A woman is talking to colleagues using a video conferencing platform on her laptop.
Image: © fizkes/Stock.adobe.com

Zoom launches AI-powered features for hybrid and remote workers

15 Sep 2021

There will be live translation services, an expanded whiteboard feature and a new hotdesking tool.

Video-conferencing platform Zoom is introducing new features to help workers collaborate and communicate with colleagues in the new world of remote and hybrid work.

The plans include an expanded whiteboard service, automated translation tech, a tool for hybrid workplace video calls and a hotdesking feature.

To help teams that have some people working in the office and others working remotely, the new Zoom Rooms Smart Gallery will use AI to create individual video feeds of in-room video call participants. The aim is to allow remote employees to see each meeting participant clearly and equally.

A new hotdesking functionality will also enable employees to book desks and spaces using an interactive map. Workers will be able to select seats recommended by Zoom’s AI, giving organisations the ability to reconfigure their workspaces for flexible working.

Zoom Phone already offers some hotdesking capabilities, and the company will bring a new QR code feature to help with hotdesking to Zoom Phone Appliances and Zoom Rooms later this year.

Other updates include the addition of real-time live translation with support for 12 languages. Zoom also plans to expand its automated live transcription to 30 languages. The roll-out of these features comes after Zoom’s recent acquisition of Kites, a start-up that specialises in real-time translation.

Zoom is enhancing its whiteboard feature to help users collaborate virtually using a wide variety of devices. It also plans to partner with Facebook to bring its whiteboard feature to Horizon Workrooms.

The announcements were made at Zoom’s annual Zoomtopia conference, which was held virtually on 13 and 14 September.

“In the last decade, we have been honoured to become the ‘go-to’ video communications platform, but there has never been a more dynamic period in the company’s history than these last 18 months,” said Eric S Yuan, Zoom’s founder and CEO.

“We have released hundreds of new features, enhancements and capabilities this past year alone and we have exciting new features in our development pipeline.”

Yuan added that visual brainstorming with a virtual whiteboard, along with the “endless opportunities of live transcription and translation services powered by artificial intelligence”, could “reshape the way we work” in the future.

Blathnaid O’Dea
By Blathnaid O’Dea

Blathnaid O’Dea worked as a Careers reporter until 2024, coming from a background in the Humanities. She likes people, pranking, pictures of puffins – and apparently alliteration.

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