Other changes

  • Deleted files and projects can now be restored for up to 30 days, up from 14
  • Deleted file events now appear on the History page for a project (only project admins can see this)
  • You can customize the port that the websocket server listens on and allow Kollaborate to connect to it over web ports (80 or 443) if it's running through a proxy. Connecting through standard web ports increases compatibility with firewall and network configurations.
  • Overhauled how encoder pinging works on the Admin Dashboard and statuses can now be refreshed manually without needing to reload the page
  • Some browsers may block autoplaying videos with sound, which can affect Synced Sessions. Kollaborate now mutes audio if it detects this to allow the video to still play in sync. Users can click on the Mute icon to unmute audio. Repeated use of Kollaborate will eventually teach a browser to allow autoplaying video with audio.
  • More efficient preloading of hoverscrub thumbnails
  • Fixed an issue where the size of a file could be reported incorrectly if it takes a while to move to the shared storage volume
  • Fixed an issue where link recipients could only download the originally linked file and not any other versions
  • Fixed an issue where folder link recipients couldn't view comments in certain situations
  • Fixed an issue where caption durations could be incorrect depending on the timecode start point
  • Only documents below 300 MB are converted to PDF, which fixes extremely long encoding jobs for documents with embedded videos
  • Improvements to how folder disk usage is calculated when moving files
  • Various minor installer tweaks and improvements
  • Various minor backend tweaks and bug fixes

See the release notes and setup guide for information on installing from scratch or upgrading from a previous version.

There's also a corresponding Kollaborate Encoder 1.5.1 update with the following changes:

  • Compatibility with Kollaborate Server 3.0.2
  • Communication with Kollaborate Server now follows redirects, which fixes an issue where you may get a blank response from the server if you set the web server URL as http instead of https.
  • Limit images passed to ffmpeg to 15Kx15K as it can't deal with images bigger than that
  • Fixed an issue where document jobs wouldn't requeue if they fail
  • Fixed an issue where soffice could be killed prematurely, preventing office docs being converted
  • Fixed an issue where some temporary document files wouldn't be cleaned up after encoding finished
  • Various small bug fixes, tweaks and optimizations

Kollaborate is an essential cloud workflow platform that allows you to share files with clients and team members while integrating with Digital Rebellion apps and services. Kollaborate Server allows you to host the platform in-house on your own servers and storage. To find out more, see the Kollaborate Server overview or register for the free cloud trial (Server trials are available on request).

Posted by Jon Chappell on Apr 28 2020 to DR News, Front Page News, Kollaborate
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Kollaborate Server 3.0.2 pre-release available with improved Docker integration

We've now got a pre-release version of our self-hosted workflow platform, Kollaborate Server 3.0.2, with significant improvements to the Docker scripts. We've tested it internally but need some extra feedback on how the Docker scripts work in certain environments.

Docker changes

  • Environment variables have been moved to a separate config.env file to make future updates simpler
  • LetsEncrypt integration allows you to easily setup SSL encryption
  • A proxy is now used to route HTTP and Websocket data to the correct services, increasing the compatibility of Synced Sessions with certain firewalls / network configurations
  • Kollaborate Server now has a local mail server for sending emails directly from the server, although you'll still need to setup things like SPF, DMARC, reverse DNS records, etc, at the domain level in order for emails to get past spam filters.
  • Improved performance when macOS is the host OS
  • Fixed an issue where special characters may not display correctly
  • Fixed an issue where thumbnails may not display

Other changes

  • Deleted files and projects can now be restored for up to 30 days, up from 14
  • Deleted file events now appear on the History page for a project (only project admins can see this)
  • You can customize the port that the websocket server listens on and allow Kollaborate to connect to it over web ports (80 or 443) if it's running through a proxy. Connecting through standard web ports increases compatibility with firewall and network configurations. (Note: our apps currently assume the websocket port is always 8000; we will be releasing updated versions of our apps shortly that respect the new settings.)
  • Fixed an issue where folder link recipients couldn't view comments in certain situations
  • Various minor backend tweaks

See the release notes and setup guide for information on installing from scratch or upgrading from a previous version.

Kollaborate is an essential cloud workflow platform that allows you to share files with clients and team members while integrating with Digital Rebellion apps and services. Kollaborate Server allows you to host the platform in-house on your own servers and storage. To find out more, see the Kollaborate Server overview or register for the free cloud trial (Server trials are available on request).

Posted by Jon Chappell on Mar 23 2020 to Kollaborate, Front Page News, DR News
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Kollaborate Server 3.0.1 - Docker integration, hide comments, file pinning and more

Last week we released Kollaborate Server 3.0.1 - a major update to our self-hosted workflow platform.

Docker integration

Both Kollaborate Server and Kollaborate Encoder are now integrated with Docker, allowing them to be run in a container. We know some of our customers in the past had difficulty getting everything setup, so integrating with Docker allows for considerably simpler and faster installation.

In the next update, we are planning to make the software Linux-only, so Docker will become the only way to run the software on a Mac or Windows computer. For now, customers on macOS/Windows can use the latest version on their existing installations but will need to switch over to Docker in order to use the next version. We recommend all new installations on macOS / Windows to be via Docker. (Linux users have the choice of installing manually or via Docker.)

For more information on the Docker integration and converting an existing installation to use Docker, see the installation guide.

Hide comments from certain users

You can now choose to hide others' comments when creating a link or when editing permissions for a team member. This means the person can only view comments they made and replies to those comments.

File pinning

Pinning a file or folder makes sure it always displays at the top of the Files page, regardless of how files are sorted. This can be useful to highlight important files to your team.

Mark as Viewed / Unviewed

You can now manually mark a file as viewed or unviewed by you.

Better searching

Advanced Search now populates your current search when you go back to it, so it can be edited or tweaked.

Additionally, we've added new criteria for you to search against: Tag Value, Is Pinned, Version Title, Status Text, File Workflow, Color, Is Alias, Viewed by Me.

SVG logos

You can now upload your company logo as an SVG. Vector SVGs are now our recommended logo format to ensure your logo always looks crisp regardless of screen size or DPI.

Task improvements

Task descriptions are now optional and tasks no longer have to have a due date.

Higher quality encoding beta

We're testing new encoding settings that both improve quality and lower file size, at the expense of compatibility with very old devices (>8 years old). Higher quality encoding can be enabled on a per-user basis by visiting http://[your site]/beta .

Kollaborate is an essential cloud workflow platform that allows you to share files with clients and team members while integrating with Digital Rebellion apps and services. Kollaborate Server allows you to host the platform in-house on your own servers and storage. To find out more, see the Kollaborate Server overview or register for the free cloud trial (Server trials are available on request).

Posted by Jon Chappell on Jan 20 2020 to Kollaborate, DR News, Front Page News
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Kollaborate 3.0.1 - Hide comments from certain users, file pinning, higher quality encoding and more

Kollaborate 3.0.1 is now live on the cloud. Here's what's new:

Hide comments from certain users

You can now choose to hide others' comments when creating a link or when editing permissions for a team member. This means the person can only view comments they made and replies to those comments.

File pinning

Pinning a file or folder makes sure it always displays at the top of the Files page, regardless of how files are sorted. This can be useful to highlight important files to your team.

Mark as Viewed / Unviewed

You can now manually mark a file as viewed or unviewed by you.

Better searching

Advanced Search now populates your current search when you go back to it, so it can be edited or tweaked.

Additionally, we've added new criteria for you to search against: Tag Value, Is Pinned, Version Title, Status Text, File Workflow, Color, Is Alias, Viewed by Me.

SVG logos

You can now upload your company logo as an SVG. Vector SVGs are now our recommended logo format to ensure your logo always looks crisp regardless of screen size or DPI.

Task improvements

Task descriptions are now optional and tasks no longer have to have a due date.

Higher quality encoding beta

When we first launched the site in 2013, the biggest factor affecting viewing experience was CPU processing power - even on desktop computers - so our proxies are optimized to decode quickly and not cause the CPU to spike too much.

However, since then devices and browsers have become much more optimized at playing video. If we sacrifice some compatibility with very old devices (such as the iPad 2 from 2011) we can produce better quality video at lower file sizes.

Because it only affects devices that are 8 or so years old, we're not expecting it to have a big compatibility impact, but we're running it as a beta just in case. You can opt in to the beta here.

Better technical data gathering

A feature that's not visible to users is much better logging of technical data at our end. This allows us to respond better to usage spikes, errors and fine-tune the site to ensure everything stays fast. We have plans to optimize things even further over the next few months.

Kollaborate is an essential cloud workflow platform that allows you to share files with clients and team members while integrating with Digital Rebellion apps and services. To find out more, see the overview or register for the free trial.

Posted by Jon Chappell on Dec 5 2019 to DR News, Front Page News, Kollaborate
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Kollaborate Server 3.0 - redesigned UI, Documents, Transcripts, Servers page and more

Recently we released Kollaborate Server 3.0, a major update to our self-hosted workflow platform. This follows on from the release of Kollaborate 3.0 on the cloud version of the site.

New UI

We've made many changes to improve the user interface, the most significant of which is the vertical navigation bar which is designed to balance out the interface and place your content closer to the center of the screen.

If you find yourself needing more horizontal space, hover over the Kollaborate logo at the top left and click the arrow that appears to collapse the navigation bar. The navigation bar will automatically collapse by itself on small displays or when you resize your browser window.

Documents

While video is the most popular format used on the site, our customers also upload many other file types such as MS Word and PowerPoint documents. The only way to view these files in the past was to download them.

Now Kollaborate has a specific Document file type that supports file extensions like PDF, DOC, DOCX, XLS, XLSX, PPT, PPTX, ODT, ODP. These files will now show thumbnails and be viewable directly in the browser once converted by our servers.

Leaving a comment on a document now tags that comment with the current page number and clicking on a comment will immediately take you to that page.

New Servers page

Encoding server configuration has been moved to its own separate page of the Admin Area.

Moving encoding servers to their own page allows us to offer more settings and features in future, including Kollaborate Hybrid Cloud, which will allow you to offset some of your encoding and other tasks to our servers. We plan to launch this feature in the near future.

Transcript tab

Add transcripts to your videos either manually or by importing SRT or VTT captions. Export as SRT, VTT or plain text. Captions will appear automatically over your video.

The cloud version of the site has a beta of our machine learning-powered automatic transcription feature. Because this is still a beta and is regularly undergoing changes, we're not making it available to self-hosted customers just yet but plan to in future once things have stabilized a bit more.

Customizable file columns

Columns in List view on the Files page can now be resized or dragged to change their order. You can also right-click to hide them or show additional columns. You can now, for example, show the number of comments a file has next to its name and sort the list by this field.

Advanced Search

Advanced Search has been completely overhauled to be more powerful. Use criteria like file size, type or width to narrow down your search. You can even locate files with specific words in their transcript.

Overhauled image viewer

Images can now be zoomed and navigated with a lot more control than before. Annotations can be drawn over the image at any zoom level.

Version names

Versions can be given custom names like "Rough Cut" or "Fine Cut". To do this, click the purple number next to the filename to view all of the versions, then right-click a version and select Rename Version.

Comment attachments

Even though you can leave comments at specific timecode positions and draw over a video, sometimes that isn't enough to get your point across, so you can now attach files to comments. So you can say "I want the color to look like this" and attach a photo, rather than trying to describe it.

This release also contains hundreds of small tweaks, bug fixes and improvements.

Kollaborate is an essential cloud workflow platform that allows you to share files with clients and team members while integrating with Digital Rebellion apps and services. Kollaborate Server allows you to host the platform in-house on your own servers and storage. To find out more, see the Kollaborate Server overview or register for the free cloud trial (Server trials are available on request).

Posted by Jon Chappell on Sep 11 2019 to DR News, Front Page News, Kollaborate
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Kollaborate 3.0 - AI transcription, new UI, Documents, customizable file columns and more

Kollaborate 3.0 is out now on the cloud, which is a major update to our workflow platform that both delivers new features and sets a foundation for future features to build upon.

AI transcription (Beta)

We're using machine learning technology to create transcripts of the spoken audio in your videos. Kollaborate will automatically highlight the current sentence as the video plays and you can click on sentences to jump to that point in the video.

Kollaborate uses the transcript to create automatic captions below the video and you can even export them as a separate file in common formats like SRT or VTT.

Best of all, this technology is completely self-contained on our servers. Privacy is extremely important to us so we wanted a solution that protected our users' data and did not share it with third-parties. We needed a solution that would also work for our self-hosted customers, some of whom host in environments with no external internet connection.

While it would have been trivial from an engineering perspective to integrate with something like Google or Amazon's speech-to-text technology like our competitors do, those services do not meet this criteria. After a lot of investigation and some code contributions, we finally settled on Mozilla's DeepSpeech. This is a more complex solution to the problem but it gives us maximum flexibility and the ability to finely tailor the technology to fit our customers' specific use-cases.

Our competitors charge extra for transcription and limit the number of hours per month you can transcribe. Using DeepSpeech allows us to make our transcription service free and unlimited. Transcribe as many files as you like for no extra cost and the only limitation is how quickly our servers can process the queue.

Because our speech models are still being refined, we're calling this a beta so that customer expectations are aligned correctly. You can read more details about the situations the model performs best at here, but the short explanation is that content like podcasts and voiceovers will currently return the best results. That's not to say that the transcription feature can't be used in other situations, but the technology is likely to make more mistakes. Over time we will expand the number of situations in which it performs well.

We're building our models on both open source data and data that more reflects our customers' use-cases. You can help improve transcription by correcting any mistakes and then clicking the Learn button. We don't use your data without permission so it is only used when the Learn button is clicked, and you can specify if we can use the entire file or just the sentences you corrected.

The audio of the file then gets cut up into pieces, given a random filename and uses the transcript you provided for training. We don't share your original audio with anyone and once it's part of the model the audio can't be extracted back in its original form.

Another way you can help is by contributing your voice to Mozilla's Common Voice project. This is a public domain speech dataset used by Kollaborate, Firefox and a variety of other projects to create open and privacy-conscious speech technology. All voice data is useful, but especially when it comes from women and non-Americans, who are currently underrepresented in Common Voice's dataset.

New UI

We've made many changes to improve the user interface, the most significant of which is the vertical navigation bar which is designed to balance out the interface and place your content closer to the center of the screen.

If you find yourself needing more horizontal space, hover over the Kollaborate logo at the top left and click the arrow that appears to collapse the navigation bar. The navigation bar will automatically collapse by itself on small displays or when you resize your browser window.

Documents

While video is the most popular format used on the site, our customers also upload many other file types such as MS Word and PowerPoint documents. The only way to view these files in the past was to download them.

Now Kollaborate has a specific Document file type that supports file extensions like PDF, DOC, DOCX, XLS, XLSX, PPT, PPTX, ODT, ODP. These files will now show thumbnails and be viewable directly in the browser once converted by our servers.

Leaving a comment on a document now tags that comment with the current page number and clicking on a comment will immediately take you to that page.

Customizable file columns

Columns in List view on the Files page can now be resized or dragged to change their order. You can also right-click to hide them or show additional columns. You can now, for example, show the number of comments a file has next to its name and sort the list by this field.

Advanced Search

Advanced Search has been completely overhauled to be more powerful. Use criteria like file size, type or width to narrow down your search. You can even locate files with specific words in their transcript.

Overhauled image viewer

Images can now be zoomed and navigated with a lot more control than before. Annotations can be drawn over the image at any zoom level.

Version names

Versions can be given custom names like "Rough Cut" or "Fine Cut". To do this, click the purple number next to the filename to view all of the versions, then right-click a version and select Rename Version.

Comment attachments

Even though you can leave comments at specific timecode positions and draw over a video, sometimes that isn't enough to get your point across, so you can now attach files to comments. So you can say "I want the color to look like this" and attach a photo, rather than trying to describe it.

Other changes

  • Three files now upload simultaneously, which should make uploading large batches faster
  • The Files page has been overhauled to update dynamically without page refreshes. This should improve the speed of file browsing.
  • Share a folder directly from its file page
  • The page footer shows how many files / items are on a page
  • Lots of small tweaks and bug fixes

Coming soon

  • Kollaborate Archive - Cloud archival of your camera media and project files - entering beta soon
  • Video/audio comments - Leave audio or video comments without typing - opt-in available soon
  • Kollaborate Server 3.0 - Self-hosted version of Kollaborate 3.0 - coming in the next 2-3 weeks
  • Kollaborate Hybrid Cloud - Launching in conjunction with Kollaborate Server 3.0

Kollaborate is an essential cloud workflow platform that allows you to share files with clients and team members while integrating with Digital Rebellion apps and services. To find out more, see the overview or register for the free trial.

Posted by Jon Chappell on Jul 11 2019 to Front Page News, DR News, Kollaborate
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