As companies debate the future of their workforce, only one thing is for certain; your office will look a lot different than it did before the pandemic. Zoom’s latest update gives us a hint of what “hybrid workspaces” could look like, with virtual receptionists, Zoom-connected air quality monitors, and tools that automatically tally the number of people in an old-fashioned conferencing room.
Most of these updates center around Zoom Rooms, the company’s conferencing platform, and include new compatibility features for Rooms for Touch devices (tablets, smart whiteboards, etc). Each new feature announced by Zoom should help minimize contact in an office setting and reduce the number of surfaces that employees touch in a shared space.
Zoom’s new virtual receptionist feature is probably the most futuristic, as it allows a receptionist to work remote, rather than exposing themselves to everyone who walks in the office (the above picture honestly seems like something out of The Jetsons). Of course, the updated Zoom Rooms Controller app may be more useful—it gives remote and in-office workers the ability to collaborate on slideshows, documents, and whiteboards in real-time without touching each other’s tablets or laptops.
Along with new collaborative features, Zoom Rooms Controller gets a new dashboard that shows how many people are in a room at any given time, along with information on an office’s air quality. These new features require the use of a compatible smart camera and Neat air quality monitor. Zoom also plans to add some Alexa voice controls to its hardware, which could save you from touching Rooms for Touch devices around the office.
Other updates include a new in-meeting toolbar on Rooms for Touch devices, updating desktop sharing features, Gallery View compatibility for remote workers, and more. These updates should take effect immediately, although they won’t be useful if your office doesn’t own Rooms for Touch devices.