Zoom Video Communications, the company behind the well-known video conferencing, has now announced plans for new features as part of the “Zoomtopia”.
The last 18 months have seen the most dynamic phase in the company’s ten-year history, according to Zoom CEO Eric Subrah Yuan in a press release – Zoom is currently presenting plans and functions at the company’s own event.
Probably the most exciting new item in the announced repertoire is likely to be the whiteboard, which can be created and used both before, during or after a meeting. With the whiteboard function, approved team members and added external persons should be able to visualize their ideas, for example using small sketches or post-its. A detailed version history shows how the work process on the board went and makes changes traceable. Overall, the feature is available both mobile for Android and iOS and in the desktop and browser versions for Mac or Windows, the beta version should appear this year. The whiteboard function will also be part of a cooperation with the Horizon workrooms solution, which will be launched at the beginning of next year.
To make the previous meetings more inclusive, Zoom is already offering real-time transcription in English – the range of subtitles is to be expanded to around 30 additional languages over the course of the next year. There is also the option of having the spoken word translated directly. Initially, there will not be as much choice of languages as there is for transcription – and the function will be available as a chargeable add-on.
The so-called Smart Gallery in Zoom Rooms is currently in the beta version, and next year it will be rolled out in phases for meeting rooms of all sizes. Individual video feeds and different perspective orientations are intended to make the images in video conferences more visually appealing.
Above all, the Video Contact Center is intended to offer companies and service providers an additional opportunity to hold digital customer discussions with a picture, suitable templates and tools for preparation and follow-up. The beta version for this will appear this winter, the actual release is then planned for next year.
In addition to the introduction of new tools, Zoom is also developing a number of existing functions: For example, Zoom Events are to be expanded to include a conference mode, in which events can be hosted over several days and in multiple lanes. The new format will be supplemented by recordings, analyzes and the like relating to the event. The embedding of third-party apps, in which, for example, services such as Dropbox are integrated directly into the Zoom application and can be used, are also being promoted further. Here, for example, apps for webinars, mobile use and immersive apps are intended to expand the existing repertoire.
Voice messages, which you speak to the answering machine on Zoom Phone, will in future also be available with a picture: A short video message should be a more personal alternative to standard voicemails.
The Continuous Collaboration function is an extension of the Zoom Chats, which will be available from September 2021: The Zoom Chat should still be traceable after a call with added files, recordings and, of course, the messages that were written during the meeting and be useful for further work.
At a time when there are many employees working from home and staffing restrictions in the office, Zoom probably doesn’t want to ignore space management either: Via hot desk, employees can reserve desks and seats in their offices using an interactive map. Employees can then use their individual zoom interface directly through authentication at the workplace. The “Bring Your Own Key” offer for zoom products, which is due to appear in a beta version in 2021, will also be individual. In the coming year, they also want to extend end-to-end encryption to Zoom Phone.
Overall, it is not yet clear which of the announced innovations will be available free of charge: When asked, the company said that some of the announced features would be unlocked for users at no additional cost, while others – such as the translation function – would be offered as chargeable extensions .