Video-conferencing platform BlueJeans Network is bolstering its software with in-meeting features to help improve the work-from-home experience of its users and better position itself against rivals.
Since its acquisition by Verizon, BlueJeans has seen usage soar as video conferencing has become a staple for workers sent home during the pandemic; the company reported a 300 per cent increase in use compared to its pre Covid-19 average.
The new features unveiled today are a direct response to “rising customer demand for more natural collaboration,” the company said in a statement. The new changes fall into two categories: enhanced user security and moves to fight work-from-home (WFH) fatigue so remote workers can remain productive.
With a nod to security issues that have plagued other platforms since the start of the pandemic, BlueJeans now offers several tools meeting hosts can use to protect meetings.
These include additional authentication modes for restricting meeting access to invited participants only; AES-256 GCM encryption; screen-sharing capabilities; a new waiting room experience; and a meeting lock to stop unwanted guests from joining a call mid-meeting.
The AES-256 GCM encryption will apply to all video, audio and content in transit.
To combat the tedium that can arise from constant video calls, BlueJeans said it’s looking to simulate a more natural, in-person work experience to improve engagement and boost collaboration.
Participants on video calls will get new in-meeting interaction capabilities, including a “raise hand” option, hand clapping, thumbs up/down and “drop the mic” features. BlueJeans has also boosted emoji support within its chat function so “attendees can easily inject emotion or humour into their conversations.”
Other new features the company announced include user ability to choose their own blur density and upload a background image; BlueJeans is partnering with Shutterstock to provide users with pre-selected background images.
This is in addition to a meetings add-on that gives users an easily searchable post-meeting transcript, alongside a floating-view feature that lets attendees track a meeting conversation even when BlueJeans is not the primary app window on the desktop. Other features include better integration with Slack that automatically populates any private Slack channel with a Smart Meeting summary to share key meeting details.
In a statement, Jim Lundy, CEO of Aragon Research, argued that with video conferencing now a fundamental component of business success the BlueJeans changes are welcome.
“As video collaboration tools help the world stay connected during the pandemic, it’s crucial now more than ever that vendors remain diligent in delivering capabilities that proactively mitigate risks while optimising user experience,” Lundy said. “BlueJeans’ new security and user experience innovations balance security with ease of use to help organisations work securely and productively.”