Zextras Team – A Top-notch Communication System for Zimbra

Zextras Team brings private chat, group messaging, corporate messaging, file sharing, screen sharing, and video conferencing all in a unified package. It complements the Zimbra collaboration suite open-source edition functions in such a way that the users can communicate in real-time both with the registered users of the system and with people who are not even registered. Zextras Team facilitates collaboration in your company by integrating all the tools one might need in the Zimbra Web Client.

The Zextras Team interface is modern, elegant, and easy to use, allowing to organize chats, group chats, spaces and channels, file sharing, and even instant meetings with users outside the system through the Team tab. The Team Tab is a Zimbra feature tab that can be interacted with in the same way as all other feature tabs like Mail and Calendar tabs. It is available for basic and advanced users while the corporate features are only available for advanced users.

Zextras Team provides the users with features such as one-to-one text messaging, audio and video calls, group text messaging, audio calls, video conferences, corporate messaging with Spaces and Channels, file-sharing, screen sharing, message delivery status, and reads awareness. Zextras Team has also some other important characteristics such as COS and user availability, built-in TURN server compatibility, Zimlet installation through a package manager with no need for core installation and configuration, peer-to-peer WebRTC protocol to avoid server load, and dedicated audit log.

Using Zextras Team Features

Inside the Team tab, you have three sub-tabs including Chats, Spaces, and Instant meetings. Let’s take a look at each one’s features and functionalities.

Chats

One of the important features of the Zextras Team is Chats. Chat make it possible for two or more Zimbra users to be kept in touch. In Zextras Team Chats you can create a chat to have a conversation with another user or create a group to communicate with several users. In Chats you can also share your files and make audio and video chats too. You have two options for a conversation, to chat with only one user you can create a one-to-one conversation, to chat with more than two users you should create a group conversation. To start a one-to-one conversation go to the Team tab, select Chat sub-tab, click on CREATE, select Create Chat, enter the other participant’s name with the help of autocomplete suggestion, and click on CREATE. To start a group conversation go to the Team tab, select Chat sub-tab, click on CREATE, select Create Group, enter the other participants’ names with the help of autocomplete suggestion, and click on CREATE.

Spaces

One of the special features of the Zextras Team is Spaces. Spaces are topic-driven chats for more than two participants that give the ability to an administrator to moderate the conversation. They are best for community departments doing projects or discussing topics being able to communicate until the project or discussion ends. Participants can leave a space at any time, while a space administrator can only leave the space if there is at least one other space administrator. In spaces, group video chat is also available. To create a space, go to the Team tab, select Spaces sub-tab, click on CREATE, enter the other participants’ names with the help of autocomplete suggestions, and click on CREATE. Spaces divide into smaller chat areas called Channels. For example, spaces can be used as an overall corporate chat area for all employees of the company, while channels are group chats for every department. After creating a channel inside a space, employees can join it openly. Channels can only be created by the administrator of a space and have moderators of their own. To create a channel, go to the space you want to add a channel in it, click on Add Channel on the right, enter the title and topic, and click on CREATE.

Instant Meetings

One of the interesting features of the Zextras Team is Instant meetings. The instant meeting is a video call designed to be quick and momentary with no trace of chat being kept after the call is over. This feature can be only created by the Team users but even the external users can join. In some scenarios, you might need to communicate with some other Zimbra users as well as some external users who are not registered in Zimbra. Instant meetings solve this problem by creating video calls anyone can join whether they are registered in Zimbra or not. To create one simply go to the Team tab, select Instant Meetings click on Create, add title and attendees, and click on CREATE to start the instant meeting. After inserting an external email address, it will automatically send an email to them with a link to access the instant meeting. Before accessing the meeting, the invited user need to enter a name to be displayed in the meeting.

Features Functionality

  • Text Message Actions – In Zextras Team Chat feature all messages can be forwarded, replied to, deleted, and even edited after the message has been sent. If you delete a message, the participants will see a tag saying “Deleted message” in the same location as the deleted message. In the case of editing the text of a message, the participants will see a tag saying “edited” at the bottom of the message. A message can be forwarded to other chat conversations as well as other spaces and channels. To perform these actions, you can right-click on the message or click on the downward symbol in the upper right corner of the message to open a pop-up menu and choose your desired action. You can also use emojis in the chat simply by clicking on the emoji icon in the lower-left corner.
  • Message Status – Zextras Team Chats includes message status with three phases based on the number of checkmarks shown next to each message. No checkmark next to the message means that the message was not delivered, one checkmark means that the message has been delivered to the server, and a double checkmark means that the message has been read. If there are any unread messages in a chat it is shown next to the participant’s name. If the participant is online their status is shown by a green circle next to their avatar.
  • File Sharing – Zextras Team Chats has filesharing capability, both via attaching a file or drag-and-dropping the file into the chat area. To attach your desired file simply click on the paperclip icon in the right corner of the message box and choose your file or drag and drop the file in the chat area and click on the upward arrow in the lower right corner to send the file.
  • Video Conferencing – Zextras Team video conferencing can support more than 100 participants. This is made possible by the Zextras Video Server, based on the peer-to-peer WebRTC protocol. To learn more about the technology used by Zextras Team to make video calls available to more than 100 participants, please refer to Zextras Video Server. You can start a video call within the Zextras Team Chats (either one-to-one chats or groups) or Spaces area by choosing the conversation from the left to open the conversation window, and click on the camera icon in the upper right corner, choose whether you want to use your camera or microphone and click ENTER. You can also turn the microphone or camera off during the video chat.
  • Screen Sharing – During a video chat, you have the ability to share your screen simply by clicking on the screen icon at the bottom of the video chat window.
  • Groups – Inside the Chats sub-tab you can create a group. Groups are the same as chats but containing more than two participants. In groups group file sharing and group video chat are also available. The group video chat will end as soon as the last participant leaves the video chat. Video chat functionality is also available in Groups.

Zextras Team Licensing

Zextras Team requires a license on a per-user basis, which can be purchased in addition to the Zextras Team license. Global Admins can enable its advanced features for any number of users up to the limit allowed by the license, and only advanced users count towards any licensing limit.

To see the total number of users with the active advanced features use this command as the Zimbra user

zxsuite core getLicenseInfo

the teamChatActiveCount section shows the total number.

Zextras Team Zimlet Installation

You can deploy the Zextras Team Zimlet from the Core section of the Zextras Administration Zimlet. To enable the service

  • Login to Zimbra Administration Console
  • Go to Zextras
  • Open the Core Section
  • Under the Zimlet Team section click on Deploy

You will get a message saying that the Team Zimlet has been successfully deployed. you need to enable the Team service for users. It can be done for the individual user or for the entire class of the service. After deploying and enabling the Zextras Team Zimlet there is no need for configuration on the mailboxd.

Users with enabled Zextras Team Zimlet can now access all the functionalities of Zextras Team from the web client Team tab or mobile apps in iOS and Android.

Note: Zextras Team is compatible with Zimbra version 8.8.12 and above.

Product marketing and technical writer at Zextras, an open-source and technology enthusiast who creates instructional and technical articles about Zextras and Zimbra.

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