Zoom Video Adds Conferencing Features as Offices Reopen

Zoom Video updates its conference-room software to address changes in the future of business meetings as reopening from the pandemic grows.
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Zoom Video  (ZM) - Get Report on Wednesday unveiled a slew of changes to its virtual conference rooms to address the economic recovery from the pandemic and the changes in business meetings that have occurred.

Shares of the San Jose, Calif., company at last check dropped 2.5% to $382.08.

To accommodate a hybrid -- online plus in-person -- work environment, Zoom will:

-- enable users to monitor a room's air quality;

-- provide a virtual receptionist through a Zoom call to avoid physical contact, and,

-- enable meeting hosts to pair smartphones with its Zoom Room software to control the flow of in-person meetings without touching shared hardware controls.

Zoom has launched a kiosk mode to help companies reduce the number of receptionists they have on each floor of their buildings.

"As the world plans to safely reopen businesses, educational institutions, health-care facilities, and government entities, we are focused on innovating across our platform to support their needs," Chief Product Officer Oded Gal said in a statement.

Another update enables meeting participants to track the number of people in a specific meeting room on both a remote dashboard and a meeting-room-scheduling display to monitor overcrowding.

"As hybrid teams return to the office, workspace needs will be different," Chief Executive Eric S. Yuan said in a company blog post. 

"Flexible strategies like hot-desking, where employees don’t have an assigned workstation, might be more cost-effective as teams stagger in-office schedules.. At the same time, employees will need interactive spaces designed for group work and deep thinking," he added.

"We need to be prepared to support all of these constructs, which are simultaneously flexible and highly customized, to enable the modern workforce," said Yuan.

In an interview with Barron's, Chief Financial Officer Kelly Steckelberg said that the company's focus for 2021 is on "Zoom as a platform," rather than simply a stand-alone videoconference app.