BlueJeans Video Chat Aims To Bring Virtual Water Chiller Discussions To Remote Workers, Telecom News, ET Telecom

By Paresh Dave

Businesses are struggling to recreate the haphazard interactions in the office as many teams continue to work remotely due to the pandemic, but they may soon have a new option to try and bridge the gap.

BlueJeans, the video chat app from Verizon Communications Inc, announced Monday that it will begin testing a feature called Spaces, or virtual rooms where people as 3D cartoon avatars can hang out, hear conversations and join them.

Rivals, including Zoom Video Communications Inc and Microsoft Corp, have also developed features to promote spontaneous conversation in their chat tools. But BlueJeans’ planned offering, which is also available in a 2D version with headshots replacing avatars, is among the most advanced.

Verizon said it has developed a new graphics rendering system from scratch to make the Spaces feature work on mobile and desktop devices.

Guest customers will test the feature in the fourth quarter, BlueJeans said.

Users can press the space bar on their keyboard to start speaking in a space, while others can navigate to hear, the sound being louder the closer people get in the customizable virtual setting. People can also go to a private Huddle for more sensitive chats or define themselves as ‘do not disturb’.

Users may end up dismissing features as fancy or too cumbersome to handle all day. But BlueJeans said survey data showed workers are eager to resume so-called casual conversations in the workplace.

The hope is that the visual and audio cues in Spaces will make people feel more connected to online work sites.

“We are one step closer to creating a truly unified digital work experience,” Verizon Business chief executive Tami Erwin said in a statement.

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