6 updates in the Unify Office Summer Release

Another quarter has flown by as we look forward towards the latest updates in the summer release for Unify Office by RingCentral. These release updates were inspired by our collective need to make the most of hybrid working as we usher in longer days and warmer nights. As usual this release is packed with great feature improvements to enhance your experience internally and externally. Find more information in the Unify blog as well as look back at previous release notes. Here are 6 notable updates from the release, which includes 40+ enhancements.

1. Virtual backgrounds - Fewer distractions and more privacy


Today’s meetings can take place anywhere and at any time. From office cubicles to busy airports and even messy bedrooms, employees want to look professional regardless of where they work.

Virtual background is a new feature built into Unify Video that replaces a participant’s background with any image of choice. Miss the office? Use a conference room. Wish you were on vacation? Show it with an impressive view of the beach.

Backgrounds

  • Prebuilt: Choose from any pre-built backgrounds (conference room, beach, and more) already in Unify Video.
  • Custom: Upload any image (such as corporate branding or even a vacation photo) to use as your virtual background
  • Blur: Remove any chance of distractions by blurring your entire background.

Why you should try it

  • Fewer distractions: Join meetings from anywhere without distracting your colleagues with a busy or messy background.
  • More privacy: Hide the room behind you, especially if you haven’t cleaned.
  • Add fun: Show off your quirky personality in every meeting.

With the latest release, users can now use animated backgrounds in their video meetings. Whether it’s a cozy fireplace or relaxing beachscape, users can customize their virtual backgrounds using any pre-installed videos or their own uploaded videos.

2. Mobile participant pinning

At Atos, we’re constantly bridging the gap between our PC and mobile apps so that users get a similar experience on both. This month, it’s all about getting more screen space.

Participant pinning allows users to pin meeting participants to their main meeting screens, even when they’re not speaking. This eliminates the need to swipe back and forth to find the right speaker and gives users more control over who they want to prioritize.

Pin up to three participants on mobile and six on tablets.

3. Picture-in-picture: Get more done on your mobile meetings

Picture-in-picture mode is a new feature for Atos Unify Office by RingCentral iOS and Android that allows you to minimize your meeting window in the app, giving you full access to your messages while still keeping an eye on the meeting.

With a minimized meeting window, you can read and respond to messages, search for information, and use Unify Office as you normally would. If no one’s sharing their screen, you can even collapse the window to get a bigger view of your messages. Also, the mute/unmute button allows you to instantly rejoin the conversation if it’s your turn to speak.

    • Respond to messages
      • Meetings won’t stop messages from coming in, you sometimes can’t ignore that urgent message from your boss or teammate.
      • Picture-in-picture mode lets you respond to messages that require your attention without having to take your eyes off of the meeting.
    • Find the right context
      • Say you’re in a meeting and the speaker references a specific resource they shared in a group. With picture-in-picture, you can instantly search for relevant files or messages and jump back into the conversation.

Additional notes

  • Picture-in-picture mode is also available on iPads and Android tablets. The only difference with smartphone versions is that default views use thumbnails instead of bars
  • An indicator for when your camera is turned on, even if you switch away from the full meeting view.
  • Picture-in-picture mode only works within the app. Background play will be launched in the near future.

4. Enterprise portal for Federated Accounts

We’re making it easy for enterprise companies and businesses with 45,000+ users to manage their accounts and users.

The new enterprise portal provides clear, consolidated visibility and admin functionality at the highest level. From a single pane, administrators will now be able provision, manage, and search across all of their Atos Unify Office accounts.

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

If anything has been a saving grace this year for organizations, though, it’s the video meeting. But as we continue to depend on video meetings for the foreseeable future, so does the need to keep your meetings secure at all times. After all, unwanted guests can often stop meetings in their tracks when participants discuss sensitive topics.

5. Securing video meetings with Waiting Rooms

To prevent malicious actors and keep video meetings secure, Unify Office has released Waiting Rooms for Unify Video Meetings. Waiting Rooms gives hosts full control over their video meetings, allowing them to manage who can enter the meeting and when.

Learn more about RingCentral's commitment to security - See the whitepaper

Different features in Waiting Rooms

  • Keep meetings locked until the host is ready

Video meetings typically launch when the first participant joins the call. With Waiting Room 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.

  • Specify groups of participants who can join

Unify Office video meetings gives hosts full control over which types of participants can enter the meeting. For example, hosts can permit only users with a certain domain name from entering, or only employees from a certain department in the company.

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

  • Admit or deny participants during a meeting

If a meeting has already started, the host can screen whoever enters the Waiting Room and choose whether they want to admit or deny participants. This keeps the meeting secure in the event that a meeting link is shared with others unintentionally.

  • Move participants into the Waiting Room

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

When to use Waiting Rooms

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

  • Leaders need to have a private conversation
  • Healthcare providers want to host multiple telehealth appointments
  • Teachers want to host virtual office hours
  • Managers prefer to have an always-on video feed

Committed to your security

When it comes to video meeting security, Waiting Rooms is just the tip of the iceberg. To learn more about keeping your video meetings secure, check out “RingCentral Video Features for Preventing Meeting Abuse.”

Start hosting Unify Office by RingCentral video meetings and try out Waiting Rooms today, or check out our different pricing plans.

Highlights

  • Waiting Room: a virtual staging area that prevents participants from joining until the host is ready
  • Hosts can enable Waiting Rooms when scheduling a meeting
  • Hosts can specify participant types who have to join Waiting Rooms

6. European SEPA Direct Debit payment method

Many of us will be used to paying through direct debit in our personal lives as it’s quick and easy to do, the same principle applies to the new payment method we are now offering. For customers who do not have a company credit card, direct debit provides a new payment option to provide their permission for Unify Office by RingCentral to deduct payments due from a bank account.

The following features are included by the end of July 2021 for EU countries in which you can purchase Unify Office by RingCentral:

  • A radio button or a toggle will be added to select “Direct Debit”
  • Customer will be able to update payment method to/from Credit card and Direct debit

Pay how you like and from which account you prefer with this new enhancement.

Millions of people rely on Unify & RingCentral each day to communicate across teams, manage files and company knowledge, and connect the software they use. These new features—Virtual Backgrounds, participant pinning, picture in a picture—are the kind of major enhancements that give your team members more time to do their best work together. Once you give these new features a whirl and get comfortable, we believe you’ll find Unify Office even easier and more enjoyable to use. And as always, changes like these are born of your valuable user feedback. Drop us a note or tweet us at @Atos to share yours.

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About Peter Wenger

Product Manager for Unify Office by RingCentral,
Peter is the responsible Product Manager for Unify Office by RingCentral, Unify’s global Offering for Cloud PBX, Messaging and Video offering. Peter introduced the first cloud offering of Unify 2004 as the Product Manager. In the meantime, he was global Unify’s Alliance Manager with Cisco, Director Product Management Solutions, Professional Services and Cloud Enablement, responsible for Service Innovations and Delivery Improvements. Peter joined Siemens 1991 in R&D for Carrier technologies, followed by roles in product management, global and regional sales.