Zoom recently hosted their very first user conference, called “Zoomtopia”, where they shared some of the latest ways they’ve been able to enhance their already popular meeting software.
In the coming months, Zoom will be integrating with a range of popular applications for workflow and collaboration, including Workplace by Facebook, and Slack. Although Zoom has worked alongside Slack in the past, the collaboration this time around is set to be much tighter, with customers simply typing “/zoom” into their chat boxes to invite users into meetings.
Of course, integration isn’t necessarily the most exciting update to come from Zoomtopia this year. The features that most people are focusing on are those that have allowed Zoom to bring augmented reality and AI-powered transcripts to the meeting space.
Conferencing and Augmented Reality
While the Zoom augmented reality isn’t as advanced as it could be yet, it does mark the company’s first step into bringing AR features to the meeting room. According to Eric Yuan, the CEO for Zoom, the AR services will be a solution specifically for enhanced online teaching. However, teachers will need to be wearing an AR helmet, and the only compatible option available today comes from Meta.
Regardless, with the Zoom AR features, students should be able to see exactly what their teacher is seeing in an AR world. This means that a teacher could walk around a representation of a geographical map, and give insights that students can follow through the Zoom platform, without the need for any additional special equipment.
Zoom and Artificial Intelligence
Zoom also announced their decision to dive into the possibilities of artificial intelligence, with the delivery of newly automated transcripts for meeting room spaces. These intelligent transcripts will reduce the need for note-taking in conference spaces, and create searchable platforms of information. The feature is called “Smart Meetings“, and it’s intended to minimise the amount of time wasted sharing and taking notes during calls.
According to Zoom, the Smart Meetings system will use machine learning algorithms to figure out who is speaking and take down notes for posterity. Customers will then be able to scroll back through the transcript, and access automatic direction to portions of the video to hear what people actually said.
Interestingly, the voice recognition software used by Zoom isn’t being built in-house. Instead, Yuan announced that the company is currently working with a start-up that provides the feature.
What’s Next for Zoom?
Zoom’s popularity has begun to skyrocket lately, as it competes with some of the major players in the space, including Fuze, GoToMeeting, and the BlueJeans network. As the company continues to progress, it’s planning on introducing additional disruptive technology to its portfolio to help organisations get more out of their meetings. According to Yuan, the firm is hoping to deliver more feedback to give context to meetings.
The use of AR technology is also putting Zoom into closer competition with the Microsoft HoloLens, which currently provides telepresence video conferencing in Skype for Business.