HipChat's chatbot
HipChat's chatbot

Atlassian HipChat is capitalizing on artificial intelligence (AI) through a first-of-its-kind integration with Amazon Echo.

Alexa is the artificial intelligence (AI)-based personal assistant that consumers use through the Amazon Echo smart speaker.

The integration enables Alexa to initiate conversations proactively rather than simply respond to queries, as well as alert users when certain thresholds have been met or if irregularities arise.

"We're adding another ingredient to HipChat," said Steve Goldsmith, general manager for HipChat, the team chat application owned by San Francisco- and Sydney-based Atlassian. "We don't get into the habit of telling teams how to work, but offer a platform that helps teams work together."

The announcement comes on the eve of a Microsoft's big reveal of a Slack-like chat service called Microsoft Teams at an Office event tomorrow in New York City.

Improving Collaboration

Goldsmith said the new voice channel will help teams collaborate better. 

HipChat will channel Alexa through its SoftServe's VoiceMyBot, an app that fosters communication between bots via Amazon Echo. Users will be able to connect Alexa to their HipChat room and teach it commands to perform work tasks, such as checking a website’s status and deploying a previous version in case it’s down.

Users can add commands and integrations through Alexa’s open API. The VoiceMyBot app can also:

  • Provide voice notifications from all Atlassian HipChat Marketplace listings (without code integrations)
  • Build and deploy source code from voice command
  • Ping websites or web services
  • Send responses to messages
  • Give a brief summary of all new messages and site status updates

"Bringing voice into HipChat opens up a whole new amazing ecosystem," Goldsmith told CMSWire.

Video Updates

HipChat is also upping its video options with enhancements that double the simultaneous number of users from 10 to 20. It's also adding a push to talk and “raise your hand” function to reduce interruptions and provide users a way to ensure they get a say at the virtual table.

HipChat in August added video group chats — a move that officials promised would make it easier for geographically dispersed workers to see more of each other. HipChat already had video on a one-to-one scale. But the August upgrade facilitated group video conferences with as many as 10 people. 

Atlassian's wants its customers to use HipChat video rather than another video conferencing solution.

The video updates also include:

  • A left navigation bar to view who's on the call and add participants
  • Password-protecting video chats
  • The ability to push the space bar when people are ready to go off mute
  • Switching and pinning users so they can organize their own layout: click on a thumbnail and "pin" that person to the main stage 
  • "Raise your hand” function enables participants to let the group know that they have something to say
  • Ability to see the quality of a call and connection to  address poor service
  • Auto-hiding the toolbar, which used to obscure foreheads

"We want to make it a joyful useful experience for all participants," Goldsmith said. "We're trying to help them take action together and get things done quickly. We're trying to mirror that model of the meeting where they're all in the same room talking, to mirror that with video conferencing as close as you can."