Welcome to the first DMS Tech Digest of 2022. Here we run through the major software and hardware releases from our long-term partners and the biggest names in the video conferencing industry.
Q4 2021 was another busy period for Zoom. The company kicked off the quarter by announcing their new auto-generated captions functionality for their conference calls in October 2021 (1). Already available on other platforms, the new feature provides accurate live transcription within Zoom meetings.
Following the success of Zoomtopia online, October 2021 was also the month that Zoom released multi-day conference functionality into Zoom Events (2). The Zoom Events release included additional functionality around event support, communication, and reporting.
Zoom also introduced some much-awaited platform features such as:
- The ability to check attendance status
- Waiting room chat, which was also made available in Zoom Event lobbies
- The option to stop the incoming video (3)
- Enhancements to polling
- Additional call watermark settings (4)
In December, the company launched the Zoom Learning Center, a free platform where people can learn how to use Zoom (5), and the Zoom Partner Demand Center to help marketers (6).
In October 2021, the company launched its first global hybrid work index, providing insights on preferences, habits, and tech usage worldwide (7). Recent findings from the index show hybrid workers expect greater flexibility, accessibility, and security.
On hybrid working, Cisco revealed that 64% of employees agreed that a full-time return to the office would see them consider their role. Cisco used this information to launch new Webex Hologram capabilities. Webex Hologram offers exciting potential for remote working, allowing participants to interact in ways previously possible only in person (8).
In October 2021, Cisco also:
- Launched Webex Go – a new phone system eliminating the need for users to have separate phones for work and personal life (9).
In December, Microsoft announced the rollout of Microsoft Teams calls end-to-end encryption (E2EE). E2EE encrypts information at its origin, with decryption at its intended destination, providing a level of security previously unavailable with Microsoft Teams (10).
Other Q4 Teams updates included:
- Improvements to call and meeting quality with the addition of background noise suppression and real-time user alerts (11)
- An all-new whiteboard to provide a rich visual collaboration workspace
- Live transcription in unscheduled meetings (12)
- Real-time statistics for scheduled meetings (13)
- The addition of AI-based video and screen sharing quality optimizations (14).
In December 2021, Google updated Google Meet allowing hosts and co-hosts to lock the audio and video of any participant to minimize meeting disturbances (15).
Google Meet’s audio & video lock functionality is currently available for iOS devices only, with Android access planned in early 2022.
In early November 2021, Biamp announced the launch of Parlé audio and video conferencing bars, professional-grade VC solutions for small and medium-sized rooms (16). Parlé conferencing bars combine beam tracking microphones, smart loudspeakers, advanced signal processing, and more – into one plug-and-play speaker bar, delivering a premium conferencing experience.
Following the acquisition of the Neets in July last year, Biamp launched the Impera family of control systems in November 2021 for improved control over Biamp and third-party devices (17) and the Vidi family of conferencing cameras (18).
Late last year Poly announced that together with its partner, Appspace, the two entities will deliver digital signage on Poly video OS devices (19). The purpose of this move is to improve the experiences of visitors and employees as they go back to the office setting.
November also saw Poly offering new solutions for Microsoft Teams rooms by introducing pro-grade audio and video capabilities through its DirectorAI technology (20). The Windows solutions are compatible with new Lenovo or Dell conferencing PCs.
In October, Crestron announced they improved the Crestron Flex platform by adding new intelligence video support. The enhancement aims to promote more equitability and productivity in meetings – whether conducted in-office or at home (21).
In addition, the company announced that it expanded its well-known DM NVX AV-over-IP product portfolio, introducing new interoperable encoders and decoders. This move opens the new Crestron network video solutions to various projects and price points, with the latest offerings supporting Enterprise-Grade Security standards from encryption to both device and user access (22).
In October, Extron announced a partnership with Somfy, a manufacturer of tubular motors for smart-building projects. The partnership will enhance their ability to deliver motorized shades, projection screens, and other interactive AV equipment in lecture halls and meeting rooms (23).
October also saw Extron introduce its new IPL EXP PDU4H power expansion interface designed to control small to medium-sized AV systems, offering next-generation power control (24).
In October, ClearOne’s BMA 360 was awarded the 2021 Installation Product Award for Most Innovative Audio Hardware by Systems Contractor News (SCN) (25). Success continued the following month, as ClearOne’s BMA 360 Beamforming Microphone Array won the 2021 AV Technology Magazine InfoComm for Best in Market Award (26). The BMA 360 is the world’s most technologically advanced beamforming microphone array ceiling tile with Voice Lift capability delivering unrivaled audio performance.
In December, ClearOne was awarded a couple of new patents for Power over Ethernet (PoE). The two new PoE patents describe systems and methods for providing power to multiple devices in a novel daisy-chain configuration, distributing power to every device without disturbing the standard PoE handshaking protocol (27).
In Q4, Shure introduced its new Axient Digital Dual-Channel Portable Wireless Receiver, which offers users an enhanced workflow experience. The new third-party integration and features allow sound mixers to control and monitor the ADX5D from their mix position for functions like scanning and deploying frequencies to receiver channels, adjusting receiver output gain, monitoring transmitter battery life (28).
In addition, Shure cemented their commitment to providing exceptional audio experiences, announcing two new collaborations:
- Shure’s Microflex Ecosystem became the first-ever audio solution added to the Cisco Webex Compatibility Program (29).
- And in December, Shure announced a partnership with Logitech to provide its consumers with best-in-class conferencing audio technology (30).
In November, Sennheiser & 1 Beyond announced the release of a new camera tracking solution. The tracking solution aims to provide voice-activated camera tracking capabilities for any room size, including boardrooms, classrooms, meeting spaces, and more. The partnership leverages Sennheiser’s renowned audio quality with an advanced camera algorithm to offer an improved experience for users (31).