Zoom Announces New And Interesting Services And Features At Zoomtopia 2021

Zoom is holding its fifth annual Zoomtopia event today, where it announced many improvements and expansions coming to Zoom.

Zoom Announces New And Interesting Services And Features At Zoomtopia 2021

Zoom became a leader in the video solutions space since the acceleration of video call solutions and hybrid/remote workflows during Covid-19. Zoom has matured significantly in many ways, including security and privacy, since it was thrust into the spotlight at the pandemic’s beginning. Since then, I have been watching Zoom very closely and wanted to unpack some of the new innovations that Zoom has to offer in the video call solutions space. Let’s dive right in.

Zoom’s numerous announcements

Zoom added Conferences to Zoom Events to organize multi-day and multi-track events in one format. Zoom is adding event lobbies, chat, networking, sponsors, surveys, recordings, and analytics and says hosts and attendees can customize experiences based on background. Zoom told me that this year’s Zoomtopia is run on Zoom Events, Conferences.

I’m very interested in comparing this platform to the custom event platform I use for the Six Five Summit. I need to blend live and recorded videos into different tracks and collect analytics that delivers the right degree of global privacy. Ease of track management will be crucial as this is paramount to our Summit. As I learn more about the feature set and kick the tires, I will let you know.

Zoom also announced what it is calling its Video Engagement Center (VEC), a video contact center that allows an enterprise’s customers to be intelligently connected with CSR experts. As any of us that have experienced a call center, the experience generally stinks without some form of intelligence. Video, for some end customers, provides a more personal touch versus audio only. I’m not saying every end customer wants video, but many do, and imagine how much value there is when there’s a customer who can better “show” the CSR what’s going on. Zoom showed the VEC in a kiosk of a store and I thought that was a pretty unique use of VEC. Also, this is a no-brainer for healthcare.

Zoom says it uses cloud-first scalability and its trusted video architecture which you would expect. Earlier in the year, I wrote about Zoom looking to acquire Cloud Contact Center Five9, which you can read about here and watch the Six Five coverage here. Zoom’s VEC is a part of Zoom’s initiative to create the first complete best-of-breed cloud communications portfolio. Zoom is jumping into a unique market and filled with other players like Cisco, AWS, AVAYA, Mitel, NICE, Genesys, 8x8, and Twilio. This new solution also coincides with Zoom as a do-it-yourself kind of company. Although Zoom is still looking to acquire Five9, I think this means there will be more to come from its cloud-based Video Engagement Center related to video as Five9 are the audio experts. I liked how Zoom is putting calls first in its contact center experience and is looking to automate the whole process, which is what everyone would expect from Zoom. Zoom says its intent is to help enhance the interactive experience between customers. One way it is achieving this is by including templates for a “plug and play” experience for the contact center manager.

Zoom Whiteboard is Zoom’s new virtual hub that allows for asynchronous collaboration. It is a feature that we already see in other video call solutions like Google Meet. Another new feature that will go hand-in-hand regarding information retention is its Live transcription and automated translation features for more accessibility and inclusivity. It will come alongside its existing live transcription feature.

Zoom has implemented other inclusive and hybrid-specific solutions such as Hot Desking and Zoom Rooms Smart Gallery. Zoom says Hot Desking will allow employees to reserve desks and spaces in offices and will include an interactive map and easy authentication. Zoom Rooms Smart gallery uses AI to create individual video feeds of in-room participants. This solution is unique in that it brings inclusivity to those who are working remotely. I’m interested to see how this works on a case-by-case basis since every meeting room is different, and the quality of those individual feeds could vary.  It would be difficult for rooms with circular tables without a 360-degree camera and even more difficult for rooms with oval tables. Even with rooms with square tables, everyone in the room is faced toward the head of the table; attendees of the live meeting would have to be turned toward the camera constantly. I am also curious if it takes up more bandwidth or if it is done on the front-end with the remote user. Infrastructure vendors like Poly are enabling these experiences to come to life. Poly made announcements today, too, and you can find them here.

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