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Atlassian promises frictionless, casual video encounters

HipChat escalates the face

Atlassian is adding group video to its HipChat service, but has promised that you can can hit the red button on overeager “collaborators”. For now, anyway.

The collaboration vendor has had one-to-one video in its HipChat product for a couple of years, but has reconfigured the service on the Jitsi technology it hoovered up last year.

One of the key additions to the revamped service is a "one-click" ability to set up group video conversations and screen sharing - without an additional extensions - said HipChat GM Steve Goldsmith, and the ability to patch in non-Hip Chat users.

The vendor claims that existing group video options involve tedious pfaffery with URLs, pin codes, or pricey kit, if you’re talking the pay options, or general flakiness if you’re talking “consumer products draged into the workplace”.

This fumbling about tends to put a brake on the very collaboration video could enable if it was just more more...spontaneous. At the same time, in Atlassian’s view, by running video out of HipChat, you’re taking all the existing collaboration structure your workgroup uses, and “escalating to the face”.

At the same time, he said, it would still be down to users whether they accept an invitation to a video chat, allaying fears that CEOs will immediately use the service to speak to the whole organisation RIGHT NOW THIS MINUTE.

Goldsmith said the new service would be rolled out directly to its HipChat Plus subscribers. It will also be integrated into the vendor’s appliance option for HipChat, which might be more enticing for those organisations keen to avoid their video conversations routing through the US and any interested agencies over there.

That said, Goldsmith insisted that content run over the system would be secure anyway, based as it is on DTLS/SRTP end to end encryption.

Speaking of listening in, some organisations, such as investment banks, might actually want to ensure all conversations are recordable and auditable. This isn’t possible in the current iteration, Goldsmith said.

But, he continued, “We own the platform top to bottom, and have the opportunity to play around with the possibilities.”

“We have the opportunity to specific experience for contract review, or for developers to do pair programming or code review,” he continued. Or indeed allow the more megalomaniac to bypass the accept call button? ®

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