Video conferencing and Zoom are here to stay. By now almost all working adults already know the basics of how to operate them. The company has acquired new customers and is continuously expanding across existing customers during the previous year. According to Zoom, they have experienced an approximate 94 percent increase to their customers contributing more than $100,000 in trailing 12 months revenue, among other revenue metrics. According to their third-quarter financial report, they expect revenues for the full fiscal year 2022 to exceed USD 4 Billion.
A swift increase in Zooms sales is attributed initially to the need to keep workers safe from contracting the virus. Although many businesses have opted to go back to the office, hybrid working and remote working seem to be permanent for some as well. As of January 2022, the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is making its circuit worldwide and thus has increased the need for better safeguards. A company has even coined the term “Shybrid” - when companies cannot in good conscience, force their employees to permanently go back to the office real estate and continuously push back return dates because of the dangers posed by new COVID-19 variants. Innovations that help in social distancing such as updates in video conferencing platforms such as Zoom, 360 conference camera, and the prevalence of hybrid work will help us wade through the pandemic productively and safely.
To begin 2022, we’ll look into updates surrounding Zoom and video conferencing, 360° conference cameras, and hybrid working.
Zoom Latest Updates
Zoom has become so common that the company’s name has become a verb to rise to the ranks of brands like Google, Uber, Venmo, Tinder, etc. We will not go into detail about the intricacies of Zoom here, assuming you already know the basics. Since many of your potential and current video conferences will take place in Zoom, it would be to your advantage to know the latest features the platform has to offer.
During Zoomtopia 2021, Zoom announced new features to help users improve their Zooming experience to be rolled out in 2022.
● Improved live translation to 12 languages and transcription to thirty languages
● Auto-generated captions
● Enhanced Zoom Whiteboard for asynchronous collaborations and a potential partnership with Meta’s Oculus.
● Enhanced Kiosk Mode for front-desk devices will soon carry features to allow guests to open up a floor map with a simple push of a button or call a receptionist for help.
● Video Mail for Zoom phone will let “callers” leave voice mails but in video form!
● Zoom Widget shows users their meeting schedules, participants in an ongoing zoom meeting, allow them to send chats, etc.
Zoom meetings have not seen price changes for some time, however, its competitors may be trying to beat them in this aspect. At the start of December 2021, Microsoft Teams announced a brand-new pricing scheme for small businesses. At USD 4 per month, it rivals Zoom’s cheapest paid option at USD 14.99 per month.
Additionally, the smart gallery provides individual video feeds to in-room participants. It is cutting-edge hardware AI technology. Smart gallery (currently in public beta) provides individual frames for each hybrid participant in addition to one frame for the hybrid room. Moreover, it is only available using select devices accredited with Zoom Rooms.
360 Video Conference Camera
Algorithms in popular 360° video conference devices allow users to use a sort of smart gallery view without having to subscribe to zoom rooms. For example, Coolpo AI Huddle Pana features individual frames for active participants and a panoramic view at the bottom to view the hybrid room. Because each Pana feed is considered one participant, remote attendees do not feel crowded when attending hybrid meetings. When participants are highlighted in Pana’s video, viewers can still see body language, reactions, and nonverbal cues on top of a view of the room.
Not only that, because of Pana’s smart microphones and surround speaker, users can hear from and be heard clearly on the other side. In addition, the Pana can:
● Select active participants through voice and movement;
● Send clean audio to remote participants with reduced background noise;
● Provide a clear view of the room;
● Be used without hassle because it’s plug-and-play; and
● Be customized to suit the needs of the users using a complementing software
Moreover, the Pana is compatible with video conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Teams, Google Meet, Hangouts, GotoMeeting, Webex, and so much more. Hybrid work companies need not worry that IT teams may work remotely because users can easily use the Pana.
Like (almost) everybody else, we acknowledge that remote working is here to stay. While the pandemic is forcing companies to shift from remote to hybrid to full office mode, the Omicron variant is pushing this all back and forcing employers to re-think about indefinitely imposing hybrid work, with more emphasis on the remote part for the safety of their teams. Businesses cannot entirely forego office real estate for several important reasons. That’s why Zoom (and other collaboration platforms like Webex and Teams) are introducing solutions useful for both office and home scenarios.
Zoom for Home - purpose-built collaboration devices remote workers can use for video conferences, interactive whiteboarding, etc.
Huddle view for Zoom - chat channels will provide teams with a better sense of togetherness in a virtual visual representation of the office environment.
Workspace Reservation - lets users reserve collaboration spaces for use currently or on a future time on-site or remotely through an interactive map
Zoom is popular because it is easy to use. Its new features flawlessly integrate into the current setup that users need not feel flustered about learning. Moreover, the innovations that the Coolpo AI Huddle Pana brings to the (meeting) table, make users’ experience hassle-free. Along with other video conferencing platforms, the Pana’s 360° video and audio make it possible for an immersive experience to be had on any platform across the world. By creating an environment that answers the call of hybrid working and remote working, Zoom continues to firmly position itself in front of its competition in the video conferencing platform market. The pandemic that has disrupted the world has become the video conferencing market’s slingshot towards faster development. At the beginning of 2022, the Omicron is forming to be a variant that hinders us from going back to “pre-COVID times” (office real estate wise) but the innovations in technology have allowed us to continue with a work-life balance that many workers have come to love. On this note, a few things are starting to become clear to us: Zoom, 360 video conferencing, and hybrid work are here to stay not just in 2022, but beyond as well.