By: Gigaom
January 31, 2012 at 11:07 AM EST
Elance adds video chat to its virtual workrooms
Elance recently introduced video chat to its users as a new feature that is embedded directly into the site. That will allow employers and contractors to have face-to-face communication, without having to open up a different application or video chat client.

Video chat is changing the way people communicate, which is becoming increasingly evident in the way it’s being used for virtual work. Remote teams are turning to video communications to provide more face-to-face contact between team members. That’s why Elance recently introduced video chat to its users, as a new feature that is embedded directly into the site.

Elance has grown pretty dramatically over the past few years, as more and more jobs move online and work becomes more virtual. To provide more value to its users, the company wants to do more than just connect employers and contractors. That’s why it has a virtual workroom that enables collaborative work and communications tools between them.

In their virtual workrooms, contractors can send messages, submit invoices, respond to to-do lists and other features. And now, Elance has added a new video chat feature to enable more “face-to-face” contact between collaborators, without users having to enter into a whole different application to connect.

According to Elance’s VP of small and medium-sized businesses Ved Sinha, the addition of video chat to the virtual workroom will reduce the friction that comes when employers and contractors work together. While many had previously interfaced through other applications, building the chat window directly into a contractor’s dashboard enables instant communication with the click of a button.

To do this, Elance uses Tokbox’s OpenTok video chat client, which enables businesses to embed video chat into their websites. While there are plenty of video chat offerings available on the market today, Sinha told me by phone that OpenTok was the only solution that allowed Elance to build video chat directly and seamlessly into the virtual workroom.

That was a big advantage for Elance, which wanted to ensure that its users didn’t have to open up a different client or application to get in touch with one another. And for its clients, the feature should enable better coordination and more productivity.

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