HipChat: Video 'Central' to Collaboration
HipChat Video, built on Jitsi open-source video bridging technology, brings one-click group chats and content sharing to enterprise team collaboration.
If you're not a fan of video collaboration, you best be prepared to put your game face on and get ready for the camera anyway. Soon enough you'll find yourself involved in so many video collaboration sessions that chatting with your colleagues over video will seem as natural as gabbing with your officemates over lunch... or so the story goes.
This is not a new storyline, by any means. But the steady state of technology advancement does push it from the fantasy to the factual within the enterprise.
Earlier this week, for example, we heard about the new Acano-based Cisco Meeting Server, which lets workers using other vendors' video room platforms, desktop and mobile clients like Microsoft Skype for Business, or WebRTC-enabled browsers easily join in on meetings with colleagues sitting in conference rooms outfitted with Cisco video gear (see the No Jitter post, "Video Interoperability, Cisco Style"). And just today we learned how easy it now is to launch group video chats in HipChat, the pioneering team collaboration app from Atlassian, with its new HipChat Video platform announced today and offered at no extra cost for its HipChat Plus users.
I got a flavor of how simple group team chatting can be in a demo call with HipChat GM Steve Goldsmith. With just a click, there we were, virtually face to face, with no intermediary steps.
For the time being, this new HipChat group video calling functionality is limited to HipChat users engaged in team chats and not for external participants like me. But that guest capability will come, and the demo portal served well in giving me a sense of the one-click simplicity HipChat aims to provide for escalating a team's text chatting to a video conversation.
"The primary focus is on having teams taking action together, similar to you spinning your chair around in your office and saying, 'Hey, Bob, listen to this,'" Goldsmith said.
HipChat Video is a step improvement over the one-to-one video capability HipChat previously supported for teams. HipChat Video replaces that third-party functionality with group video technology from the Jitsi open-source video conferencing and chat platform that Atlassian took under wing last April when it acquired Blue Jimp, the "mastermind behind the Jitsi community."
With the Jitsi video bridging technology comes the ability to support group video chats within HipChat at scale, Goldsmith said. Speaking to that scalability, he noted that since the acquisition Jitsi has delivered more than one million video calls. As an open source platform, Jitsi "has been banged on so much and by so many different teams already," an essential proving ground for enterprise scalability, he added.
And that need to scale will come, if we're to believe the folks at Atlassian, Cisco, and so many others. "We believe video is a central part of team collaboration. It makes teams more productive, and video lets teams take action together," Goldsmith said.
And, as we heard from Andrew Heintz, manager IT, video and wireless engineering at energy provider Exelon, who shared his company's experiences for that "Video Interoperability, Cisco Style" post I mentioned earlier, video done well can make everybody "feel part of the conversation." And who doesn't want that?