Zoomtopia 2019 Showcases Expanded Unified Communications Platform and Ecosystem, and New Technologies to Empower Communications
Zoom Video Communications, Inc. has this week announced at Zoomtopia 2019 major expansions to its video-first unified communications platform, deep integrations and partnerships to grow its ecosystem and the laying of a foundation for empowered communications. Adding over 300 features since Zoomtopia 2018, the company has increased its already-robust pace of innovation over the previous year. All capabilities announced in this release will be available by the end of January 2020, with many available now.
“We are proud that everything we’ve built at Zoom - from our core video architecture to our UI - is designed to make your meetings, as our customers say, ‘Just work,’” said Oded Gal, Chief Product Officer for Zoom. “But we’re not stopping there. At Zoom, we are about empowering people to do more with video communications. Deploy intelligent Zoom Rooms quickly on purpose-built appliances, use Zoom Phone in new geographies and new use cases, and streamline laborious tasks such as creating and sharing meeting notes. It’s all designed to remove friction and replace it with empowering communications experiences, so you can do more.”
UNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS PLATFORM EXPANSION
Zoom’s unified communications platform provides video meetings, voice, webinars, and chat across desktops, phones, mobile devices, and conference room systems in a single client experience. Zoom is expanding the capabilities of this cloud video PBX platform with new and coming innovations:
Zoom Rooms Appliances
Zoom Rooms disrupts the conference room market again with appliances developed by industry-leading hardware providers, alongside its existing fully open hardware ecosystem. Zoom Rooms Appliances are purpose-built Zoom Rooms hardware for simplified procurement, installation, and full-stack manageability. These appliances provide these immediate benefits for large scale room deployments while setting the stage for a new wave of room intelligence, analytics, and manageability. Building Zoom Rooms on a platform of strong co-development with select partners allows customers to scale video to more use cases and environments than ever possible. Kicking off this program are:
- Neat: Neat designs and engineers elegant video devices for Zoom, bringing revolutionary meeting experiences to Zoom users everywhere. The company was founded in Oslo, Norway by a team that for decades have shaped game-changing innovations for some of the most recognized brands in video communications. Neat Bar is a purpose-built, compact meeting room system that delivers superior quality for huddle rooms and small meeting spaces. It comes with a dedicated controller and optional scheduling display and costs $2,500. Zoom users can pre-order Neat Bar online beginning today, with shipping slated for late December. Neat Board is a 65-inch touch collaboration board, delivering the ultimate modern collaboration experience in the meeting space and available to pre-order in January. All Neat products are available to buy directly online from neat.no and ship globally. Offering unique features, they are easy to set-up and use, making Zoom Rooms the smoothest and best it's ever been.
- Poly: Poly Studio X Series are new purpose-built all-in-one video bars that dramatically simplify the Zoom Rooms experience and feature Poly MeetingAI capabilities for breakthrough audio and video quality. The Poly Studio X30 and Poly Studio X50 pack decades of engineering expertise into easy to install, easy to manage, and easy to use video conferencing hardware that runs Zoom Rooms without the need for a PC or Mac. Poly G7500 video endpoint for mid- to large-sized conference rooms will also run the Zoom Rooms app natively. The Poly Studio X30 and Poly Studio X50 will be priced at $2,199 and $3,499 respectively and will be available for pre-order in November with general availability in North America, Europe, and select additional countries by December 2019. The Poly G7500 for Zoom will be available as a software update for the G7500 in December 2019.
- DTEN: Functioning as a Zoom Rooms for Touch Appliance, the DTEN ON 55’’ is a single device that can enable video conferencing and interactive whiteboarding for small to mid-sized rooms. The DTEN ON provides flexible payment options that make high-quality video conference rooms more accessible than ever. Customers can choose from $149 per month (no contract or down payment required and cancel at any time) to as low as $79 a month with multi-year commitment. The subscription comes with 24/7 customer support and 30-minutes response time. This hardware-as-a-service solution is equipped with all the components you need right out of the box to connect and create more productively. The DTEN ON also has a 27” version, perfect for smaller spaces such as home offices. It is equipped with 3 cameras and 8-microphone array, costing $599.
“Innovation from Zoom is once again at the forefront at its annual Zoomtopia user conference,” said Roopam Jain, Industry Director for Unified Communications and Collaboration, Frost & Sullivan. “I am particularly impressed with Zoom Rooms. Zoom Rooms has always been a disruptive alternative to costly, walled-off legacy hardware room systems, and the new appliance program enables AV teams to video-enable every huddle and conference room while continuing to offer robust speed of innovation to users.”
Zoom Rooms User Experience
- “Find a Room” on scheduling displays: In addition to seeing upcoming meetings and scheduling meetings on-the-fly, scheduling displays now let users see and book spaces ad hoc through an availability map of nearby rooms.
- Whiteboard companion: Deploy an accompanying Zoom Rooms for Touch device in an existing Zoom Room and use it as a dedicated whiteboard without additional licenses. Companion whiteboard simply uses an interactive display and a computer; no room controller, camera, and audio components are required.
- Multiple room controllers and scheduling displays: To provide a better experience in large rooms, Zoom Rooms now supports up to two room controllers and scheduling displays per room.
- Audio-based speaker tracking: The Zoom Rooms camera can be set to switch to one of three presets based on microphone pick-up using select supported microphones.
- Zoom Room profiles: Administrators can create A/V and display settings under profiles, allowing in-room attendees to switch between different profiles based on room use cases such as lecture mode, single presenter mode, and panel mode.
- Enhanced digital signage: Digital signage, which allows companies to display branding and information across their offices, now features split screens to display multiple content at once and widgets for displaying weather, date, time, and Twitter and RSS feeds.
Zoom Rooms Enterprise Management
- Native control integration: The Zoom Rooms controller will natively support customizable IP-based commands. This allows customers to manage lighting, window shades, or any other IP-controlled devices directly from the controller.
- Zoom device management: Administrators may remotely manage Zoom Rooms iOS, Mac OS, and Windows OS devices without a third-party MDM from the Zoom Admin Portal, simplifying device deployment and ongoing management.
- Expanded service in three new countries and territories: In addition to existing availability in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia, Zoom Phone is now generally available in Ireland, New Zealand, and Puerto Rico.
- Beta service availability in 11 new countries: Zoom will begin native Zoom Phone beta testing in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
- Additional new capabilities: Citrix Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) support, global dial plans, location-based call routing, and dynamic e911 support.
- Simultaneous interpretation: Users bring their own interpreters and Zoom provides multiple audio channels that mix the original and interpreter audio at an optimal ratio that enables the listener to understand the interpreter but also hear the tone of the original speaker.
- Comments and reactions (beta): These enhancements organize conversations happening in parallel and allow users to react to specific messages with emojis, greatly improving the user experience.
ZOOM ECOSYSTEM DEVELOPMENT
Zoom has built a robust ecosystem of deep integrations and relationships with hardware, software, and channel partners to create the best experiences for its users. New and coming to this ecosystem:
- GTT and Voxbone join the Zoom Bring Your Own Carrier (BYOC) Program: BYOC enables Zoom Phone customers to keep their current PSTN service provider. These partners provide new direct on-net brokered SIP peering for Zoom Phone customers.
- Genesys, NICE inContact, and Talkdesk join the Zoom Contact Center Partner Program: Native integrations enable efficient on-net SIP trunk peering and provide easy-to-manage call routing options to these popular cloud contact center platforms. Five9 and Twilio are existing members of this program.
- New integrations:
- Zoom has certified products from the AudioCodes session border controller (SBC) and desk phone portfolio.
- Zoom now supports Algo and Cyberdata overhead paging solutions.
Product Integrations & The Zoom App Marketplace
Zoom brings together integrations built by Zoom, partner, and third-party developers, extending the platform with new functionalities. Marketplace apps are vetted by Zoom for security and user experience. Since it launched at Zoomtopia 2018, developers have published over 160 apps to the Marketplace. New and coming to Zoom’s portfolio of enterprise integrations and apps:
- Zoom for Microsoft: New integrations within Microsoft Teams feature the ability to start and schedule Zoom meetings from the Teams interface with a single click. Also, new support within Microsoft Outlook on mobile to connect to Zoom meetings.
- Security integrations: Zoom has prioritized security with a set of integrations into security-related services such as NICE.
- ServiceNow integration: Automatic ticketing and Zoom Chat notification to quickly resolve any issues in Zoom Rooms.
Zoom is committed to assisting our channel partners in increasing their sales and revenues of our joint solutions. Toward this end, the company has launched three programs:
- Reseller Partners Marketing Development Funds (MDF) Program: This program is designed to help key channel partners drive demand generation and go-to-market activities.
- Updated Certified Integrator Program: To guarantee the continued quality of Zoom Rooms implementations globally, the Zoom Certified Integrator Program is introducing a recertification process as well as a tier system to ensure that our partners are equipped with the knowledge they need to deploy Zoom Rooms and deliver customer happiness, while also recognizing those who excel in designing and installing Zoom Rooms.
- Updated Certified Hardware Program: Zoom’s Hardware Partner Program will now offer hardware partners the opportunity to demonstrate interoperability to businesses and value-added resellers. Zoom’s team works alongside established third-party test labs and hardware partners to conduct extensive testing to ensure the delivery of optimal performance and seamless interoperability for our customers. The Zoom Certified badge lets customers know they can expect a high-quality, reliable communications experience.
Frictionless communications empowers users with technology. Zoom has accomplished this from the beginning with an intuitive UI and feature set, and a reliable, scalable video architecture. Now, the company has added the use of technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, proximity and location-based services, face detection, and personalization to pull the friction from meetings and provide an empowering communications experience. New and coming to Empowered Communications:
- Live transcripts: Following the success of recording transcripts, this AI-based functionality powered by Otter.ai transcribes Zoom meetings in real-time and saves transcripts for future reference.
- Meeting notes, action items, and timelines: Users may take notes directly in the Zoom interface or use Zoom’s live transcription (see above) for voice note-taking. Notes and AI-derived action-items are automatically made available to invited meeting participants after the meeting via Meeting Timelines.
- Video and slideshow virtual backgrounds: New capabilities for mixed-reality virtual backgrounds include support for videos and Microsoft PowerPoint files, in addition to existing JPEG support.
- Virtual background for Zoom Rooms: Joining existing mixed-reality virtual backgrounds for mobile and desktop, Zoom now introduces virtual backgrounds for Zoom Rooms, with the new capabilities listed above.
- People count: Using AI-based face detection, Zoom gives account administrators counts of attendees in Zoom Rooms meetings from the Zoom Admin Dashboard.
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