As the COVID-19 pandemic drags on, and millions of people continue to work from home, sales of Facebook's Portal video connection device have seen a massive increase, despite initial concerns many had raised around adding a Facebook-connected camera into their homes.
And now, aligning with this use case, Facebook's looking to make Portal even more functional, by adding support for a range of video meeting tools which will enable Portal users to more easily connect with work colleagues via the device.
As explained by Facebook:
"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."
That means that if your workmates are meeting up on any of these platforms, you'll be able to log-in to the same, via your Portal device.
"Whether you’re meeting one-on-one with a colleague or joining up to 1,000 participants, Portal helps you get more out of your meetings. 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."
That could be a major benefit for the growing WFH cohort. Indeed, reports about the Portal as a connective tool for family and friends have been largely positive, while Facebook has been looking to boost take-up of the device by adding them into nursing homes to help elderly people stay connected.
That, as noted, has resulted in a significant uptick in Portal sales, with Facebook's 'other' revenue category - meaning revenue generated outside of ads on Facebook - increasing by $69 million in Q2 2020. It seems, once again, that utility has trumped privacy concerns in this respect.
Zoom has become synonymous with virtual meetings, and various organizations use these other video platforms as their go-to connective tool. Facebook Workplace itself now has more than 5 million users, and with demand for such platforms rising, in order to keep employees connected, these new integrations make a lot of sense.
In addition to this, Facebook is also adding a new, dedicated Workplace log-in option, in order to help users keep their personal and professional lives separate. Currently, Portal users need to log in to video calls by using their personal Facebook or WhatsApp credentials.