Zoom – Room Update – January 2019 Release

Today/Yesterday Zoom released a new version of their Zoom Room Conferencing Software to version 4.3.0 (390.0130). This release is jammed packed with so much stuff which made the release notes scroll forever!

My favorite features are:

  • Zoom Voice
  • 1080p
  • One Click to Join Third Party Meetings (not tested yet)
  • Dual Displays with touch screen and non-touchscreen

You can update to the release starting today by using the Zoom Room dashboard in your account.

Direct Download Links:

From the release notes: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/115002847143-New-Updates-for-Zoom-Rooms-for-PC

Changes to Existing Features

  • Make Zoom Rooms an Alternative Host
    When enabled, Zoom Rooms automatically become the host when it joins a meeting before the host. When disabled, Zoom Rooms is an attendee when it joins a meeting before the host. This setting is enabled by default. 

New and Enhanced Features

  • Zoom Voice
    Zoom Voice is a cloud phone system available as an add-on to Zoom’s platform. Support for inbound and outbound calling through the public switched telephone network (PSTN) and seamlessly integrated telephony features enable customers to replace their existing PBX solution and consolidate all of their business communication and collaboration requirements into their favorite video platform.
  • In Meeting Features
    • 1080p Support for Video Sharing
      Full High Definition video, 1080p, can now be sent and received.This feature is limited availability. For business customers who would like to be considered for this feature, please contact Zoom Support.
    • Meeting and Call History
      Participants can now view meeting and call history from their Zoom Room Controller. The history includes joined meetings and phone numbers. Account owners and admins can enable this feature from the Zoom web portal.
    • Support for the Raise Hand Feature
    • Toggle Between Hiding and Showing Local Video
      Participants in a Zoom Room can now choose to hide or show their local video from the Zoom Room Controller, on the Participants List.
    • Toggle Between Hiding and Showing Non-Video ParticipantsParticipants in a Zoom Room can now choose to show or hide non-video participants during a meeting.
    • Support for Waiting Room
      Zoom Rooms can now use waiting rooms at a host or participant. As the host, the Zoom Room can see who joins and admit them to the meeting.
    • Additional Participant Controls
      Zoom Rooms can now assign co-host and a participant to closed caption.
    • Identify External Participants
      The host can now view which meeting participants are part of a different account from the Zoom Rooms Controller.
    • Additional Status Options
      The Zoom Room’s presence will now show as “In a Calendar Event” when the room’s calendar is booked and the room is not in a call and “In a Zoom Meeting” when the calendar is booked and the room is in a call.
    • Enhanced H.323/SIP Dialing
      • Keypad for DTMF Entry
        Users who dial out to an H.323 device will now have a keypad available for the duration of the call to enter DTMF tones for the H.323 device.
      • H.323/SIP Dial Out from the Meet Now Tab
        On the Meet Now tab, users can click the Invite Room System tab to call out to an H.323/SIP room system.
      • One Click to Join Third Party Meetings
        With one click, Zoom Rooms can now join WebEx, GoToMeeting, and Skype for Business meetings with an H.323/SIP address.
  • Management Features
    • Enhanced Support for Device Management
      • Autonomous Single App Mode (ASAM)
        Autonomous Single App Mode allows Zoom Rooms to run automatically and stay in the foreground of the device. ASAM requires devices to be enrolled in a Mobile Device Management Device program.
      • Automatic Sign-In
        Automatic sign-in allows the Zoom Rooms app to automatically sign in to Zoom, without requiring an administrator to enter their credentials. This feature requires devices to be enrolled in a Mobile Device Management program.
    • Remove Recurring Meeting from Calendar after Missed Check-Ins
      Account owners and admins can now configure the Zoom Room Calendar to remove an event after a configurable number of missed check-ins.
    • Customize HDMI Label
      Account owners and admins can now add a customized HDMI sharing label on the web, which will display on the Zoom Room controller.
    • Ability to Hide the Contact List
      Admins can now choose to hide the Zoom Rooms contact list from all or select rooms. The setting “Show contact list on controller” is automatically enabled and can be disabled at an account, location, floor, or room level in the Zoom web portal.
    • Adjust the Threshold for Low Battery Alerts
      Account owners and admins can now adjust the threshold at which low battery alerts are sent for the Zoom Room Controller or Scheduling Display.
    • Show a Black Screen outside of Operation Time
      Zoom Room displays will now go black outside of the operation times, unless CEC is being utilized.
    • MSI Option to Disable Auto-run when the Computer Starts
      IT admins can now use the flag AUTOSTART=false when installing Zoom Rooms for Windows with the MSI installer to prevent the Zoom Rooms app from automatically opening upon computer startup.
  • Peripheral Device support
    • Option to turn on/off Intelligent Zoom for Panacast Cameras by default
    • Support for Aver 540 presets
  • Zoom Rooms for Touch Enhancements
    • Dual Displays with a Touch screen and a Non-touch Screen
      Zoom Rooms for Touch can now use dual displays with one touch screen and one non-touch screen. The touch screen will always display the shared content and the non-touch screen will follow the Zoom Rooms display settings.
    • Pan-Tilt-Zoom and Far-end Camera Control Support
    • Access Camera, Microphone, and Speaker Settings During a Meeting
    • Enhanced Participants List
  • Developer Features
    • Zoom Rooms Control System API Version 1.1
      The Zoom Rooms Control System API (ZR-CSAPI) provides a SSH-based API for custom conference room installations.

Zoom – Client Update – January 2019 Release

Today Zoom released a new version of their Windows/Mac Desktop Client which includes the wonderful new user interface.

Users will be seeing the automatic update pop up with at least version: 4.3.53468.0121

Direct Download Links:

This client also has baked in a number of great features which includes:

Release Notes: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/201361963-New-Updates-for-Mac-OS

Changes to Existing Features

  • Updated Zoom Client
    The client is now more modern, sleek, and frictionless. New Chat features include channels, personal channel, starred messages, and contacts.
  • Chat Groups Renamed Channels
    Chat groups have been renamed channels.

Meeting/Webinar Features

  • 1080p Support for Video Sharing
    Full High Definition video, 1080p, can now be sent and received.This feature is limited availability. For business plan customers who would like to be considered for this feature, please contact Zoom Support.

Soaklabs Note: More on this in another blogpost. But the short news is you can do 1080p30 for both video and content!

  • Audio Watermark
    If an attendee records the meeting, their personal information can now be embedded in the audio as an inaudible watermark. This option requires enabling “Only signed-in users can join the meeting” or “Only signed-in users with specified domains can join meetings”. You activate the feature on a scheduled per meeting basis. This is only if the Audio Watermark feature is not ‘locked on’ at the account settings level.
  • Screen Sharing Enhancements
    • Ability to Stop a Participant’s Share
      The host can now stop a participant’s screen share by going to the Participant List and selecting More next to the sharing participant’s name.
    • Improvements for Direct Share
      While direct sharing to a Zoom Room, the green screen share indicator bar will now automatically hide when the mouse is not moving and reappear when the mouse moves.
  • Annotation Enhancements
    • Indicator that a Participant is Annotating
      The host can now identify which participants are annotating by viewing the participants list. The participants who are annotating will have an indicator in the color they are using to annotate.
    • Support for Multiple Pages on Whiteboard
      Hosts can now enable multiple pages for whiteboard. If enabled, they can create new pages, close pages, and navigate between multiple pages.
    • Enhanced Annotation Tools
  • Allow Removed Participants to Rejoin
    Hosts can now allow meeting participants and webinar panelists to rejoin after they have been removed. This feature needs to be enabled on the web under Meeting, Group, or Account Settings.
  • Improvements to the Raise Hand Feature
    The raise hand feature will now prompt users to link their audio if necessary to make it easier to speak in the meeting.
  • Support for Scheduling a Meeting or Webinar as Public
    Hosts can now schedule a meeting as public through the Zoom client to share it on the calendar of public events.
  • Virtual Background without a Green Screen
    Users can now use virtual background without a physical green screen. This feature requires an i7 or higher processor.
  • Improvements for Searching the Participants List
    Users can now search the participants list with a partial string, instead of needing to enter the participant’s full name to search.
  • Keypad for H.323 Calls
    Users who dial out to an H.323 device will now have a keypad available for the duration of the call to enter DTMF tones for the H.323 device.
  • Additional Mass Configuration Option
    When installing and configuring Zoom through MSI or group policy on Windows, or with a pre-configured plist file on a Mac, the IT admin can now enable the option EnableMirrorEffect to mirror the shared video

Meeting Features

  • Warning When Scheduling a Meeting Longer than 40 minutes
    Basic users will now be warned if they schedule a meeting longer than 40 minutes through the Zoom client or mobile app.
  • Breakout Room Enhancements
    • Set a Timer for Breakout Rooms
      Hosts can now set a timer for breakout rooms. Once the configured time has passed, the breakout rooms will automatically close and users will be returned to the main session. Hosts can also choose to be notified when the time ends.
    • Ability to Force Participants into Breakout Rooms
      The hosts can now force participants to join the breakout rooms from the main session.
    • Ability to Disable Returning to the Main Session
      The host can now prevent participants from returning to the main session from the breakout room. They will return to the main session when the host closes the breakout rooms manually or the set time expires.
  • Multiple Screen Support for Remote Support Sessions
    When the host requests control of another participant’s screen via Remote Support Session, they can now select which screen they would like to control if the participant is using multiple screens.

Chat Features

  • Personal Space for Note Taking
    Write messages to yourself to take notes and save links within the Zoom chat window.
  • Star Individual Messages
    Star individual messages, making them easily accessible to revisit them later.
    -Star Contacts and Chat Channels

General Features

  • Show All Calendar Events
    Users who have configured the calendar integration will now see all events on their calendar, including events that do not have a Zoom meeting attached.

Zoom Voice

GA Voice Client! (More on this later)

Zoomtopia 2018 – How Zoom is Changing Unified Communications

To say Zoom is doing things a little differently is an understatement. This story really starts on day two of the conference with Eric Yuan opening the keynote, which set the tone for the entire event. In the 16 minutes he talked on stage (not including any videos), Eric talked about the things you typically see from any yearly update. Such as how Zoom is growing exponentially, posting some big numbers, and pulling out the Gartner business 101 quadrant chart that everyone loves quoting when it goes their way. Don’t get me wrong, it was all good stuff and some great achievements to brag about, however this was only the opening for what he talked about next.

He started by teasing the announcements of new features in Zoom Rooms, the new UX, the app marketplace, and of course Zoom Voice. I spent months seriously evaluating Zoom myself, and filing dozens and dozens of bugs and feature requests. I spent a great amount of time really thinking about if this is a viable unified communications platform an enterprise could move to. What Eric Yuan said in those next three and a half minutes changed my entire perspective of the company, and caused me to really starting thinking that this company can actually do it.

Eric conveyed three very important things, respect, trust, and honesty. It felt like he was channeling the character Mikael Blomkvist from the Stieg Larsson Millennium Series. A favorite scene of mine was when Mikeal was talking towards the end of “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” out on the dock with Lisbeth reflecting and discussing about how to define friendship. Simon Vance narrates this wonderfully in the audiobook version.

In Eric’s case he talked about what it means to collaborate with people, and how it can either to make or break a culture. He communicated why Zoom as a company is thinking about how to solve this problem, the right way. He respects everyone who works at Zoom and the people that use the service. Eric and the executive team listen to their customers, from simply emailing a person back, to following them on Twitter. Or even just hanging out in the expo area for hours talking with the community, as I saw him and others on the executive team do throughout the conference. There is no gloss, no marketing mumbo jumbo in the way that Zoom respects their users.

As for trust, Zoom has built it very simply by making a rock solid service that just works. Oded Gal made a beautiful ‘just works’ slide later in the keynote. People don’t care about specs and toys. People care about the jobs to be done, this is what they hire a collaboration service for. Which at the end of the day is actually just connecting people together. Giving them the tools to collaborate on what they need to accomplish. Zoom trusts that you know what your use cases are, and how to roll out technology on your terms. They will not try to control and force you to conform to hardware isolating workflows because they think is better.

Lastly Eric talked with such honestly about what kind of company Zoom is. They see how valuable visual communication is, so that you can see those non verbal queues in people. It is important to them to have a platform that is flexible for a company of any size. No company is perfect, and in my opinion Zoom still very much acts as a startup. However what Eric said in those three and a half minutes, is that this company is humble enough to know that they need to collaborate with the people that use their platform to make their service better.

Zoom Voice

#### UPDATE 10/23/2018

The Zoomtopia UC Ecosystems talk has been posted:

/####

Product Page: https://zoom.us/voice?zcid=1231

Zoom Announced that they will be entering the cloud hosted voice market, with full PSTN connectivity. Zoom talked about how the market as they view it today, is a complicated and confusing set of either on-premise or singe use case cloud based products. What Zoom is looking to do is to make, “one consistent communication solution” that will be a single platform for a person to communicate on.

Please see the slides from the UC ecosystems keynote for a better view of their perspective of the market:

Calling features that will be included:

  • Calling
  • Transfer
  • Call Recording
  • Local and International DID’s
  • Voicemail w/Transcription
  • Call blocking – Initially at a company level, and possibly using AI in the future
  • E911 support – Initially with static address mapping per device/DID

PBX Features:

  • Auto Attendant – Time of day based IVR and routing
  • Call Queues – Which you can setup hunt groups of users with different routing options
  • Device support and Provisioning for OpenSip Phones like Polycom, and Yealink
  • Call Logs
  • Common Area Phones

How the service will be packaged is not final yet, but here is what Zoom is thinking as of today:

The Zoom Voice Service is based on named licensed Zoom Users. The PBX functionality is automatically included for all internal calling within Zoom.

If you want to enabled a user for Zoom Voice, you have three basic options for the user:

  1. Choose a Zoom Voice Plan – A usage based plan or bundled of minutes plan, enabled per user (including a DID).
  2. Bring your own voice Service directly from a phone company – you can setup a SIP Trunk directly from your phone company and use your existing contract.
  3. Bring your own SIP Trunk – Via the internet or via private link into Zoom. Route calls into zoom via a supported SBC (I assume AudioCodes, Ribbon, and a few others).

As for pricing, nothing has been announced just yet.

Zoom has said the following so far:

If you want outside connectively, you can either choose a Zoom plan, or there will be a per user nominal fee to use an external SIP trunk either via your own or via a carrier.

Additional Add-Ons will be thing like:

  • Additional DID’s
  • Blocks of Minutes
  • Toll Free Numbers
  • Common Area Phones
  • Media Storage

As for the Roadmap of when this product will be available:

Zoom is targeting the first half of 2019 for general availability of Zoom Voice, with rolling out to additional countries throughout the year.

During the session there were a number of questions asked:

Are you doing contact center? No, not right now. We are partnering with other cloud contact center providers where you can land a call on us as an endpoint.

Support Fax? Probably no eFax initially other than connecting via an ATA device. However we welcome feedback.

Dial Plan support? They are working on getting it into the initial release, but nothing to announce at this time.

Advanced Routing? They are scoping what required, but nothing to announce at this time.

Other Zoom Announcements

For other announcements please see the official Zoom blog post as they provide a great overview on it:

https://blog.zoom.us/wordpress/2018/10/11/zoom-expands-communications-platform-zoom-voice-app-marketplace-zoom-rooms-partnerships-more/

I like all of the announcements, but here are some of the features I like the most:

  • Audio Signature – Fingerprinting audio for keeping meetings more confidential
  • Zoom Rooms – Multi-Share
  • Zoom Rooms – Enterprise Management
  • Zoom Rooms – Start on Mobile

Conference Review:

The conference as a whole was fantastic. The visual appeal and conference production was very well done. Overall it was a pleasant experience. It was fun to see a lot of familiar faces, and a lot of customers looking at the Zoom platform. I can tell a bunch of us are in the same place with Cisco/Microsoft, and are looking for a fresh approach that we got at this conference.

The only notes I have:

  • Food was great this year! Keep it up!
  • The concert at the end was great. The artist was a great pick, and generally a great evening.
  • Why was the keynote not first thing on day one? It was very weird. Next year hopefully it will be a full two day event as you will need to cover all the voice sessions. Also the keynote sets the stage for sessions with new announcements.
  • The account manger support and executive sessions I was in were great!
  • Zoom needs to split the conference sessions into two or three major tracks: a beginner sessions, and advanced product manager announcement sessions and make it clear. As someone who is pretty much an expert on the platform, I wanted to hear what is new, and the context around announcements being made. Not 101 sessions. I would not have guessed that UC Ecosystems was the Zoom Voice talk until I walked into it. Or that Simon Booth would be in the third-party endpoints interop session talking about product.
  • If you make your wifi network name ‘wickedlyfastwifi’ – Make sure you actually use a real conference wifi vendor that uses Xirrus style high density AP’s, and has proper bandwidth. As wifi was a joke this year.
  • The guest speaker that tried to reinforce the ‘Trust’ point really should have just been cut out of the keynote. Sorry marketing team it was the only miss of the entire keynote. Eric could have reinforced the point much better for 5-10 minutes at the end of his speech. Then throw it to the product team to reinforce it with the new product introductions. It would have been a million times better.

-Kevin