In times of telecommuting they have become indispensable: videoconferences.

Anyone who frequently participates in them knows that nothing is more disturbing than distorted scraps of conversation and lagging interlocutors. A flawless transmission, however, enables employees to focus on the essential topic and exchange information about it, even in a digital environment. It adds up to a good feeling keeping control of the data when discussing internal company information or when talking to customers.

Finding a Feasible Solution

A little over seven years ago, we hired the first remote development employee at Univention to work from Berlin. We quickly realized that a working cooperation required more than communicating via telephone and e-mail. We decided to use video conferencing for future meetings and arrangements. After several tests with different tools, we chose Google Hangouts because the video and audio quality was particularly convincing. Yet, we were not too happy with it, as the video streams of course ran on Google servers.
Meanwhile we have offices in Bremen, Leipzig and Berlin as well as home office staff all over Germany and the USA. Videoconferencing has long since become part of our everyday lives and is used in more and more situations, be it job interviews or project meetings with customers and partners.

An Alternative to Google Hangouts

In order to guarantee all participants more privacy, we have been looking for an alternative for Google’s service within recent months.

We set the following requirements:

  • Video conferences with up to 15 participants
  • Self hosting
  • Open source
  • Good audio and video quality
  • Screen sharing
  • Simple operation
  • Acceptable price

We tested several options, most of which did not really convince us. Either the audio and video quality did not meet our expectations, we had concerns about privacy or the price was too high.
At some point we discovered Kopano Meet and with that a strong solution. In the first step we only used it in a daily stand-up meeting with five participants, later also in meetings with up to 15 people.
After the successful tests, we are now in the process of connecting Kopano Meet to our own identity management system in UCS and then gradually replacing Google Hangouts with Kopano Meet.

We are pleased that Kopano Meet will soon be available in our App Center. This will make it easy for all UCS users to try and deploy Kopano Meet for their needs.

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Stefan studied Computer Sciences at the University of Applied Sciences Ostfriesland in Emden. He has built up the development and the support department at Univention from 2004 onwards. Acting as COO since 2019, he is responsible for development, professional services, support and IT at Univention. Before Stefan joined Univention, he worked as a software developer at Utimaco Safeware AG.

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