Zoom Adds New Communications Features

By Robbie Pleasant
10 Oct 2018

Zoom Video Communications, Inc. has announced new additions to its communications platform. With these new enhancements, Zoom’s platform will gain a new cloud phone system, conference rooms, an app marketplace, and several improvements to the user experience.

Although Zoom is a video-first platform, the company is making an effort to include more business communications tools in its product suite. The new platform enhancements are being demonstrated at the Zoomtopia 2018 keynote.

The first new enhancement is the Zoom Voice, a cloud phone system that can be added on to the video communications suite. It uses a public switched telephone network (PSTN) and traditional telephony features to offer support for calls and consolidate business communications and collaboration tools into the Zoom platform.

Zoom Voice is not a traditional PBX solution, but rather a cloud-based audio PBX extension to Zoom’s existing video solution. Users can use audio-only features for their calls or send chat messages.

According to Blair Pleasant, President and Principal Analyst of COMMfusion, “By offering voice and telephony capabilities to its video platform, Zoom is giving its customers more options, while providing a single solution and making communications more simplified for users.” She added, “We’re starting to see traditional PBX capabilities added to more and more software-based applications. However, while Zoom’s move is giving businesses more choices, the company is now competing with some of its cloud communication partners that offer Zoom video. Zoom Voice certainly isn’t for everyone and Zoom makes it clear that the company is not becoming a PBX or audio company, and Zoom Voice will be an option for existing and new Zoom Video customers.”

Additionally, new capabilities were added to Zoom’s software-based conference room solution, Zoom Rooms, including:

  • Zoom Rooms Multi-Share, allowing Multiple users to share content simultaneously with,
  • Meeting Start on Mobile service lets users start meetings with mobile support,
  • Software Audio Processing identifies and enhances active speakers’ voices,
  • Enterprise Management enhancements help IT managers better deploy, monitor, and troubleshoot their rooms,
  • Zoom devices are created by hardware device partners and natively run Zoom Rooms software, offering tight integration and simplifying deployment,
  • Digital Signage Enhancements.

Zoom is also launching a new App Marketplace to bring APIs and cross-platform SDKs into one place. Customers and developers can find new functionalities for Zoom’s product portfolio, including in-house and third party apps.

Zoom also added several enhancements to its video platform. The default capacity for all video calls has been increased to 200, while accounts currently using Large Meeting 200 (which already has a 200 participant capacity) will automatically be upgraded to 500.

The headset controls are getting an upgrade too, with new options to join, leave, mute, and control the volume of their meetings from the headsets. This is currently available for some Jabra and Plantronics headset models, with more to come.

In order to improve security and privacy, Zoom is now embedding each user’s credentials and identity into their unique audio track. As such, if any meeting audio gets leaked, companies can identify whom it came from by their credentials.

These new video enhancements are set to be available by the end of 2018. The Zoom Voice service will begin rolling out throughout 2019.

For more information, visit www.zoom.us.

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