By David Kung, Director of Product Marketing – Bluescape

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Video conferencing provides a communication channel for meetings, but one-way screen sharing falls short of fulfilling the real needs of hybrid and remote teams.

Current solutions allow you to only view a single screen at a time with no way to meaningfully interact with the content. As a result, meetings often get bogged down as everyone waits for their turn to present their work.

Our goal at Bluescape, an AWS ISV Partner with the Digital Workplace Competency, is to make virtual meetings as effective and seamless as working together side-by-side. This means empowering people to freely communicate, share content, and interact with no limitations.

To do this, we’re fundamentally changing the way content is shared in video meetings. Amazon Chime SDK provides the real-time communications components that enable audio, video, and screen share capabilities.

This post describes Bluescape’s approach to collaboration, its integration with Amazon Chime SDK and potential benefits.

Flipping the Paradigm

When you screen share, you are mirroring your screen into a call. Bluescape works differently, by placing your call into a virtual workspace where instead of just seeing one person’s screen, you have a full canvas of content available in your meeting to explore, interact with, and annotate.

This paradigm shift allows distributed teams to bring their meetings and all of their content, data, and workstreams into a “single pane of glass” to accelerate planning and decision making. By removing the limitations of screen sharing, teams can more effectively share and create knowledge. Distributed teams can collaborate like they are in the same room.

Figure 1 - Conducting a video call in a Bluescape workspace.

Figure 1 – Conducting a video call in a Bluescape workspace.

“Screen sharing, alone, is not collaboration,” says Gary Kayye, Director of THE rAVe Agency. “Bluescape is a superior experience for true video and meeting collaboration.”

Bluescape is a visual platform that brings everyone–and everything–together by providing advanced whiteboarding, presentation, and annotation capabilities. Teams can upload and synchronize playback of videos, co-browse web content, collaborate on documents, and video chat in a secure, infinite, and virtual workspace.

Powered by the Amazon Chime SDK

To make this possible, Bluescape built upon the Amazon Chime SDK to enable video calls in Bluescape. This integration delivers tremendous benefits to users by enabling advanced collaboration capabilities in tandem with secure, high-quality audio and video conferencing.

As a result, customers enjoy meetings that deliver more interaction and engagement while costing less than existing solutions.
Figure 2 – Amazon Chime SDK Bluescape integration component view.

Figure 2 – Amazon Chime SDK Bluescape integration component view.

The integration is centered around a node.js uc-connector component that acts as a central hub to enable video calls in Bluescape. It interfaces with Outlook and MySQL for scheduled meetings and authorization, while an interface to MongoDB manages the storage of meeting and session data.

Launching, joining, and responding to meeting events are managed between the uc-connector, Amazon Chime SDK, and Amazon Simple Notification Service (Amazon SNS), with meetings being instantiated across Bluescape’s web client for end-user devices and their wall client for in-room single and multi-screen installations.

Why Amazon Chime SDK?

Bluescape previously relied on a third-party technology vendor to enable video meetings in a workspace. The product team was in need of a more cost-effective solution with high scalability, reliability, and low-level access to functions to create a more tightly integrated experience.

Key advantages of the Amazon Chime SDK included extremely fine-grained control over audio and video streams, and the complete ability to customize the design to create a seamless integration into end user experience. The engineering team found the SDK easy to use and was able to bring up the entire integration without any support.

Bluescape’s integration with Amazon Chime SDK allows both scheduled and ad-hoc calls, while providing additional functionality for future work.

Customers will soon be able to navigate across multiple workspaces while still being connected to the same video call. You can even have multiple leaders within the same workspace, each conducting a private call with their followers.

Solution Benefits

Bluescape customers include the intelligence community, federal agencies, and leaders in technology, media, and higher education. They are using Bluescape to unite their remote and hybrid teams to create automobiles, apparel, and animated films.

Studios can virtually edit and produce movies, enabling production to occur anywhere and at any time. Universities can move to distance learning with a virtual classroom that supports versatile many-to-many interactions and supports multiple learning styles.

Integrating video calls into Bluescape creates a collaboration experience far superior to traditional video conferencing and screen sharing.

  • Increase efficiency: All of the content you need is visible and readily accessible in the workspace, reducing the hassles of finding content and the switching costs of swapping screen sharing permissions.
  • Improve productivity and engagement: Teams can collaborate in real time during a meeting instead of being an audience to a video call. Bluescape capabilities include whiteboarding, co-editing shared documents, annotation and markup, leaving comments, and directing @mentions.
  • Reduce bandwidth consumption: Bluescape is more bandwidth-efficient than screen sharing as users can view and interact with content in the workspace instead of constantly streaming video of a remote device.

“The ability to bring video into the same place as your content is the future of collaboration,” says Nick Swayne, James Madison University X-Labs Director. “Bluescape’s video integration makes content and remote collaborators first-class citizens in the meeting.”

Conclusion

Bringing the Amazon Chime SDK into Bluescape perfectly aligns with Bluescape’s goals and infrastructure. Bluescape relies on the robustness, security, and scalability of AWS to provide secure, virtual workspaces to our customers.

Our cloud architecture is based on the AWS stack and provides an open and configurable ecosystem, enabling integrations with AWS applications and other third-party tools and services.

If you want to learn more about how Bluescape can help you realize your vision for a better collaboration environment, visit us at bluescape.com.

The content and opinions in this blog are those of the third-party author and AWS is not responsible for the content or accuracy of this post.

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