It’s not square to be hip

Talking abou HipChat: the real-time, unified collaboration platform

JAXenter Editorial Team

JAXenter gets the inside story on the tool helping to up productivity in achingly cool startups around the globe.

There’s nothing more irritating than a group chat that rolls into a marathon session thanks to glitches and fuzzy audio. JAX talks to the team behind one solution for broken meetings, and more besides. 

JAX: What is HipChat?

HipChat is Atlassian’s secure, real-time unified collaboration platform for one-to-one and group chat for teams. Persistent chat rooms, video and audio calls, file sharing and screen sharing make for a dynamic communication environment whether teams are located in a room or distributed around the globe. More than 7,000 customers including Hipmunk, Quora, Pinterest, Wired, TED, and Fitbit use HipChat.

What was the motivation behind the creation of the project? Which problem does it solve?

The idea behind HipChat was inspired in 2008 when its three co-founders recognized that there was no single, easy-to-use chat product designed for the workplace. While Fortune 1000 companies could use expensive enterprise solutions such as IBM Sametime, most companies relied on consumer IM tools that lacked many of the features needed for real- time communication in the workplace. No affordable solution for small to medium-sized companies existed until HipChat came on the market.

HipChat offers a free version to support small teams and startups, but the product is different from consumer focused chat products in key ways because it’s built with teams and businesses in mind. Persistent chat rooms, automatic loading of all users within a company, and native apps to accommodate every operating system make it simple and easy for teams to stay connected, regardless of location or work style. HipChat also supports security and user-management requirements that companies need. Other features include unlimited chat rooms, free guest access, vertical tab notification for group and one-to-one chats, social @mentions, file sharing, and push notifications on mobile devices.

What would be a typical user case?

HipChat is often used by distributed teams that need an easy-to-use, real-time communication tool. HipChat users create group chat rooms for working on projects, communicating with their team, coordinating with clients, handling incidents, or releasing new products.

Teammates can chat one-to-one or in group chat rooms, and persistent chat rooms make it easy for remote or distributed workers to stay up to date on their own time. Teams can share files by dragging and dropping them into a chat room, or get in sync by sharing their screen.

HipChat’s API makes it easy to integrate with other software so teams can receive notifications about support tickets, build status, tweets, etc. within HipChat and chat about it in real-time.

How does the project work?

Teams can stay connected and build genuine consensus with face-to-face video chat and real-time screen sharing. Users can share ideas, code, and files with their teams in real-time. Group chat rooms can be used for individual projects, teams, or entire departments. Users can also start a one-to-one chat room with a coworker anytime.

Colleagues can stay connected whether they’re in the office or on the go using HipChat’s native Desktop, iOS and Android apps.

What is the current state of development? What is planned for the future?

In the last six months alone, HipChat’s team doubled in size and Atlassian plans to double it again by the end of the year with a heavy emphasis on R&D. You can expect to see a self-hosted version of HipChat and investment in more immersive forms of real-time communication coming down the pipeline soon.

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