mailbox.org uses OpenTalk for secure video conferencing

OpenTalk bei mailbox.org

We are pleased to announce the start of the introductory phase of our new video conferencing solution OpenTalk at e-mail provider mailbox.org. As of today, all subscribers to a mailbox.org PREMIUM or STANDARD price plan can go ahead and test OpenTalk and actively provide feedback to our team and our administrators.

The start of the introductory phase at mailbox.org marks an important milestone for the launch of OpenTalk. We want to provide mailbox.org customers with a novel video solution that is focused on user experience, data protection, and business use cases.

“Good communication starts with independence. And that is exactly what the development of OpenTalk represents: a secure alternative to other video conferencing solutions that offers true data autonomy.“ says Markus Michels, CEO of OpenTalk.

Initially, OpenTalk will be available as an additional option alongside our existing video conferencing solution Jitsi. After the introductory phase has ended, Jitsi will be replaced completely by OpenTalk, as the latter offers a much better user experience, improved security, and better features to meet the requirements of provider operations. Like our other services, mailbox.org operates the new video conferencing solution within our own data centre in Germany. This ensures complete digital sovereignty, as no data is passed on to third parties, and especially not abroad. The requirements of the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) had a significant influence on the development of OpenTalk and are being implemented consistently.

An idea becomes OpenTalk

How did OpenTalk actually come about? Over the last two years, the work lives of many people have changed dramatically. Our team members, too, suddenly found themselves working remotely and experimenting with different video conferencing solutions. As it happened, Heinlein Support had been commissioned to set up a video conferencing platform for the administration of the city of Berlin around the same time. Any of the existing solutions, most of which hosted in the US, were not acceptable for data protection reasons. We wanted a video conferencing solution that respects the digital sovereignty of its users and that can be operated independently. As for existing open-source solutions, we found that these suffered from image quality and performance issues, which made them difficult to scale for deployment at a professional level in a provider environment like that of mailbox.org.

We soon realised that we weren't getting anywhere with those existing solutions. Instead, we realised that we can create what we need, and more: a solution that is more modern, more comfortable to use, more secure and, of course, open-source! The founding of OpenTalk as a product development company was the logical consequence, and our team quickly developed ideas for a whole range of features that would make a video conference experience more productive and user-friendly. And then they got to work and started developing that solution.

OpenTalk starts with these features

At launch, OpenTalk will come with all features that are essential for a modern video conference experience. During the introductory phase, the existing features will be further optimised and new features rolled out.

Currently available features:

  • Dashboard

    • Schedule new meetings
    • Send meeting invite links
    • Start ad-hoc meetings
    • Display meeting schedule
  • Lobby and connection/audio/video tests
  • Dynamic video quality adjustment
  • Background pictures and blurring
  • Screen sharing
  • Chat (Public and private messages)
  • Breakout rooms
  • Voting
  • Mute participants (individually / everyone)
  • Raise hand
  • Stopwatch / Timer
  • Push-to-Talk
  • Telephone dial-in

Some features that are coming soon:

  • Waiting room
  • Agenda
  • Multiple moderators
  • Legally compliant voting
  • Whiteboard
  • Meeting minutes module
  • GDPR-compliant recording
  • Automatic moderation
  • Offboarding
  • Sub-room meetings
  • Whispering (Private audio chat)

Details about all features can be found on the OpenTalk product pages →

Interested in testing OpenTalk?

All subscribers to a mailbox.org PREMIUM or STANDARD price plan simply log in to the web portal to access the OpenTalk video conferencing feature directly: Log in to an existing mailbox.org account →

New customers and those users who are currently not subscribed to an eligible plan can create a free test account: Create a new account →

The OpenTalk dashboard offers the option to give feedback, which we are very happy to look at. Thank you very much for this.

Notes about the OpenTalk introduction phase

  • No separate installation of software necessary. OpenTalk runs instantly with recent browsers for desktop and mobile devices such as Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and other Chromium-based browsers. Support for Apple Safari on iMac and mobile devices is currently limited, though. We are working towards providing full functionality for this specific browser in the future.

  • The team at OpenTalk is continuously developing new features for the solution. Make sure to check in regularly to see what’s new.

  • During the introductory phase, an account may create any number of videoconferences with all features enabled, including support for unlimited numbers of participants. After the introductory phase has ended, the features available to individual users will depend on their chosen price plan.

Do more with OpenTalk

Know-how, passion, and a great deal of experience in the design and operation of secure electronic communication unite our teams across all Heinlein Group brands.

The OpenTalk team still has a long way to go and needs talented people to support its efforts. Software development happens in Rust for the back end, and JavaScript/React and Redux for the front end.Are you looking for a challenge, and do you want to work on a future-oriented product? Become part of the team: Jobs at OpenTalk →

OpenTalk is open source software. The source code will be published on GitHub in the fourth quarter of 2022. With this, we want to ensure full transparency but also create a community and encourage other developers to contribute their ideas. Find out how you can engage: Learn more →

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