U-M retires BlueJeans videoconferencing service

BlueJeans logo

One of the university’s original videoconferencing services, BlueJeans, was retired on May 1. Information and Technology Services (ITS) will continue to offer Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams for all faculty, staff, and students to use at no cost.

The U-M community uses videoconferencing services to facilitate everything from remote meetings to virtual classrooms, research collaborations to yoga classes and everything between. BlueJeans was first introduced to campus in 2012 by IT professionals within the College of Literature, Sciences, and the Arts, and was soon adopted by the School of Social Work and the School of Education in winter 2013. With help from ITS, a consortium was formed in 2014 to officially offer the videoconferencing service across the Ann Arbor, Dearborn, Flint, and Michigan Medicine campuses.

Remembering how it all started and some of the key projects where BlueJeans played an important role, Todd Austin, videoconferencing lead  for LSA shares, “We’re grateful for the amazing experiences we were able to create for the U-M community using BlueJeans that just would not have been possible with other platforms available at the time –– allowing us to run Virtual Exchange classes like community health nursing with Haiti, connecting President Schlissel with our Shanghai Jiao Tong Joint Institute partners over challenging network conditions, bringing together student collaborators from across North Africa with U-M students for a Davidson Institute project, and so many more.”

To optimize costs and services provided, the university decided to retire BlueJeans when the contract was coming to an end. ITS notified students, faculty, and staff who have used BlueJeans in the past, and is working closely with key stakeholders, unit staff, and IT leadership across all campuses to provide direct support where needed. Since ITS began campus outreach in September 2020, the number of users and meetings held via BlueJeans dropped consistently to help with a smooth retirement. 

Over the years, multiple cloud-based videoconferencing solutions continued to be added to the list of services offered by ITS. Apart from the tangible benefits of making communication and collaboration easy in situations where everyone cannot be in the same physical space, these services contribute to U-M’s environmental goals, as well.

It has been a significant year in terms of the university community’s use of technology. Since the university shifted most of its face-to-face interactions online, the use of videoconferencing tools in particular has skyrocketed. U-M faculty, staff, and students spent a cumulative total of more than 4,500 million minutes –– or 8,500 years worth of time –– in videoconferencing meetings and events held over BlueJeans, Zoom, and Google Meet between March 2020 and March 2021. 

“We’re appreciative of the university community’s partnership in moving their online meetings to Zoom,” said Andy Palms, executive director of infrastructure for ITS. “We look forward to continuing to help the U-M community create positive experiences while connecting remotely.”

Individuals with questions about the BlueJeans retirement can contact the ITS Service Center or the BlueJeans project team at BlueJeansTeam@umich.edu.