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Facebook adds new video conferencing apps to Workplace

Facebook has announced a series of updates for organisations using Workplace and Portal to collaborate with colleagues. 

New features include Workplace Only Log-in, Backgrounds, and new video conferencing apps on Portal. 

Workplace Only Log-in enables users to turn their Portal into a dedicated work device to call co-workers and participate in meetings by logging in with their Workplace account, rather than with Facebook or WhatsApp. This functionality will be available in the next few weeks.

Workplace has added a dynamic set of video backgrounds to eliminate distractions in the workspace on video calls. These backgrounds change lighting and effects based on device local time and will include the existing Background Blur feature.

As part of the announcement, Facebook also announced new video conferencing apps on Portal – including BlueJeans, GoToMeeting, Webex and Zoom – to give enterprise users access to the choice of tools they need to collaborate effectively. These apps will be available in September on Portal Mini, Portal and Portal+, with plans to add support for Portal TV in the future. 

"With high-fidelity sound and an AI-powered Smart Camera for hands-free video calling, Portal is a great way to stay close with family, friends and colleagues — even when you’re miles apart," the company says.

"Now, in addition to Facebook’s collaboration tool Workplace, we’re partnering with BlueJeans, GoToMeeting, Webex and Zoom to offer even more video conferencing apps on Portal so you can collaborate more effectively. 

"BlueJeans, GoToMeeting, Webex and Zoom will be available on Portal Mini, Portal and Portal+ in September, with plans to add support for Portal TV in the future.

"With Portal as a dedicated screen for your video calls, it’s easier to be present with your co-workers, and you’re freed up to take notes or access more information on your computer," Facebook says. 

"Regardless of how many people are on the call, Portal’s Smart Camera keeps you in the frame, and Smart Sound minimises potentially distracting background noise."

The company says Portal was created with privacy, safety and security in mind. 

"And it has clear and simple settings, so you stay in control. You can disable the camera and built-in microphone on Portal with a single tap or with a sliding switch," it says.

"A red light next to the lens indicates the camera and built-in microphone are off. You can also use the integrated camera cover if you’d like to physically block the camera lens, but still want to receive incoming calls and notifications and use voice interactions."

For added security, Smart Camera uses AI technology that runs locally on Portal, not on Facebook servers.