Mattermost Calls

Introducing Voice Calling and Screen Sharing in Channels

Voice calling and screen sharing help bridge the communication gap for developer teams and keep collaboration moving forward quickly.

Coming from a traditional office environment, the ways of working tend to approximate in-person rituals. As the common adage goes “we want what we can’t have.” When you’re in the office together, the hierarchy of communication usually goes something like this: in-person > video > audio > text. But when you take a team and spread them across the world, a preference for synchronous, in-person conversations can drastically slow down collaboration.

Flipping the script on developer collaboration

Coming from a distributed environment, being time-flexible is just as important as being location-flexible so working asynchronously is standard. For example, my team of 12 people is spread across nine time zones! So that begs the question: What if we flip the script on communication priorities? 

We use a “digital by default” escalation model for collaboration at Mattermost. Documents and messages are the default method, and in-person meetings are reserved for when nothing else will suffice. The communication methods escalate as necessary in the exact opposite order as the approximation mindset: text > audio > video > in-person.

We believe this resonates with our core audience: developers. That is why we have been investing in audio communication as the next level beyond text and I am thrilled to announce that voice calls and screen sharing are now available to everyone in public beta! We focused on use cases that benefit from audio without needing escalation to video, and here are some examples.

“Quick call?”

For times when it’s easier to talk than type, it now just takes one click (or tap on the mobile app) to continue a conversation in context with talking. No separate app to sign in, no new windows popping up, no ringing, just start talking.

“My door is always open!”

A weekly or monthly office hour is a great way to encourage connection with other colleagues and teams. Now, you can see which channels are currently having a call and who is on it. You can also see the comment thread from before you joined the call, as well as reply using features that you already know and love such as emoji reactions and @ mentions.

“Let me show you something…”

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Being able to show something to someone else bridges a huge communication gap. Screen sharing within Channels lets you quickly share for pair coding, soliciting feedback, or demonstrating a UX issue you’re running into. 

“Meet me in the war room”

Service disruptions and security vulnerabilities are a matter of when — not if. It is critical to help war room participants resolve them as quickly as possible. Now, teams can hop on and off a call freely, even if it lasts multiple days as people switch shifts, all within the same secure environment you already trust.

Let us know what you think!

Give voice calling and screen sharing in Mattermost a try today and let us know what you think! We’re looking forward to hearing your feedback and learning how we can improve your experience.

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Ian Tao is a Senior Product Manager at Mattermost. He's driven to explore how technology shapes our lives in areas such as communication, education, and commerce. Prior to Mattermost, Ian was the founder/CEO of Sesame (YC '15), Product Manager at Shopify, and a University of Waterloo alum (Mechatronics Engineering '13).

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