The Brazilian Space Agency’s (AEB) Department of Information Technology moved from Slack to Rocket.Chat over a year ago when they outgrew Slack’s free offering and needed a self-managed open source alternative. Rocket.Chat has now overtaken email as the number-one communication tool in the department.

Alongside the growing space exploration, the agency develops technology for domestic purposes such as communications satellites and data collection satellites that map Brazil’s diverse terrain and environment and uses Rocket.Chat to communicate with internal team members and external researchers and contributors.

Connecting remote colleagues with real-time chat

Much of the AEB’s work involves collaboration within the organization’s own departments and with remote researchers who are based across the world.

The AEB’s Information Technology Department found emails to be a slow and unresponsive way of communicating with these remote colleagues. Instead, the department started using Slack’s free version to collaborate in real-time.

Slack was working well until the team reached the platform’s limit of 10,000 searchable messages and lost many important documents in the process. Useful features, like video conferencing and screen sharing, were also unavailable with Slack’s free version.

The AEB moves to Rocket.Chat

The department heard that Rocket.Chat was open source, self-managed (and founded in Brazil) and so decided to switch.

According to Eduardo Santos, a Technologist in the department, the team’s Rocket.Chat is running well, is stable and has solved a lot of issues the team had with Slack.

“Rocket.Chat is the first tool I open when I come to work”

The ability to self-host with Rocket.Chat also means that confidential documents are kept secure by their own policies on their own servers.

What next for the AEB and Rocket.Chat

The Information Technology Department is currently working with the Rocket.Chat team to explore new integrations, such as Nextcloud, and Eduardo has said that he would like to see an integration for Telescope, the program the agency use to auto-generate press releases.

Most of the Information Technology Department have the Rocket.Chat app on their personal devices and Eduardo estimates that 10 to 20 percent of the AEB as a whole is using Rocket.Chat. His aim for 2018 is to roll out Rocket.Chat usage to the entire agency.