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Starting A Group Instant Messaging Conversation

This article describes how-to use the Instant Messaging service at Skyway Networks for discussing a topic with a group of up to 5 people. Similar to SMS texting from a cell phone, Instant Messaging provides a means to have quick, informal online chats with your colleagues in your organization from your computer, phone, or tablet. But, unlike an SMS text message sent from a cell phone, Instant Messaging conversations are encrypted, so they remain private and secure.

What You Will Need

For clarity, only the person who creates the group requires the Zimbra Connect Pro service. The invited members of the group do not require Zimbra Connect Pro to participate in group conversations.

Getting Started With Sending Messages From Your Computer

Step 1.) Login to your email account at: https://emailhosting.cloud.

Step 2.) Click on the "Connect" tab.

Selecting the Zimbra Connect tab

Step 3.) Click on the "New" button, then in the menu that appears, click on "New group".

Selecting the New Group menu option.

Step 4.) Enter an optional topic for the new group being created. Next, you will need to enter between 2 to 4 email addresses of the members of this Instant Messaging group. The addresses entered must be colleagues within your organization. For example, if your email address is kevin@example.com, the addresses entered must also end in @example.com. As you type, a pop-up will appear with a list of possible members. From this list, click on the name of the desired group member. Continue to enter group members as desired, then click the "Start" button. Group members can be added or removed after the group is created.

Creating an Instant Messaging group.

Step 5.) A new group Instant Messaging conversation will now start. Simultaneously, all participants will receive a notification that they have been added to a new group. Messages can be sent by any group member simply by typing in the highlighted area in the screen shot below and pressing enter. Clicking on the smiley icon enables selecting an Emoji from a large variety of options which can then be inserted in to your message to the group.

Appearing next to each message in the conversation you send, you will see either 1 or 2 check marks. One check mark indicates your message was sent to the group's members, but has not been read yet. Two check marks indicates the message has been read by at least one group member.

A screen shot illustrating a group Instant Messaging conversation.

Tip # 1.) If you wish to:

Click on the "Connect" tab (refer to step 2 above). Next, click on the desired group name, followed by clicking on the "i" information icon as highlighted in the screen shot below.

A screen shot illustrating the group Instant Messaging information icon.

From the group settings screen:

These group settings are available to all members of the group.

A screen shot illustrating the available group Instant Messaging settings.

Tip # 2.) If at least one partipant in the group Instant Messaging conversation has the Zimbra Connect Pro service enabled for their account, a camera icon will appear near the top of the conversation for the partipant with Zimbra Connect Pro enabled, as highlighted in the screen shot below. Clicking this icon will result in everyone in the group seeing a prompt asking if they want to accept the video call, even if they do not have the Zimbra Connect Pro service enabled for their email accounts. For any member in the group that accepts by clicking the "Answer" button, then those parties will start a group video call. Refer to the Starting A Video Call how-to article for details on the controls available for a video call.

A screen shot illustrating the group video call icon.
A screen shot illustrating a prompt to accept or decline a video call.

Tip # 3.) After clicking on the "Connect" tab (refer to step 2 above), in the lower left corner of your screen, click on "Connect Settings". You will see a window similar to the screen shot below. Clicking on the area highlighted in the screen shot will enable you to add a photo or image for yourself that others will see for both Instant Messaging conversations and video calls. You can also set your preferences for how incoming messages appear.

A screen shot illustrating the available settings for Instant Messaging.
Getting Started With Sending Messages From Your Phone Or Tablet

Step 1.) On your Android or Apple device, install the Zextras Team app (refer to the "What You Will Need" section at the top of this page).

Step 2.) Open the Team app on your device. You will be prompted to enter these settings, followed by tapping the "Done" button:

A screen shot of the login page for the Zextras Team app.

Step 3.) In the bottom right corner of the Team app, tap on the red + sign. A menu similar to the screen shot below will appear. Tap on the highlighted icon to start a "Group conversation". If you see an error message appear after tapping the "Group conversation" icon, this indicates that you are missing the Zimbra Connect Pro service for your account.

A screen shot illustrating how to start a group Instant Messaging conversation in the Zextras Team app.

Step 4.) You will now be prompted to enter the members of the group. In the "Search buddies..." field, enter between 2 to 4 email addresses of the members of this Instant Messaging group. The addresses entered must be colleagues within your organization. For example, if your email address is kevin@example.com, the addresses entered must also end in @example.com.

A screen shot illustrating where to start entering the email addresses for a new group.

As you type, a pop-up will appear with a list of possible members. From this list, tap on the name of the desired group member. As you add members, they will appear with an "X" next to each member, enabling you to easily remove a member, if someone is added by mistake. Continue to enter group members as desired, then click the circular red arrow button at the bottom right corner of your screen. Group members can be added or removed after the group is created.

A screen shot illustrating how to select a member to add to the new group.

Step 5.) A new group Instant Messaging conversation will now start. Simultaneously, all participants will receive a notification that they have been added to a new group. You can send messages to the group simply by typing in the highlighted area in the screen shot below and tapping the arrow button.

Appearing next to each message in the conversation you send, you will see either 1 or 2 check marks. One check mark indicates your message was sent to the group's members, but has not been read yet. Two check marks indicates the message has been read by at least one group member.

A screen shot illustrating how to send an Instant Message to a group in the Zextras Team app

Tip) If you wish to:

Tap on the "i" information icon near the top of the screen, as highlighted in the screen shot below.

A screen shot illustrating how to modify the settings for a group in the Zextras Team app

From the group settings screen:

These group settings are available to any group member with the Zimbra Connect Pro service enabled on their account. Group members without Zimbra Connect Pro can participate in the group conversation, but cannot access the group settings.

A screen shot illustrating how to modify the settings for a group in the Zextras Team app