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Conferencing solution company Zoom announced a slew of new features this week at its Zoomtopia 2019 conference in San Jose, California — 300 in total, to be exact. Among the highlights are AI-powered transcripts and meeting notes in Zoom Meetings, in addition to a Zoom Rooms people counter informed by facial recognition.
On the Zoom Meetings side, live transcripts tap startup Otter.ai’s speech recognition tech to record meetings in real time for posterity. Now, attendees can take notes directly in the Zoom interface or use live transcription for voice note taking, the latter of which is parsed by algorithms to derive action items automatically in the Meeting Timelines interface. Furthermore, meeting hosts can now bring their own interpreter with a mutli-channel audio experience that mixes the original and interpreter audio, enabling listeners to understand the interpreter while hearing the original speaker’s tone.
In Zoom Rooms, Zoom’s software-based conference room solution, there are new capabilities for mixed reality virtual backgrounds, including support for videos and Microsoft PowerPoint files (which joins existing JPEG support). The above-mentioned people counter leverages facial recognition to detect how many people are in a room. Additionally, users can now see and book spaces ad hoc on scheduled displays through an availability map of nearby rooms, and they’re able to use Zoom Rooms for Touch devices as dedicated whiteboards in existing Zoom Rooms without additional licenses.
The latest Zoom Rooms platform release supports up two room controllers and scheduling displays per room, and the Zoom Rooms camera can be set to switch to one of three presets based on microphone pick-up using select supported microphones. Administrators can now create A/V and display settings under profiles like lecture mode, single presenter mode, and panel mode. And an enhanced digital signage feature allows companies to display branding and information across multiple screens, as well as widgets for displaying weather and RSS feeds.
New Zoom integrations are heading to Zoom App Marketplace, which boasts over 150 integrations and more than 30 API calls. A native Microsoft Teams integration will offer the ability to start and schedule Zoom meetings from the Teams interface with a single click, and it’ll support Microsoft Outlook on mobile. Meanwhile, Zoom for Salesforce will incorporate shortcuts to both Zoom meetings and the Zoom Phone dialer, which automatically logs phone call activity and populates contacts directly from the Salesforce interface into your Zoom Phone. Lastly, there’s a trio of new security-related services from NICE, Palo Alto Networks, and ServiceNow that support automatic ticketing and Zoom Chat notification.
Zoom Rooms Appliances, purpose-built computing appliances designed to simplify the installation and management of large-scale room deployments while offering enhanced room intelligence and analytics capabilities, also debuted this morning.
On the enterprise management side of the equation, the Zoom Rooms controller now natively supports customizable IP-based commands, allowing customers to add controls for lighting, window shades, and other IP-controlled devices directly from the controller. Plus, administrators may now remotely manage Zoom Rooms iOS, Mac OS, and Windows OS devices without a third-party MDM from the Zoom Admin Portal.
As for Zoom Phone, a cloud-based calling solution designed for basic calls without video, it’s expanded service to three new countries and territories — in addition to the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Australia, it’s now generally available in Ireland, New Zealand, and Puerto Rico. Beta service is available in 13 new countries: Austria, Belgium, China, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. And Zoom Phone supports new capabilities, such as Citrix Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) support, global dial plans, location-based call routing, and dynamic Enhanced 911 support.
Last but not least, Zoom announced a joint pitch competition for startups to develop on its videoconferencing platform, with a focus on early-stage companies. Up to 10 finalists will receive the opportunity to pitch partners at Emergence Capital, Maven Ventures, and Sequoia, with the final selected winner potentially receiving up to $2 million in funding, an advisory session with senior Zoom product experts, and a first-party and partner products bundle totaling over $11,000.
Submissions will be accepted October 15, 2019 through March 31, 2020, and the winner will be announced in spring 2020 at the Zoom Developer Summit.
“We are proud that everything we’ve built at Zoom — from our core vide architecture to our UI — is designed to make your meetings, as our customers say, ‘Just Work’,” said Oded Gal, chief product officer for Zoom. “It’s all designed to remove friction and replace it with empowering communications experiences, so you can do more.”
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