September 13th and 14th saw the launch of the fifth annual Zoomtopia user event, a much anticipated conference for Zoom users, and a critical marker in the progress of digital transformation and the hybrid workplace.
The all-virtual Zoomtopia event this year highlighted the evolution of collaboration technology, and the confirmation that hybrid working is forever stitched into the fabric of the modern workplace.
In this blog, we’ll cover some of the focal points of the Zoomtopia event, with some key takeaways on how organizations will benefit from the burgeoning role that Zoom is playing in the communication world today.
This year’s Zoomtopia theme
The theme of Zoomtopia 2021 was the "Imaginarium" – the imagining of ways in which people can collaborate in the new hybrid world of work. The Imaginarium is where the best ideas are created and built, to spark imagination and foster creativity.
The meteoric rise of Zoom
Since founding in 2011 as a video conferencing start-up, Zoom has become a major player in the communication and collaboration space.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic threw the business world into disarray, Zoom has experienced rapid growth, becoming a household name and used by tens of millions around the world.
When it was first thrust into the spotlight, Zoom suffered some noteworthy backlash concerning security and privacy. But Zoom quickly introduced a range of measures to improve their security and rectify the issues they were having. They’ve also taken further strides to mature their security capabilities and will soon be releasing additional security enhancements, such as bringing your own encryption key and identity verification.
Most businesses are fully on board with the vital role that collaboration technology is playing in business continuity. Zoom’s newest offerings, as revealed at Zoomtopia, are dedicated to helping organizations make the smooth transition from remote work to hybrid.
Zoom’s product updates to empower the hybrid workplace
Zoom has revealed a number of new features, from an upcoming virtual reality capability to several major enhancements to its enterprise feature set. Some of the updates are set to roll out almost immediately, while others are scheduled to be launched in 2022.
Zoom’s new innovations have been designed to further empower hybrid teams, connect workstreams and engage communities. Zoom’s new tools will enhance collaboration, productivity and entertainment, with interactive and immersive virtual applications. Let’s take a look at some of the new features.
Zoomtopia was hosted on Zoom’s soon to be released conference platform, Zoom Events. Taking things a step (or three) further than just webinars, Zoom Events allows for the setup of full-scale virtual events - a smart endeavour in the current unpredictable global climate.
Using Zoom Events, organizers will be able to set up a virtual lobby, expo floor, sponsor booths, networking spaces, and sessions across multiple streams.
Zoom Video Engagement Center
The Zoom Video Engagement Center is set to launch in early 2022. It’s described as a cloud-based offering allowing businesses to harness Zoom’s video conferencing capabilities to provide specialist and technical support as well as sales assistance for customers.
It can be integrated into a company’s own web applications to let users connect with customer support teams directly through the interface and will also work with mobile apps.
Expanded translation and transcription
Zoom are extending their automated transcription to thirty languages and adding live translation to twelve languages. These new features sill help to overcome language barriers and facilitate dynamic conversation, communication and collaboration. The announcement of the real time translation function comes after Zoom acquired the German translation company Kites.
Zoom Whiteboarding across all devices
The enhanced Zoom Whiteboard, anticipated to roll out later this year, will enable seamless, asynchronous collaboration across a wide range of devices.
You’ll be able to interact with a virtual whiteboard, just as you would in person. Zoom is also teaming up with Oculus from Facebook to build a Zoom Whiteboard integration for Oculus Horizons Workrooms, so users can access and annotate a whiteboard within a virtual reality environment.
Due to user demand, Zoom will be delivering on integrations with popular third-party chat tools, including with the company’s own competitors: Cisco Webex, Slack and Microsoft Teams.
Soon, users will be able to share files, recordings and chats from Zoom Meetings to Zoom Chat and Channels for easy reference and collaboration on documents without having to leave the Zoom client.
Within the next few months, Zoom will be adding a new toggle view for Zoom Chat channels. Huddle view will give a visual representation of a channel, giving teams a sense of togetherness while they chat and collaborate.
Since launching in 2019, Zoom phone, the company’s cloud-based phone system, has amassed over 2 million users – an impressive growth milestone by any standard.
Having learned from the previous security mishaps, Zoom are ramping up security enhancements for Zoom Phone and users will soon receive an end-to-end encryption option aimed at cybersecurity-conscious organizations.
With end-to-end encryption, data traffic is scrambled before it leaves a user’s device and is only decrypted once it arrives at the intended destination. Because the traffic travels through Zoom’s servers in an encrypted form, not even the company itself can decipher the data.
Zoom video voicemails
A more personal and interactive alternative to standard voicemails, Zoom video voicemails enable users to leave video messages for colleagues directly into their voicemail inbox.
Zoom’s video conferencing application for conference rooms is being upgraded to allow users to ‘select seats or arrangements recommended by Zoom’s AI’. The planned AI capability is aimed at allowing organizations to reconfigure their workspaces for flexible working.
Smart Gallery view
The new feature takes a single camera view and uses AI to transform it into multiple video streams for each participant in a conference room, enhancing the face-to-face meeting experience.
The aim of Smart Gallery is to focus more closely on groups of participants in a Zoom Room and display these people more clearly to remote attendees, ensuring equity and inclusion for remote meeting attendees.
As hybrid working models are becoming the norm, businesses are prioritizing flexible workspaces. Zoom hot desking enables employees to book desks and spaces using an interactive map, and eventually select seats or arrangements recommended by Zoom’s AI, giving organizations the ability to reconfigure their workspaces for flexible working.
Zoom Phone already offers some hot-desking capabilities, and they will be bringing a new QR code hot desking experience to Zoom Phone Appliances and Zoom Rooms in beta later this year.
With these, and other exciting new tools and innovations, Zoom is continuing to empower the hybrid workplace by offering versatility, flexibility and a more enjoyable interactive way to work.
True to their mission statement, Zoom is delivering on their promise to provide a people-centric cloud service that improves and enhances the quality and effectiveness of communications in today’s workplace.