Skip to main content

Big Blue Button

Big Blue Button, or BBB, is an alternative to Zoom. It is free to use, and there are no time limits on using it.

BBB is at

Why use the Big Blue Button?

  • free to use
  • unlimited time
  • you can run as many meetings as you like at the same time
  • sits on our XR secure servers (so more secure than Zoom)
  • AND runs on renewables!

Zoom is the most commonly used video conferencing tool however it doesn’t belong to XR so isn’t secure. If your topic of discussion is extremely sensitive and you don't want any interception then you should NOT be using Zoom. Zoom can view recordings of meetings and view messages and access links sent via Zoom chat. Big Blue Button is XR’s own video conferencing tool and more secure than Zoom. BBB is held on our XR secure servers and runs on renewable energy.

A short presentation comparing Zoom and Big Blue Button is available here.

How to Use BBB Video

If you prefer visual learning to the instructions below, you can watch this video guide to learn the basics of using Big Blue Button.
Note: The video guide refers to an icon in Mattermost to start a Big Blue Button call without an account. Unfortunately, this is no longer available.

Requesting A BBB Account

The advantage to having an account for your XR group is that anyone (irrespective of whether they have a Hub log-in or not) can access a BBB meeting. Once you have an account, you can create as many 'rooms' as you like within your account (giving each room a name such as Anchor Group, M&M, Actions etc) and each room has a unique URL [address]. You copy the URL for the room and send that with the date and time of the meeting. Then attendees click on the link at the start of the meeting, add their name and the BBB will open in a new Windows tab. So an LG can have a BBB account and then run their XR meetings even if not everyone present is on Mattermost & the Hub.

To get an account --

  • Email:
    Email from your XR group's email address and not a personal email address. In your email, include which group you are in. Once the account is created, you will be emailed the account details. Your group's email address will be the login/sign-in name and you can change the password to one of your choice.

Joining a call

When you click the link to join the call you will be asked to connect your audio and webcam. Select Microphone, and check that if you speak you hear yourself coming back through your device. Don't worry, no one else can hear this!

Welcome to BBB! This large Welcome screen takes up most of the window, but if you click the blue box in the top right corner it will go away and there will be more space to see other people on the call. Down the left-hand side you can see who else has joined, and if they are connected to video and audio, and the Public Chat area.

If you can't see the columns on the left, look for the little person icon in the top left corner and click that to open up the sidebar.

In the main window, you will see a few blue buttons, and this is where you can control your Audio and Video. Click the microphone to mute or unmute yourself.

The button that looks like a video camera is to turn on your webcam. Like your audio, when you first use the 'log in to the meeting', there will be a pop-up window where you can choose your settings, and you will see a preview screen. Your camera should be automatically detected your camera, so unless you want to choose a different webcam, just click Start Sharing.

To screen share on BBB you have to follow a couple of steps. Unlike Zoom where one person is the host and has control over the whole call, everyone is equal on BBB. Look for the blue button at the bottom of the screen with a + in it. Click this, and you will get the option to Take Presenter. Once you have done this you will get an extra option next to your video and audio buttons to Share your screen.

Once screen sharing begins it will give you a delightful "rabbit hole" effect of windows within windows -- don't worry, once you switch to a different tab or window this will disappear -- just don't use the BBB tab to open the website you want to share, or you will automatically come out of the session!

Note that you cannot screen share on a mobile device.

There are a few other options if you click the three vertical dots in the top right of the window.

At the end of the meeting you can go here to End meeting or Leave meeting -- or you can just close the tab in your browser and you will have left! Once everyone has left the meeting, even if no one clicks End, it will automatically finish.

You can have a meeting on BBB for as long as you like, there is no time limit.

Big Blue Button on a Mobile

As with using BBB on a computer, when you log in you will need to confirm your microphone and camera settings -- it will detect them automatically from your device, so you don't need to change anything. Your phone may also ask you to 'Allow' BBB to use your microphone and camera, click 'Allow' to both of these.

Get rid of the Welcome screen to make more space to see the other folks on your call!

To pull up the list of the other people on the call and the Public Chat, click the little person icon in the top left of the screen. Click the same icon to minimise this column so you can see who you are speaking to again.

Click on the three vertical dots on the top right hand of the screen, or close the internet browser to leave the call.