Huge thanks to Andrei Soroker for his wonderful work creating the Sameroom integration, and also for contributing this guest blog post. If you’re a user or contributor with thoughts to share, please mail [email protected].
My name is Andrei – I run Sameroom, where we make chat interoperability easy (update: Sameroom was acquired by 8×8). I’m excited to announce the integration of Mattermost with Sameroom.io, allowing users of the open source Slack-alternative to connect to 21 different messengers, including Slack, Skype, and HipChat.
Let’s take a step back for a brief survey of the current business chat landscape – I’ll show why cross-platform and cross-instance interoperability is an important stepping stone in making chat a viable model for external communication.
Team chat has long been the internal collaboration approach of choice for technical teams. Traditionally, these teams have been small, closely-knit units within large organizations. Since corporate IT rarely, if ever, offered team chat as approved technology, each unit chose its own platform and used it under the radar.
After decades of quiet, the word got out. The number of team chat solutions mushroomed, seemingly overnight. VC and corporate investment in the space jumped from virtually zero to billions. The New York Times and The Economist announced the end of email.
Small, closely-knit teams, accustomed to email for anything external, began getting invites to other units’ collaboration solutions. There was excitement – they were right all along! – but also a feeling of the implacable undoing of everything that was right in the world.
Unlike email servers, various team chat services, and even isolated instances of the same type of service, generally don’t know how to work together—there is no “universal ether”, a protocol similar to SMTP, for chat. XMPP was a solid attempt at one, but it didn’t work out.
Lack of cross-team and cross-platform interoperability results in two fundamental problems. The first problem has to do with compliance – most corporate policies require all company-related communication to be retained on company-owned systems. Therefore, for every “guest access” scenario, one of the sides invariably violates its corporate policy.
The second problem is account creep – if, for every external project, every person in a tightly-knit team has to create and maintain another account that has to be monitored on desktop and mobile, it’s easy to see that this approach doesn’t scale.
We built Sameroom to fix these two problems. Sameroom makes it easy to create real-time, 2-way bridges (we call them “tubes”) between chatrooms belonging to different environments.
A tube connects two rooms or channels into a virtual “same room”. Tubes can be arranged in an arbitrary topology. Each room retains its own copy of chat history, making chat-based cross-company communication compliant.
Above: Six chatrooms, all connected into a virtual “same room”.
With Sameroom, account creep doesn’t happen at all: For every external project, a team can designate a channel shared with a channel in the service used by the other party.
Over the past few months, we’ve heard a steadily increasing choir of requests for an integration with Mattermost. Today, we’re happy to announce its general availability.
The integration is full-featured, and is actually superior to Slack’s in one important way: Files appear to be posted from the actual author, not “sameroom”.
Above: Files shared in Slack come from the “sameroom”, with actual author’s name appearing in a comment.
Above: Files shared in Mattermost come from the actual author.
In addition to cross-platform integrations, Sameroom makes it easy to share channels between different Mattermost instances – as Mattermost grows in popularity, it’s safe to assume there will be an increased need in Mattermost-to-Mattermost connectivity.
To get started with the Sameroom Mattermost integration, follow this URL: https://sameroom.io/integrations/mattermost-integrations.
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