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Drive growth and reduce costs with omnichannel business messaging

The launch of open channels with dynamic partitioning, plus message search, and IP whitelisting for Sendbird Chat

20201119 Q4 open channels feature launch
Dec 17, 2020 • 7 min read
Sarang 1
Sarang Paramhans
Product Marketer
SBM blog CTA mobile 1

Drive growth and reduce costs with omnichannel business messaging

SBM blog CTA mobile 1

Drive growth and reduce costs with omnichannel business messaging

Sendbird is committed to creating best-in-class group chat experiences to drive audience engagement in large-scale private and public communities. To that end, we recently launched a Supergroup Channel — a private group channel that can host up to tens of thousands of members in a private group chat.

Today, we’re proud to announce the launch of open channels with dynamic partitioning for hosting large-scale public chats, as well as message search, IP whitelisting, and message threading.

In summary:

  • The new Sendbird Chat open channel with dynamic partitioning can host up to tens of thousands of members in public chats. If customers choose a dedicated server, the new open channel can host up to millions of participants in public chats.
  • Message search for Sendbird Chat is a table-stakes feature offering functionality that users have come to expect from their in-app chat experiences. Users can search for messages from within a channel, as well as from the channel list view.
  • IP whitelisting provides an extra layer of security to keep your chat applications secure.
  • Message threading enables users to better organize discussions in chats.

Read on to learn more about each feature in depth.

Chat open channels with dynamic partitioning: Build better live streaming experiences

Chat is an essential part of modern live-streaming experiences. It allows users to not just interact with fellow members of the community, but build connections with streamers and brands as well. Our live streaming customers use open channel chat for hosting large public group chats between enthusiastic audience members in a live stream or conversing between users in large multiplayer gaming communities in between gameplays.

Chat moves very quickly in live experiences, especially with so many members sending messages at the same time. Audience members typically talk over one another —- expressing exhilaration during gameplay in a live sports or e-sports setting, sharing the joy of experiencing their favorite band in a live concert, or spreading enthusiasm over highly anticipated products in a live commerce setting.

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A better open channel chat experience at scale

To ensure that the chat experience is pleasant for users and reliable at a high scale, Sendbird built dynamic partitioning into its open channels. Dynamic partitioning splits a large open channel into smaller subchannels so it is easier to manage user engagement at the front end and chat load on the back end. Open channels start with a default size that supports 2,000 users. Dynamic partitioning comes into effect once the number of users increases beyond 2,000 users. Dynamic partitioning creates new subchannels from the existing channel and distributes new users in subchannels. With dynamic partitioning, a user enters an open channel, is distributed into a subchannel, and continues to experience the engagement of being part of one large public chat group.

Open channels with dynamic partitioning handle chat load across multiple subchannels while retaining chat history for the entire open channel. At the end of the chat session, the complete chat history across all the different sub-channels in a single open channel is made available to all the users, giving them the ability to relive the chat if they choose.

Blog Open Channel with dynamic partitioning
Open Channel with dynamic partitioning

Open channel supports moderation features to ensure that conversations adhere to your brand standards. Features such as ban user, mute user, spam flood protection, profanity filters, domain filters, regex filters, share media, and smart throttling come out of the box in the open channel.

“Open channel from Sendbird Chat helps Traveloka directly connect with consumers in live chat experiences alongside Traveloka’s live streams where hosts promote hot travel deals to consumers. Live chat has not only improved consumer engagement but is also increasing consumer interest in our travel offerings and boosting conversions.”

— Adi Alimin, VP Platform Products, Traveloka, an Indonesia-based digital travel and lifestyle booking platform

Chat message search: Help users find relevant conversations

Users send hundreds of messages every day on many channels. Sometimes it’s difficult to keep track of all the conversations — a user might need to return to a message to seek important information from conversation history, start a new conversation from an old exchange, or simply reflect on a conversation, and so on.

There are many ways in which message search can be actioned, but the advantages remain the same: improve user experience and increase user engagement in your app.

Blog message search demo
Message search

Chat Search

With message search for Sendbird Chat, developers can build message search experiences in in-app chat to enable users to search for messages from within the channel, as well as from outside the channel from the channel list view. Users can search across any conversation they are a part of. For now message search is limited to in-message text, and does not yet apply to message metadata or filenames.

When finding the right chat message matters

A few use cases where message search comes in handy include:

  1. Marketplaces — -Buyers and sellers can search for conversations around a transaction, such as a product name or an offer value. The ability to search and find the right information quickly can increase transactions in a marketplace app.
  2. Workplace messengers —– Workplace conversation history can be available at your user's fingertips. Instead of asking someone for information every time a user needs it, reduce repetitive questions by searching instead, and create a more productive user experience.

Healthcare —– Healthcare providers and patients can easily find information on patient symptoms, appointments, and treatment plans.

IP whitelisting: An extra layer of security for your chat application

IP whitelisting provides an extra layer of security to keep your chat application safe. IP whitelisting lets you create a list of whitelisted IPs in the Sendbird Chat dashboard, from which REST API calls can be made to the Sendbird Chat Platform API.

Only servers residing on these whitelisted IPs have the privilege to make calls to the Sendbird Chat Platform API — thereby creating an extra layer of security for your application and organization, even if your API key was compromised.

Keeping your chat users’ data secure

Imagine a bad actor got access to your API key in order to download existing messages in your chat application. As a result, they could access both your Sendbird application and chat application, and go about making calls for all kinds of functions including the creation of users and channels, access to chat history, and much more.

This kind of breach is very dangerous, especially for businesses that handle sensitive user information such as payments businesses, financial institutions, healthcare companies, and on-demand applications.

With IP whitelisting enabled, if the bad actor tried to make an API call from a server on an IP that was not on the list of whitelisted IPs, the call would not go through and the agent would be restricted — ensuring security for your organization’s application and data.

IP whitelisting has tremendous value for businesses with stringent requirements around security and compliance and who want to manage chat securely from the server side. Typical customers who choose IP whitelisting include banks, payment apps, healthcare apps, and on-demand businesses.

Sneak peek: In-app chat message threading

We’re excited to give a sneak peek into an upcoming feature that improves user experience in chat — message threading. With message threading, developers give users the ability to create threads in their group chats. Threads let users discuss topics in detail without adding clutter to a conversation’s main view, making channels more readable and helping make discussions easier to follow.

Chat threads for more organized online conversations

Chat message threading is especially useful in:

  1. Workplace messengers: Threads can be used to create organized discussions around specific messages, especially in busy channels where it creates a better experience for users to contain extended discussions in threads instead of the main channel.
  2. Community: Most community users are comfortable using threads in large community forums. Now, they can experience a familiar experience in group chats and use them for deep discussions around a specific topic without clogging up the group chat with details.

To start using open channels with dynamic partitioning, as well as message search, and IP whitelisting please visit Sendbird docs or get started with a free trial. If you already use Sendbird, you can enable the feature on your Sendbird Dashboard.

As always, please let us know if you have any questions or feedback — we look forward to hearing from you.

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