Zoom Announces Expanded Platform, New Technologies at Zoomtopia 2019

Zoom Video Communications just announced at Zoomtopia 2019 (its annual user conference) that major additions are coming to its software platforms. All of these, which are outlined below, will be become available on the platform by the end of January 2020.

  • New Zoom Rooms Appliances: These are purpose-built Zoom Rooms hardware devices that Zoom is “promoting” as intimately compatible with their Rooms solutions – and, in at least one case, they are investing money too. Zoom will partner with neat, Poly and DTEN to allow customers to scale video to more use cases and environments. Zoom announced an investment in neat in which they are going to ship an all-in-one system with a combination speaker bar, mic-array and camera to Zoom customers directly. Further, neat has an accompanying touch-screen (think Logitech Tap) to single-touch launch a room.
  • Zoom Rooms User Experience Features: There will be new features added such as “Find a Room” on scheduling displays, a whiteboard companion, room controllers/scheduling displays, audio-based speaker tracking, Zoom Room profiles and enhanced digital signage. This is meant to build a more consistent user experience (UX) for collaboration boards using Zoom. Each one has their own user-interface but this will make them operate almost identically.
  • Zoom Rooms Enterprise Management: The Zoom Rooms controller will natively support customizable IP-based commands. Administrators will also be able to remotely manage Zoom Rooms iOS, Mac OS and Windows OS devices without a third-party MDM from the Zoom Admin Portal.
  • New Zoom Phone Available: The service will now be available in Ireland, New Zealand and Puerto Rico (it’s already available in the U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia). Zoom Phone will also begin beta testing in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
  • Zoom Meetings: Zoom will provide simultaneous interpretation. The service takes original audio, mixes it with interpreter audio at an optimal ratio and enables the listener to hear both audio channels.
  • Zoom Chat: Zoom will be adding comments and reactions, and will allow users to react to specific messages with emojis.

As you likely know, Zoom’s current ecosystem provides integrations with hardware, software and channel partners to include Poly, Crestron, Logitech, Avocor and Extron. New additions include:

  • New Zoom Phone Carriers: Zoom’s Bring Your Own Carrier (BYOC) Program now includes GTT and Voxbone. The Zoom Contact Center Center Partner Program now includes Genesys, NICE inContact and Talkdesk for easy-to-manage call routing. Zoom has certified products from the AudioCodes session border controller (SBC) and desk phone portfolio and supports Algo and Cyberdata overhead paging solutions.
  • Targeting Microsoft Teams: Zoom will add features to Zoom for Microsoft, making it easier to use in conjunction with Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Outlook. There will also be new security integrations and ServiceNow integration for automatic ticketing to resolve issues in Zoom Rooms. So it’s obvious that Zoom still wants Microsoft Teams users to use Zoom inside of teams. In one of the most hilarious moves of the day, Zoom took a giant swipe at Cisco by adding one additional minute of free service than offered by Cisco’d competing WebEx platform – here are the details:
  • Channel Support: The Reseller Partners Marketing Development Funds (MDF) Program will help partners drive demand generation and go-to market activities. There will also be an updated Certified Integrator Program with a recertification process and a tier system and an updated Certified Hardware Program.

Avocor and Logitech recently launched a partnership in the Avocor ALZ collaboration board product for Zoom Rooms. Jabra and Zoom announced that the Jabra PanaCast was selected as the video solution for Zoom’s new Zoom Rooms Speaker Switching solution. DTEN also announced the DTEN ON 55″, a dedicated 4K resolution touch Zoom-based collaboration board. Poly’s X Series all-in-one video bars are yet another hardware partnership announcement coming out of San Jose at Zoomtopia 2019.

Zoom has added capabilities in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, location-based services, face detection and personalization to its platform too. These changes will affect the following:

  • Zoom Meetings: Otter.ai will transcribe Zoom meetings in real-time and will save the transcripts. Users will also be able to use this function for voice note-taking. There will also be new options for mixed-reality virtual backgrounds.
  • Zoom Rooms: Zoom will use AI-based face detection to give administrators counts of attendees in Zoom Rooms meetings.

We live-tweeted the Opening Keynote of Zoomtopia 2019 — see the Twitter Moment below. Zoom Video Communications is here. Also, Gary Kayye considers Zoom the Apple of AV and you can read about that here.

This article was co-authored by Steph Beckett and Gary Kayye.