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BlueJeans provides meeting controls via smartphones

BlueJeans is rolling out features that add more meeting controls to smartphones. The capabilities make mobile devices a more viable option for remote workers.

BlueJeans has started rolling out features that give smartphone users more control over online sessions. The company expects the capabilities to improve meeting participation by remote workers.

BlueJeans recently let smartphone users write on its video conference whiteboard and plans to add more controls for conference room systems in the second half of the year. Such features allow people to use a smartphone to participate in meetings when a PC or tablet is unavailable.

"Maybe [workers] will be home some days, maybe they need to go into the office some days, maybe they need to come to Enterprise Connect some days," BlueJeans vice president Zach Bosin said at the conference this week. "We've tried to invest to create consistency on any device."

The whiteboard feature, launched last fall, supports Android and iOS smartphones and lets up to 25 people work together on what BlueJeans calls a Collaboration Board. Other video conference vendors have also bolstered their whiteboard features to meet customer demand. A 2021 study by Metrigy found that 45% of companies were using the feature or planned to use it.

In the second half of the year, people with the BlueJeans mobile app on their smartphones will be able to start and join meetings on conference room gear, chat and raise their hands. Competitors Microsoft Teams and Zoom have similar features today.

The conference room feature originated from health concerns, as BlueJeans believed workers would want to touch as few surfaces as possible when they returned to the office, Bosin said. "Then we realized [the feature] could be an impactful way to engage and be inclusive."

A BlueJeans conference room meeting
BlueJeans will let workers use its virtual whiteboard and start conference-room meetings from their smartphones.

Beyond the smartphone updates, BlueJeans has added features for people using the Portal video-calling device from Meta, formerly Facebook. The capabilities include closed captioning, improved camera tracking, easier screen sharing and the use of Portal's hardware buttons to mute meetings.

BlueJeans has joined other vendors at this year's Enterprise Connect in discussing features that make it easier for remote employees in a hybrid workplace to do their job. Cisco said Webex conference room devices would support Apple Airplay, and people could join Webex meetings from Ford cars later this year. This month, Zoom plans to let companies display their meetings and webinars on the video-game streaming service Twitch to help firms reach a broader audience.

Mike Gleason is a reporter covering unified communications and collaboration tools. He previously covered communities in the MetroWest region of Massachusetts for the Milford Daily NewsWalpole TimesSharon Advocate and Medfield Press. He has also worked for newspapers in central Massachusetts and southwestern Vermont and served as a local editor for Patch. He can be found on Twitter at @MGleason_TT.

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