Zoomtopia 2021: All the Big Announcements

Tom Wright

A round-up of the biggest news from this year's event

Zoomtopia 2021: All the Big Announcements

The dust has now settled in Zoomtopia 2021, with a host of announcements coming out of the virtual event.

We’ve rounded up the biggest news from Zoom’s Imaginarium.

Zoom Video Engagement Center

Zoom announced a bold entrance into the customer experience industry earlier this year, with the proposed acquisition of Five9. The deal is yet to be approved by shareholders and regulatory bodies, but that hasn’t stopped Zoom from making further inroads into new territory.

The Zoom Video Engagement Center (VEC) is designed to, as it says on the tin, bring video to client interaction. It is built on the same technology used to power Zoom’s video meetings and will be built with individual use cases in mind.

VEC will launch in early 2022.

Zoom Whiteboard – with Oculus Support

Zoom revealed the early information of an all-new whiteboard that is designed as a digital canvas and virtual hub for both real-time and asynchronous collaboration. Its persistent natural means that progress is always saved and can be returned to at a later date.

Zoom Whiteboard can be launched via both the Zoom client and through a web browse, and can also be used whilst in a Zoom Meeting or a Zoom Room.

Jeff Smith, head of Zoom Rooms, said:

“It’s persistent collaboration using powerful tools on any device, so your teams have the creative space to work together, wherever”

A more surprising announcement came in the form of a partnership with Oculus and Facebook, that will see the new Zoom Whiteboard integrated with Horizon Workrooms.

Launched in August, Horizon Workrooms is a virtual meeting space in which participants appear as avatars and can collaborate on digital whiteboards and documents.

Enhanced Encryption and Security

Zoom revealed a host of cybersecurity updates for its platform, stretching across encryption, identity and bring your own key (BYOK).

For encryption: end-to-end encryption (E2EE) will soon be added to Zoom Phone one-to-one calls that are carried out via the Zoom client. This comes after E2EE was added to Zoom meetings last year.

Elsewhere, Zoom has partnered with Okta to help verify users as they join meetings. The identity verification programme users multi-factor authentication and relies on certain criteria to validate users.

Nitasha Walia, Group Product Manager for Zoom Meetings, said:

“In a world of deep fakes and identity thefts, it is becoming increasingly important to verify the user’s identity”

Zoom has also partnered with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to bring BYOK to customers with strict compliance.

BYOK lets customers manage their own key management system within AWS, with Zoom not having access to the master key. Zoom will then interact with the customer’s key system for encryption and decryption.

New Translation and Transcription

Zoom said that it would be expanding the languages of both its translations and transcription services up to 12 and 30 languages respectively.

The services are powered, in part, by technology that Zoom procured through the acquisition of Germany-based Kites.

Zoom added that the translations will not just be from English to other languages, and vice versa, but will include support for a range of language combinations.

Live transcription originally came to the platform for free and paid-for accounts earlier this year. Real-time translation, as well as the expansion of languages supported, will come to paid Zoom accounts next year

Interoperability with Competitors

This is not an announcement from Zoom as such, but it is certainly endorsed by Zoom and was highlighted in the opening keynote at Zoomtopia.

The news actually comes from Mio, which uses open APIs to connect Zoom Chat with the corresponding solutions from Slack, Webex and Microsoft Teams.

Mio operates a software-as-a-service model and can be found in the app directories of Teams, Slack, Zoom and Webex.

Mio CEO, Tom Hadfield, said:

“The goal here is to enable everyone to stay in their preferred messaging app; that means accommodating internal teams who use different tools, and also meeting your partners and customers where they are, not forcing them to use guest accounts or monitor different chat applications”

View out interview with Hadfield here:

Zoom Phone Updates

Zoom Phone has flown since it was launched in 2019 and recently hit two million seats.

Zoom is now taking Phone to a wider audience in an attempt to expand adoption. The vendor announced its Bring Your Own Carrier Programme for the channel at Zoomtopia, letting partners sell licences that will connect Zoom Phone to existing PSTN carrier services.

At the same time, Zoom revealed the Zoom Phone Provider Exchange, which is designed to connect customers with other providers to unbundle telephony from Zoom’s platform.

Laura Padilla, Head of Channel at Zoom, said:

“Zoom Phone BYOC provides customers with the flexibility to stay on their current carrier or easily use a combination to best meet their geographic reach and service needs”

Zoom also announced Zoom Phone Video Voicemails, which will let users leave video messages in the voicemail inbox of their colleagues.

Zoom Rooms Updates

The biggest update to Zoom Rooms came in the form of Zoom of hotdesking – an “envisaged desk solution” that will allow employees to book a seat or collaboration space in an office using an interactive map. Each employee will be able to bring their entire Zoom profile with them – such as phone number and meeting credentials – to compatible devices. The hotdesking offering will be available later this year.

Zoom also teased a QR code-based hotdesking experience that will come to Zoom Phone Appliances and Zoom Rooms, available in beta later this year.

Meanwhile, a Zoom Widget (seen below), currently in development, will give users quick access to information such as scheduled meetings, who is currently in a meeting, as well as the ability to send quick messages to people.

Zoom Platform Updates: Empower Hybrid Teams, Connect Workstreams, and Engage Communities



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