Ready Room integrates video briefings into GXP inspection management solution
Ready Room is very pleased to announce integration of video briefings into its GXP inspection management solution. The addition of briefings greatly enhances the usability of Ready Room while solving a significant pain point for our users.
With briefings any inspection team member can initiate a video conference with up to 100 other team members, including inspectors and observers, to start immediately or at any point in the future. Beyond audio and video, participants can also collaborate using chat and screen sharing. There’s even a public link available so you can include external users, such as senior management, external vendors, or inspectors who do not wish to log in to Ready Room.
With briefings, it is no longer necessary to set up separate online meetings using Zoom or Microsoft Teams for inspection teams to collaborate effectively. It’s not even necessary for participants to install any proprietary software. By partnering with Whereby, we are able to bring you world-class video conferencing that’s easy to use and feature rich. Attendees can access briefings directly from the inspection board or follow the link from the calendar invite.
Briefings are useful for a variety of meetings that typically occur during an inspection or audit:
It’s all very exciting, so let’s dig in.
Support for briefings can be turned off completely in the inspection configuration screen. Briefings are on by default per inspection.
The briefings feature relies on accurate time zone information, so as a first step, click open your profile and make sure your time zone is correct.
The briefing functionality is located next to the existing chat solution, both of which now exist in their own tabs. Click the Briefings tab to bring it forward.
Ready Room will list the most recent 36 hours worth of briefings that you’ve created or been invited to. Briefings are grouped into three sections: ongoing, upcoming, and concluded. The total number of ongoing and upcoming meetings is shown in a green badge on the briefings tab.
This screen is entirely dynamic. If you are invited to a briefing, the meeting information will appear immediately in either the upcoming or ongoing bucket and the briefing count will be incremented. Similarly, the list and the count will be updated if a meeting is changed or deleted. Finally, even if there are no changes to any briefings, the view is continually refreshed so as to roll upcoming briefings into ongoing, ongoing into concluded, and concluded out of sight.
Any user except inspectors and observers can schedule a briefing by clicking the big “Schedule a Briefing” button at the top of the panel. This will bring up a very simple form where you can give the briefing a name, such as “EOD Debrief,” choose a start time, and invite team members.
There’s a few things worth mentioning:
All team members including inspectors but not yourself can be invited (the creator is implicitly invited). Team members are invited or uninvited simply by clicking on their names. Note, to keep you from accidentally inviting an inspector, they are shown in red with the word “inspector” next to their name. If you want to invite (almost) everyone, just click “Invite everyone (except inspectors)” to select all team members, optionally deselecting those who should not attend.
When the form is submitted, you will be returned to the briefing list panel, where your new briefing will be displayed. As the briefing host, you have the ability to edit or delete the briefing by clicking on the edit and delete icons to the right of the briefing name.
Each briefing also has an associated public link that is visible only to the briefing creator. This link can be shared externally with non-team members that you want to participate in the meeting.
When the briefing is created, updated, or deleted an email will be sent to all attendees, including the host, inviting them to the meeting or informing them of the (meaningful) change. This email will contain a secure link to the briefing and an iCalendar attachment that enables integration with most calendaring solutions.
In addition, the briefing will be displayed in the attendee’s Ready Room briefings panel, albeit without the controls to alter the meeting. In all cases, email, calendar, and Ready Room UI, the start and end times of the meeting will be adjusted to the user’s local time. Finally, information about the host and the unadjusted meeting times is displayed.
After clicking the briefing name, users have two options: open the briefing in place or open it in a new tab. In general, opening a briefing in place is good for small meetings and one-on-ones; a new tab is recommended for larger briefings.
When opening a briefing in place, it opens in an overlay element that can be moved, resized, and closed, much like an ordinary window. With the briefing open, you can still interact with the inspection board underneath it, creating and opening tasks, uploading documents, etc. As you might assume, it’s possible to attend multiple briefings at the same time, though this is not encouraged.
All briefings are “locked” by default, meaning participants other than the host need to “knock” before being let in. In addition to letting attendees into the meeting, hosts have these additional privileges:
As mentioned, when a non-host joins a briefing they must knock. A pop-up asking for admittance will appear on the host’s UI containing the visitor’s name and, if their camera is on, an image of the attendee.
Once a briefing is underway, there are a variety of tools at your disposal, including screen sharing, chat (ephemeral and distinct from Ready Room chat), spotlights, picture-in-picture, and more. Rather than rewrite the Whereby documentation, however, I will direct you straight to it. Please note that not all Whereby features are available in Ready Room.
Ready Room briefings can support up to 100 simultaneous participants, although only 12 can be “on stage” (visible via video) at one time. It is possible to join a briefing at any time, although joining early means you’ll be alone in the room’s lobby. If you leave a briefing, you can always rejoin. Briefings end promptly. When the scheduled end time arrives, all participants will be disconnected immediately and it will no longer be possible to join that meeting, so keep an eye on the countdown timer in the upper left hand corner.
The private meeting link used for team members is inherently secure. To access a meeting you must have been invited, which means you also must be an active Ready Room user and member of that inspection. If another user, even another team member, gains access to the private link, it will do them no good. If they haven’t been invited, they can’t get in.
The public link, however, is by necessity open to everyone, just as meeting links from Zoom and Google are. Even so, we have taken some pains to keep bad actors out of Ready Room briefings, to wit:
Furthermore, it is not possible to bypass Ready Room and go straight to Whereby. Our integration with Whereby is such that Ready Room meetings are only accessible via the readyroom.net domain. Finally, Whereby themselves take security very seriously, here is their writeup on how communication is secured: https://whereby.helpscoutdocs.com/article/526-data-storage-and-security
We are very excited about offering integrated high quality video conferencing to our users. We believe it will make inspection teams dramatically more collaborative with a corresponding reduction in risk. Let us know what you think.