Addressing video conference fatigue: The Next Level

Rising work-from-home (WFH) trends pushed Zoom into the spotlight like never before. With daily active users increasing dramatically to 300 million from 20 million, Zoom was on a roll. Success came at a steep price however because Zoom’s security came into question.

These were met head on, and the indication from Head of Enterprise in APAC, Raagulan Pathy, is that Zoom was praised for their fast response and commitment to fix issues.

After their annual conference, Zoomtopia, where a range of features were announced, Raagulan shares the future roadmap for the Zoom platform, with Enterprise IT News.

EITN: Can you share a roadmap? What are customers saying about your new developments and what else are they asking for?

Raagulan: Many businesses are now weighing up a return to the workplace, a wholesale shift to remote working, or something in between. Either way it goes, it’s likely Zoom’s unexpected popularity won’t keep its altitude forever. But as the contrails begin to fade, Zoom is preparing for a transition to a world of ‘hybrid working’. As mentioned by founder and chief executive Eric Yuan, the future of work is a hybrid model, not a completely remote one, and we will be witnessing more organizations embrace remote working.

Raagulan Pathy

As we enter the era of ‘hybrid work’, where businesses begin to leverage the benefits of technology to the point where – whether at home or in the office, Zoom is continuously working to improve our platform to enhance users experience and to better enable the hybrid workforce.

Here are a few key upcoming features tentatively road-mapped for 2021:

  • Rest of the timeline for E2EE: Zoom plans to roll out better identity management and E2EE SSO integration as part of Phase 2
  • Zoom Rooms Smart Gallery: Using AI to create gallery-view of in-room participants for remote attendees to have improved face-to-face communication
  • Zoom Phone Team SMS: Members of a call queue will be able to transfer text responses between team members, which will reduce duplicate responses and provide an escalation path. Currently in beta with general availability planned by the end of 2020, with Team SMS planned for early 2021
  • AI-powered spam detection and blocking: Zoom Phone admins will be able to set a threshold for artificial intelligence-based identification of potential spam calls. This capability is planned for beta in November 2020 and general availability in early 2021
  • Zoom for Home:Displays including Nest Hub Max, and Yealink A20 will be supported by the end of year. Coming in 2021 are additional hardware offerings from HP, Lenovo, and Neat.

People tell us that the reason they use Zoom is that it’s so easy to use, reliable and just works on any device.  This is true in both personal and corporate worlds where we have been selected as the video communications platform of choice – with use cases we would never have imagined at time of conception!

Zoom has also resonated with the millennial crowd through some fun innovations such as virtual backgrounds, and our recently implemented filters, reactions and lighting effects, which provide greater personalisation for users.

We’ve also realized that there were many things that we could have done better.   We are receptive to the feedback that customers or security researchers have provided us with.  We’ve made sure to ensure that any concerns are acted upon, and you can see the swiftness by which we have responded in implementing the 90-day plan to ensure security, along with our willingness to collaborate with our stakeholders to ensure that our platform is being used in a safe and secure way.

EITN: Do you have a solution to counter Meeting fatigue?

Raagulan:  While Zoom has been helping people stay connected and productive during this pandemic, the company knows that never unplugging can cause stress and affect heart health. Zoom deeply values happiness and mental health. Zoom believes that people connect better on video, but feeling connected when working from home is still challenging. The casual and fun elements that bring us together in the office seem to be missing from virtual meeting culture.

As such, in order to empower our users to feel the best in virtual meetings, express their individuality, and build moments of fun into their day with some new features that uplevel their video game, Zoom has added new features including filters, reactions, improved lighting capabilities, and enhanced noise suppression to make the Zoom meeting experience for fun and engaging, which can help to relieve some of the fatigue.

We also recently announced at Zoomtopia 2020 that Zoom is teaming up with Thrive Global, the behavior change technology company, to launch the Thrive Reset Zapp, the in-meeting app that helps users de-stress in real time within Zoom Meetings to prevent virtual fatigue.

Neuroscience shows it takes only 60 seconds to course-correct from stress. The Thrive Reset Zapp comes pre-loaded with default 60-second guides on topics like stretching, gratitude and mindfulness to help prevent virtual fatigue. It also makes it possible for users to create their own personalized Reset with guided breathing using the photos, quotes and sounds that bring them calm and joy. Users can share their personalized Reset Guide directly in a meeting, so they can not only create a collective moment of Reset, but share special moments from their lives to bring more authentic intimacy and connection to Zoom Meetings.