Looking sharper!

March 19, 2020

Hey Riot users,

We’ve seen a massive spike in video conferencing in Riot so far this week:

...and the free conferencing deployment we’ve been running for Riot on the old matrix.org infrastructure has become completely overloaded.

As a result, we’ve accelerated work to provide a properly maintained, elastically scalable Jitsi deployment for high quality voice and video conferencing as part of the services provided by Modular.im.

This was intended to be a paid service for Modular customers, but given current circumstances we are making it available for free as the default conferencing system to the whole Matrix ecosystem over the coming weeks (although we will have to start charging eventually given the running costs for higher quality video).  The old conferencing system will continue to exist and we’ll continue to maintain it on a best effort basis much as we’ve been doing for the last four years.

Why now?

Honestly, we didn’t anticipate the explosion of interest in video conferencing that we’ve seen over the last week - but in retrospect we should have seen it coming a mile away.  We’re suddenly seeing people who have never worked from home before obligated to do so - and video conferencing has immediately shifted from being a creature comfort to an existential requirement.

Even on the Riot team we’ve felt a real shift when working from home over the last week, and have been leaning on video conferencing more than ever to feel connected both to the team and indeed our friends and extended families.  When the old conferencing system got overloaded on Monday we were feeling it as much as everyone - and this is us fixing that for the benefit of all!  

Hopefully you’ll agree that the new system is a step up in seeing facial reactions and visual cues, and can hopefully help contribute to everyone’s general mental wellbeing in the weeks ahead.

Connect with privacy and freedom

There isn’t anything specific you will need to do as a user to get the enhanced video service, and as ever you’ll continue benefiting from the freedom to choose the most appropriate hosting solution; whether it’s a free account on a public homeserver (like matrix.org), or your custom high performing deployment on hosted providers (like Modular), or your own server. In fact, we’re currently making it way easier for folks running their own homeservers to hook up to their own Jitsis too, for complete self-sovereignty.

We hope you’ll make the most of the higher quality experience.

Stay safe, talk with people and keep positive!


The Riot Team

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