With remote work becoming the new normal, Realism Labs has brought out an ‘always on’ device designed to provide the spontaneous, frictionless communication that team members would have been used to in the office.
Instead of having to schedule a meeting, Sidekick provides an always-on video and audio connection between colleagues in remote locations, enabling users to bounce ideas off each other and have informal conversations just as if they were all in the same office, with no app management or window switching to interrupt the flow.
Realism Labs claims that because Sidekick is a separate, dedicated device rather than another app on a PC it is easier to use and more effective than an ‘always on’ call in Zoom, for example. It is instantly accessible and not buried under other windows. It is not a distraction in the way that a sticky mode window is when working on other applications. It sits right next to your laptop and when you want to talk to your teammate you just look over and talk — just like in real life.
In trials, users were keeping Sidekick on for an average of six hours a day, entering their team room first thing in the morning by tapping the ‘Join Room’ button and leaving it at the end of the day by pressing the ‘Leave Room’ button. Audio is muted by default to minimise distractions. When you want to speak to a team member, simply tap Sidekick to unmute the audio.
Sidekick boasts a number of useful features, including a multi-player whiteboard; notifications when team members join the room; a meeting mode that allows someone to stay in the room while taking a meeting on their laptop; and calendar integration. Conversations are encrypted and no video or audio is recorded.
Sidekick is currently being offered in the US on a subscription basis, at a list price of $50 per user, per month.