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Atlassian Acquires Open Source Video Conferencing Company BlueJimp To Power HipChat’s Video Chat

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Atlassian, the company behind developer and collaboration tools like JIRA, Confluence and HipChat, today announced that it has acquired the video conferencing service BlueJimp.

BlueJimp, which is headquartered in Strasbourg, France, is the company behind Jitsi, a popular open-source chat and video conferencing tool. BlueJimp’s technology will replace the current video chat technology that powers Atlassian’s HipChat video features, both in Atlassian’s hosted and on-premise versions.

Atlassian promises to continue to support and develop the open source version of Jitsi going forward. “Supporting the Jitsi open source project will allow great minds from around the world to advance video for the workplace faster than we would be able to on our own,” said Bernardo de Albergaria, Atlassian’s vice president and general manager for its recently formed Collaboration business unit. “This is an exciting new venture for Atlassian that will enrich HipChat in ways that haven’t yet been imagined.”

Jitsi’s WebRTC-compatible Videobridge product is likely what Atlassian was mostly interested in. It’s a scalable video router that makes it easier for developers to build video chat services with multiple participants. WebRTC, after all, should make it easier for Atlassian to scale its video services and should make it easier — and more cost-efficient — for the company to offer its on-premise version of HipChat.

While WebRTC support is now built into most modern browsers, it only offers developers most of the basic functionality for setting up peer-to-peer video conferences. More advanced features like chats with multiple participants still require an intermediary server, though. What’s interesting about Jitsi’s technology is that it focuses on relaying video instead of mixing it. Thanks to this, a single server can support hundreds of thousands of participants, Atlassian argues.

As Atlassian’s de Albergaria tells me, one of the first new features current HipChat users will see thanks to this acquisition is support for video conferences with multiple participants. Currently, HipChat only offers one-to-one video.

“We were the first team communication tool to bring 1-1 video to market, the first to provide native apps for all major platforms (including the new Apple Watch) and we aim to be the first to launch native group video,” de Alabergaria said. He also noted that Jitsi offers audio mixing and recording functionality, “which opens up a slew of new capabilities we can explore bringing to HipChat users over time.”