ETH Zurich presentation template
matrix / element communication
There exist plenty of communication channels over the internet nowadays, and a lot of our messages is still deliver via email. There is one reason why email has not been easily replaced is that it's an open and federated system: users may join the conversation without committing to a specific vendor or creating an account on a specific website. In fact, anybody can run their own email server and exchange emails with the rest of the email users around the world.
Emails have some other problems, like the lack of easy end-to-end encryption, and is not suitable for real-time conversation. A more modern communication solution is Matrix.
Matrix is an open standard for secure, decentralized, federated, real-time communication. It is implemented in different clients, the most popular one being Element (available for desktop and mobile). It allows one-to-one instant communication but also group communication in "rooms". Video/audio/file exchange is natively supported.
Similar to what happens with email, you need an account on a matrix server (any matrix server, even your own) in order to join the conversation. My account is @bsaverio:staffchat.ethz.ch and is hosted on the matrix servers at ETH Zurich. Quite a few universities have their own servers, and matrix.org offers accounts on their server for free.
The project is still young and not so widespread, but as of now I think it has potential, if you really want an interoperable solution that allows people from different universities, companies, groups, to communicate freely while maintaining control of their data. Give it a try and feel free to use it to get in touch with me!
If you are unsure about how to do it, you should know that Thunderbird now offers a relatively smooth experience with end-to-end encryption.