Whether users are working from the office or connecting to family and friends from home, people are taking the Zoom platform everywhere they go. Zoom has become more than a video communication service, Zoom Founder and CEO Eric Yuan said. “Zoom has become the thing you do,” he added.
That‘s because stay-at-home mandates began rolling out in early 2020 to help slow the spread of COVID-19. As a result, users all over the globe flocked to Zoom to continue to stay connected with loved ones and to keep working remotely and collaborating with colleagues. In fact, Yuan said its platform now hosts more than three trillion annualized meeting minutes, with more than 300 million daily meeting participants.
With millions of users in mind, Zoom took to Zoomtopia 2020, its fourth annual conference and virtual event this year, to reveal several new offerings, such as OnZoom and Zapps, as well as a handful of updates to its Zoom Phone and Webinar platforms, and of course, security updates.
Here‘s what Zoom introduced at Zoomtopia 2020 that businesses and solutions providers should know about.
Revealed on stage at Zoomtopia, OnZoom is the company's new events platform that lets users browse, schedule, create and host live events. Using the secure OnZoom platform, business users and consumers can schedule, host, and monetize one-time events, event series, and drop-ins for up to 1000 attendees, depending on the Zoom Meeting license. Users can list and sell tickets for their events and share and promote public events via email and social media.
Zoom users of both free and enterprise accounts can log in to their OnZoom account, search the directory of public events and purchase tickets online via PayPal and major credit cards; gift OnZoom tickets to other users; and donate to nonprofit organizations through events with active fundraisers, which is powered by Pledgeling, a free and enterprise fundraising platform. Users can join events, and use the calendar feature to schedule, save, or favorite an upcoming event, Zoom said.
Zapps is the new marketplace for applications that can be used to pull up and launch a variety of apps, including collaboration, productivity, education, within the Zoom platform. There are more than 35 launch partners that have worked with the company to build their “Zapps” right into Zoom as of now, including collaboration and file sharing tools such as Asana, Box, Dropbox, and Slack, marketing, sales, and customer service tools including Hubspot, Salesforce, ServiceNow, Slack, SurveyMonkey, Zendesk, and game-based learning platform Kahoot.
Zapps can be launched from right inside a Zoom meeting, chat, webinar, or phone calls. Users can search and add approved Zapps to be integrated directly into their paid or free Zoom accounts. By the end of this year or early next year, developers will also be able to take advantage of Zoom‘s open APIs to create and build their own Zapps that can be submitted to Zoom for testing, approval, hosting, and publishing.
Zapps is now in public beta for US-based users. The company said it has plans to roll out Zapps to international users down the road.
A boost of security
Zoom in May announced it would be building in an end-to-end encryption (E2EE) meeting option and at Zoomtopia, the video specialist announced phase one of four of E2EE.
With Zoom’s E2EE, the meeting’s host can generate encryption keys and use public key cryptography on their own machine and distribute these keys to the other meeting participants. This process blocks Zoom’s servers from seeing the encryption keys required to decrypt the meeting contents. Zoom’s E2EE offering will be available as a technical preview starting next week. Zoom is soliciting feedback from users for the first 30 days.
Zoom said that in April it paused its product development roadmap to turn all of its attention and resources to security. The company‘s 90-day security plan came to an end in July.
Zoom phone, with texting
Zoom Phone, a cloud-based voice offering introduced in 2019, is one of the most important pieces of the Zoom portfolio as users seek to access all of their communication and collaboration tools in one place, Yuan said.
The company is also working on a texting capability that will allow businesses to communicate with their employees and clients via SMS messaging. Zoom Phone SMS is currently in beta with general availability planned by the end of 2020, with Team SMS planned for early 2021, Zoom said.
Additionally, Zoom Phone will soon include AI-powered spam detection and blocking for potential spam calls. The system can be configured to route spam calls to voicemail or block them automatically. This feature is expected to go into beta in November 2020 with general availability slated for early 2021.
The company announced that Zoom Phone is also now available in 42 countries and territories globally. Zoom Phone now has more than 500,000 users.
More room for expression
It‘s been more than seven months of virtual communication for many employees, so Zoom wants to help combat Zoom fatigue with new features that will make meetings more immersive and engaging.
The company is introducing immersive scenes, which allow meeting hosts to set a custom background theme for their meetings or create layouts where participant videos are embedded within a scene that everyone shares, like a classroom or courtroom.
Zoom meetings and webinars will also have a series of new animated reactions to make nonverbal communication more noticeable to speakers and other attendees and the animations will also include sounds, such as clapping, the company said.
Employee safety enhancements to Zoom room
Companies all over the globe are making the necessary adjustments to bring their employees back to the office when the time is right. Some businesses are adopting a hybrid model in which a limited number of employees return to the office on specific days. Zoom announced several platform enhancements to help the workplace evolve.
The new Zoom Rooms Kiosk Mode lets visitors and employees remotely engage a receptionist virtually over Zoom, who can collect any data needed for contact tracing or health purposes. The Zoom Rooms Kiosk Mode is anticipated to be available as a beta by the end of 2020, the company said.
The new Zoom Rooms Scheduling Display People Counting feature lets attendees can view the number of people already in the room and see if it’s at capacity. Scheduling Display is expected to support in-room people counting by the end of 2020, Zoom said.
The company is also working on enhanced voice commands for Zoom Rooms that will allow attendees to start a meeting by simply saying “Hello Zoom, start meeting.” This feature has been available, but Zoom is expected to expand Zoom Rooms OS support as a beta by the end of the year, according to the company.