Top 5 Updates in the Atos Unify Office winter 2020 release

I think it's fair to say we are all looking forward to a new year. A new year that can deliver hope, unity, and healing rather than the previous months of bad news and uncertainty.
So as many of us embark on what might be the strangest holiday season of recent times, Atos would like to provide a story of dependability.
You can depend upon the speed, agility, and innovation coming from Unify Office by RingCentral product releases. If you are new to Unify Office or have never looked at release notes before, we recommend taking a quick look at the Unify blog for further details. This blog is a great place to start to understand the highlights of the winter release.

Update 1: Enhanced video meetings security

Keep meetings secure and productive with Waiting Rooms.

Unify Office by Ringcentral

This year has been a rollercoaster of workplace transformation. Seemingly overnight, the traditional workplace was upended as millions of people shifted from office cubicles to kitchen tables.

If anything has been a saving grace this year for organizations, though, it’s the video meeting. But as we have increased our dependence on video meetings, the ability to keep meetings secure and private has also grown. Unwanted guests can often stop meetings in their tracks when participants discuss sensitive topics.

Securing video meetings

To prevent malicious disruption and maintain video meetings' security, Unify Office by RingCentral has released Waiting Rooms for video meetings. Waiting Rooms provides meeting hosts with full control over their video meetings, allowing them to manage who can enter the meeting and when.

New features in Waiting Rooms

Hosts have a range of controls when it comes to Waiting Rooms:

  1. Keep meetings locked until the host is ready

Video meetings typically launch when the first participant joins the call. With Waiting Rooms enabled, however, participants wait in a virtual staging area until the host starts the meeting. Once the meeting starts, everyone enters at the same time.

Waiting Rooms can be enabled by the host when scheduling a meeting in the Unify Office app or any calendar integration.

unify office by ringcentral security waiting room

      2. Specify groups of participants who can join

Unify Office video meetings provide hosts with full control over the types of participants can enter the meeting. For example, hosts can specify that only users from a certain domain name can enter the meeting or choose to only allow employees from a certain department in the organization to join.

This allows managers and project leaders to control the conversation and prevent important information leaks.

     3. Admit or deny participants during a meeting

If a meeting has already begun, the host can screen whoever enters the Waiting Room and choose whether they want to admit or deny participants. This ensures the meeting remains secure even if a meeting link is shared with others unintentionally.

unify office by ringcentral participants

     4. Move participants into a Waiting Room

Hosts can also return participants to a Waiting Room during a meeting. For example, if sensitive information is about to be shared among key stakeholders, the host may move participants back into the Waiting Room until ready to continue. Similarly, hosts can also move participants back into the Waiting Room if they were admitted accidentally.

unify office by ringcentral meeting

When to use Waiting Rooms

Waiting Rooms is more than just a security feature. It also streamlines meetings in many scenarios, including when:

  • Teams or leaders need to have a private side-bar conversation
  • Healthcare providers want to host multiple tele-health appointments
  • Teachers want to host virtual office hours
  • Managers prefer to have an always-on video feed

Update 2: Dark Theme

The dark theme for the Unify Office by RingCentral app is finally here.

This feature was prioritized as a direct result of customer feedback - this feature is not only better on your eyes (and your phone battery) but it also looks rather elegant.

What is dark theme?

unify office by ringcentral dark theme

Dark theme essentially remaps the Unify Office app’s entire color palette (background, accents, icons, and fonts) for a more eye-friendly experience. Rather than a white background with black text, you can opt to have a black background with white text. Specifically, when you turn on the dark theme in your Unify Office app:

  • All white and other light colors in the app will instead appear as dark grey
  • Your text color will appear as white instead of black
  • The primary color of the app (blue) remains the same

To provide some context, all major operating systems today natively support a dark theme, and they all expose their user’s theme choice to the apps that run on them. This is the result of the industry philosophy that all apps need both a light and dark theme because people work in a wide range of environments. We also support allowing our users to automatically set their preferred theme by simply following their OS settings (more on this below).

How to enable dark theme?

Depending on whether you are using the Unify Office app on your desktop, in your browser, or on your phone, there are several ways to enable the dark theme.

To choose the dark theme, simply open Settings, select Themes, and choose Dark from the options.

  • Note: “Follow system settings” is already available for iOS 13+, Android 9+, and the web app, which means if you’ve already enabled dark theme in your OS, the Unify Office app will automatically adopt it. This setting is turned on by default for supported platforms, but you can still manually change to your desired theme.
    • This feature will be available soon for our desktop apps.

unify office by ringcentral fark theme enable

CAPTION: To enable dark theme on your desktop or web app, click on Settings (the gear icon), then Themes, then select Dark.

Update 3: Improve security through greater external guest control 

If your teams work with clients and partners, they have probably needed to invite external guests into your Unify Office meetings before. After all, by allowing external guests, your teams can easily communicate and collaborate without having to ever leave the app. However, more external guests can mean an increased risk that proprietary or sensitive information is accidentally shared. That’s why we improved the administrator controls for better management of external guests within the app.

unify office by ringcentral

  1. Allow conversations with guests: administrators can choose who has the ability to invite external guests.

unify office by ringcentral

  1. Allow guests to start conversations with my users: administrators can choose whether users of their accounts can be invited by external guests or not.

With these two controls working in conjunction, administrators can apply maximum control over their users’ ability to invite guests or be invited. These controls will not only give administrators best-in-class flexibility to fit existing workflows but also provide improvements in overall security for your Unify Office account.

Select message data export by type

Administrators often need specific insights into the message data of their users, which means having the ability to set parameters to narrow down their search. The upgraded message data export tool for the Unify Office app makes this easy.

By clicking on “Request”, administrators are now able to select the type of export they want as well as the timeframe of the export.

unify office by ringcentral export

Alternatively, the administrator may choose “Selected users” or “Selected teams” from the
“Type of data” drop-down menu to request an export of selected users or teams.
Up to 10 selected users or teams can be exported each time.

When selecting specific users or teams, the export tool will only export data relevant to these settings, reducing the amount of unnecessary data being exported.

Update 4: New video layouts - welcoming film strip mode

unify office by ringcetral layout

Meeting participants can switch their view of the video gallery to one of two new layouts: Film Strip and Active Speaker. When a meeting host switches to Filmstrip layout, the Host’s video is the main video. A host can select any video as the main video. If any feed is hidden from the strip, a scroll icon is available at the end. Any user can scroll the strip on either side to view the other available feeds. Scrolling the feed does not affect the display of other users.

The film strip mode is great for users who want to focus on who is speaking/presenting and reduce potential distraction. This is especially useful in education, training, and learning environments where the speaker needs users to focus on who is speaking/presenting while also being aware of other users in the meeting.

This also helps those users who want to address ‘Zoom Fatigue’ (Mental & visual tiredness experienced by users in online meetings). This fatigue occurs because users signal attentiveness by staring at the video of several other users for prolonged periods of time. Lastly, when using Filmstrip mode, Unify Office users will typically consume less bandwidth and processing power, as compared to the Grid Mode. This mode provides a better meeting experience for all the attendees.

Update 5: message data export

uo by ringcentral

The last update that we wanted to highlight in this blog is the message data export facility in the Unify Office desktop app. This allows company administrators to request exports of the company’s entire message history and adds a new ability to export the message history of a specific user or team.

This feature is particularly useful for administrators that need to export their messaging history - the new compliance export will allow them to export the history of the entire account. New features such as exporting only the history of a team or user are also added to improve the administration experience within the Unify Office App.

And that brings us to a close on our curation of the top 5 features in the Unify Office by RingCentral winter release. Please note that we have 100+ updates occurring on every release. To be introduced to the full detailed scope of all the updates please reach out to your Atos Account Manager. Of course, we will continue to gather your feedback and together build a stronger solution that provides an even greater experience..

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About Darren Gallagher

Global Director, Unify and Solutions Strategy Expert
Darren joined Unify in 2005 and has fulfilled several expert leadership roles in technology architecture, solution strategy and portfolio management. Darren currently is the Chair of the Unified Communications / Internet of Things Activity Group (IMTC). Darren is passionate about examining the nexus of collaboration and the digital workplace and improving productivity by augmenting how people interact with both data (analytics) and things (IoT). Prior to joining Unify, Darren had systems engineering roles at Cisco and Cable & Wireless Communications in the UK.

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