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Andrei Soroker

33 posts

Announcing GroupMe Integration

By Andrei Soroker

Today we’re happy to announce support for GroupMe as a part of our new set of BridgeBot integrations.

With this integration, it’s easy to sync GroupMe groups with groups/channels/rooms in other collaboration systems (Sameroom supports over 20!).

Connecting to Skype

Let’s take a look at connecting a GroupMe group to a group in Skype.

  1. Select your GroupMe group
  2. Type -sameroom open in your GroupMe group. (Wait for the BridgeBot to respond with a code.)
  3. Add to your Skype contacts
  4. Invite Sameroom Bot to your Skype group
  5. Type -sameroom connect <code>, with code from step 3 above.

This will create a 2-way, real-time Tube between the two groups. For more info, post -sameroom help in either group.

Connecting to Slack

Slack is an example of a service without a BridgeBot: You’ll have to add your Slack account to Sameroom (part of step 3, below).

  1. Select your GroupMe group
  2. Type -sameroom portal (Wait for the BridgeBot to respond with a Portal URL.)
  3. Navigate to the Portal URL and follow instructions.

If you have any questions, please contact us or send us a tweet.

Introducing BridgeBots

By Andrei Soroker

Over time, we realized that more often than not, we suggest that our users create special “bot” (or, in other word, “relay”) accounts for Sameroom integrations.

The main reason for this tends to be user experience. With the exception of Slack, Fleep, and Flowdock, none of the services we support offer a way to safely “impersonate” a user, leading to confusion.

While we can’t fix this situation by ourselves—we’ll need some help from the chat services to expand their APIs—with some systems we can remove the need for creating new “relay” accounts.

All the messaging platforms with a global user directory1 will eventually get special Sameroom BridgeBots that you can invite to rooms or channels and create connections (Tubes) to other systems through -sameroom open or -sameroom portal commands. As a bonus, Tubes between BridgeBots will be on us—free as in beer.

Today, we’re announcing the first three BridgeBots: for Skype, GroupeMe, and Telegram. (These bots use the very impressive Microsoft Bot Framework.)

To create a Tube between BridgeBots, create or join groups in Skype, GroupMe, or Telegram and invite the BridgeBots:


Add to contacts, then invite Sameroom Bot to your Skype group


Invite sameroom


Invite sameroom_bot

Then, type -sameroom open in one group, wait for the BridgeBot to respond with a code, and copy that code.

In the other group, type -sameroom connect <paste code>.

To create a Tube between a BridgeBot and some other system (Slack or HipChat), invite a BridgeBot, type -sameroom portal, wait for the BridgeBot to respond with a Portal URL, click on the URL and follow instructions.

1 IRC networks (e.g. Freenode), GroupMe, Skype, Hangouts, Twitter, iMeet, Telegram, Gitter, Fleep, Spark.

How Hanzo Used Sameroom to Simplify Client Communications

By Jared McGriff

Hanzo helps early stage hardware companies build and launch products. Hanzo serves in a hands-on and advisory capacity to drive all aspects of early stage growth, including operations, product development, marketing, sales, and support.

The nature of Hanzo’s business requires frequent communication with client teams. As such, Hanzo’s first deliverable is to set up their client’s Slack instance. In order to remain in contact with the client teams, members of the Hanzo team joined client Slack teams. While Hanzo members enjoyed the benefits of being in close touch with the customer in this manner, they also noticed certain usage patterns that proved problematic in an environment where team-to-team communication was critical to the success of the engagement.

Benefits of joining client Slack teams

  • Real-time communication with core client team throughout the duration of engagement

  • High visibility into all client team activities and communication flows

Problems with joining client Slack teams

  • Confusion/information overload associated with joining so many Slack teams

  • Being a part of the team increased DM (direct, 1-1 message) potential

  • Frequent DMs meant Hanzo team members did not receive relevant information at the same time

Due to the above problems, Hanzo CEO Zach Kelling sought a solution to simplify his team’s usage of Slack.

Sameroom helped Hanzo restructure their client communication with shared channels between the Hanzo Slack team and client Slack teams.

Since most communication during the engagement involves the Hanzo team providing answers to questions and offering advice, this method turned out to be beneficial, since both the Hanzo and client teams receive all information at the same time (by eliminating DMs entirely) and each retain a copy of the conversation.

This single point of connectivity forced all stakeholders to collaborate publicly, maximized accountability, limited superfluous conversation, and forced focus. Another benefit to using Sameroom included the ability to share Slack integrations with client teams.

Primary functional benefit of shared Slack channels

  • Hanzo team can respond to client matters without joining client Slack teams

  • By eliminating DMs, all Hanzo team members can respond and/or view responses in real-time

  • The Hanzo team can remain in their home environment without switching Slack teams or sharing DM and presence information with outside teams

There were two unintentional benefits of sharing Slack channels

  • The approach forced good behavior: a single point of connection required all stakeholders to discuss topics in public (as opposed to DMs)

  • Sameroom allowed Hanzo to share integrations across Slack instances: it’s easy to share key integrations with external teams, creating more value throughout the engagement

By using Sameroom, Hanzo was able to foster an open and accountable communication environment to drive successful client engagements.

About Sameroom: Sameroom provides real-time interoperability gateways available for Cisco Spark, Skype for Business, Yammer, Fleep, Flowdock, Gitter, Google Hangouts, HipChat, Intercom, IRC, Salesforce Chatter, Skype, Slack, Telegram, and Twitter. Sameroom can work with any other chat platform, given an API.

About Hanzo: Hanzo is a creator-first ecommerce platform that helps you quickly build scalable companies, fund innovative products and grow community around invention. Hanzo is made up of complementary features that you can mix-and-match to fit your needs.

Google Authentication Update

By Andrei Soroker

Since Google Hangouts has absolutely no developer APIs, the authentication loophole used in the Sameroom Hangouts integration has always been a bit of a gamble.

Google finally killed the loophole a couple of weeks ago, preventing new users from signing into Sameroom with Hangouts, but leaving existing integrations intact.

(Aside from the small problem of not having an API, Hangouts has been one of the most reliable providers Sameroom supports: there have been virtually no outages in over a year of operation.)

Today we’re releasing a “fix” for our authentication problem by asking for your Google password.

For this to work, enable two-factor verification for your Google account—but not Google Prompt: Use the Google Authenticator method or SMS.

If you’re using Google Apps, an admin has to enable two-step verification for your domain.

Once you authenticate on Sameroom, Google will send you an email similar to this one:


This is expected.

If you have any questions, please get in touch.

Introducing Yammer Integration

By Andrei Soroker

Today marks the arrival of the Sameroom Yammer integration. (!)

(Fast-forward to instructions.)

As with most things Yammer, it's not particularly clear what this really means, so let me explain.

Why would you want to connect Yammer with Lync (Skype for Business), regular Skype, Slack, HipChat, HipChat Server, Salesforce Chatter, Cisco Spark, Cisco Jabber, or other collaboration platforms?

In a word, because of entropy (increasing, obviously).

Let's consider the process of a mid-sized company adopting Microsoft Office 365.

On Monday, everyone starts using email with Microsoft Outlook.

On Tuesday, a subset of employees discover Outlook Groups—one place for team communications and sharing on mobile, on the web, and on the desktop—and start using that.

On Wednesday, IT conducts a Microsoft Skype for Business training session, and some folks in accounts and marketing begin using Skype for Business for meetings and messaging.

On Thursday, account executives ask IT how to migrate existing Microsoft Skype groups with customers to Skype for Business, and, upon learning the answer (“you can’t”), double down on their use of regular, not-for-business, Skype.

Later on Thursday, summer interns tasked with field research realize they need something that works well on mobile and start a tried-and-true Microsoft GroupMe group.

On Friday, there’s an all-hands manadatory Microsoft Yammer training, resulting in a handful of new fans—particularly among executives—excited about the faster, smarter way to connect and collaborate across the company.

On Saturday, there’s a multi-hour service outage that sends ops and development teams scrambling to organize a recovery task force while stuck on playgrounds, boats, road bicycles, and parents-in-law’s back yards. The outage finally gets resolved with the help of group SMS.

Later that day, the engineering manager creates a HipChat team, hooks up integrations to GitLab and JIRA and send invites to the entire engineering department.

On Sunday, the ops manager returns from an off-the-grid hike in the Stanislaus National Forest and, upon learning the details of Saturday’s meltdown, creates a Slack team and requires all ops people to use it for all communication.

The sales team doesn’t notice any of it: they swear by Salesforce Chatter to connect, engage, and motivate employees—ones with a Salesforce license that is—to work efficiently across the organization regardless of role or location.

The resulting fragmentation across collaboration systems is almost impossible to undo and will continue to increase and accelerate as the company grows, new tools emerge, and teams become more specialized.

If the rumors don’t disappoint, Microsoft Skype Teams will soon become available as an alternative to HipChat and Slack—to the delight of those aiming to keep their company fragmented primarily across Microsoft’s stack.

Back to our mid-sized Office 365 company: we fast forward to the next executive meeting and overhear high praise for Yammer as a platform and bewildered disappointment at low adoption. Why won’t they all just use Yammer?

The executives mostly ¯\_(ツ)_/¯, but one of them suggests “using one of those integration services, like I T F T, or whatever it’s called, to cross-connect all the stuff we use around the company to Yammer.”

Brilliant! That’s exactly why you’d use the Sameroom Yammer integration. To empower teams to use whatever works best for them, while avoiding the immurement of resulting organizational memory that should— no, must!—be available to the entire company.


The Sameroom Yammer integration can be configured to sync all top-level messages and files (but not comments) between a Yammer group and a room or channel in another collaboration platform.

It’s also possible to 2-way sync all comments in a Yammer post with a room or channel in another platform. This option is only available to users of Sameroom Enterprise, through -sameroom open/connect or -sameroom portal commands.

  1. We recommend creating a new Yammer user for the integration (with a name like Relay, or similar) and adding this special account to Sameroom on the Accounts page. If your Yammer group is private, invite the Relay account.

  2. Next, authenticate with a chat account you’d like connect with Yammer on the same Accounts page.

  3. On the Open a Tube page, select your Yammer account in Step 1 and your Yammer group in Step 2, for Side A. For Side B, select the room or channel in the other platform.

Below is a video of the integration in an Enterprise environment, where a Tube is created with open/connect commands. (To set up your own Enterprise environment, please fill out form 27B/6.)