Atlassian has launched a 'complete team communication solution' called Stride. The product combines instant messaging, voice and video conferencing and turns conversations into actions with integrated collaboration tools.
Stride also gives users a new feature that easily removes unnecessary noise when a task requires their undivided concentration.
Atlassian's objective is to enhance face-to-face conversation, reduce excess noise and integrate actionable outcomes within a single platform.
"Stride is our redefinition of team communications," Stride's general manager Steve Goldsmith told Computerworld UK. "It's a complete solution that covers messaging, voice, video, audio and collaboration tools to move products forward."
Problems of collaboration tools
The growth of collaboration software such as Slack and Microsoft Teams may herald the death of email, but information overload and the distractions of constant instant messages and notifications have brought new productivity problems.
The average Slack user spends 10 hours per weekday on the platform, 140 minutes of which is active usage. A lot of that is time wasted, both intentionally and unavoidably.
Stride allows users to escape the interference with a feature called Focus Mode, which mutes all notifications and messages except for those sent to you directly.
Team members are alerted to what the user is working on while they're away. Once they return, the user is shown all the decisions made and tasks taken while they were away.
The proliferation of different tools is another barrier to workplace efficiency. Atlassian produces 15 teamwork products of its own, and most of its customers use a combination of its messaging app HipChat, team planning and project management tool JIRA and content creation and sharing platform Confluence.
"There's just too many channels," says Goldsmith. "With the proliferation of noise across lots of different channels it's hard to figure out what channel your team might be communicating in."
Another feature called Meetings is built into Stride so users can take a conversation from the keyboard to the camera in seconds without leaving the platform. Users are instantly notified of the transition. When they enter Meetings they can access features such as one-to-one video, voice calling, screen sharing and remote control access
Atlassian has a 15-year history of producing teamwork software and has integrated some of their main tools into Stride.
Users of collaboration tools typically have to scroll through streams of messages to find the information that they need. Stride lets them elevate certain messages of importance out of each conversation, and receive customisable notifications to overcome over-collaboration by giving the user a choice on the amount of information they receive.
A functionality called Actions and Decisions has been developed to make it easier to locate and act on key information buried within thousands of messages. Users can mark any message as an Action or Outcome. It's then added to the software's sidebar for easy access.
Other features include rich text editing, image annotation, markdown support, file embedding, and custom emojis. Stride also offers secure file sharing and two-factor authentication.
Stride is being gradually rolled out to existing HipChat Cloud customers before a full release. The product comes in a free version and a $3 per user standard edition that ups the 25,000 message history and 5 GB file storage limits to unlimited and adds screen sharing guest access, advanced video and user management features.
Goldsmith says that there is no direct competitor to Stride that's currently on the market. Other collaboration tools have added further features to their original tools, but none have designed a single platform that every function built in from the start, the vendor says
"Because we've gone back to the drawing board here and built a brand new product, there isn't really a direct competitor that does exactly what we do," he says.
"We've redefined the capabilities in this space. There are plenty of what I'd call messaging products that compete with a portion of it and have added things like video, there's plenty of document collaboration products that let people work on products that have added things like chat, but there really is no direct 100 percent overlap product, which is intentional.
"There wasn't really anything in the market. Atlassian, as you've seen with Trello, has a history of making acquisitions when we need to really get into a market, and in this particular case there's nothing to buy. There's nobody that does what we're trying to do here, so we built our own."