Welcome to the DMS Tech Digest. In this digest, we discuss the main stories in the video conferencing space from Q3 2021.
We run through the major software and hardware releases from our long-term partners and the biggest names in the video conferencing industry.
On 13-14 September 2021, Zoom hosted Zoomtopia, which celebrates product development, service development, partners, and customer success stories. The event was held online, with the most notable announcements being (1):
- Zoom’s chat enhancements, which seamlessly link collaboration in and out of meetings.
- The expansion of the live translation and transcription features for Zoom calls.
- The unveiling of Zoom Phone Provider Exchange. The Provider Exchange supports Zoom customers searching for a public switched telephone network partner (PSTN).
- The launch of video voicemail messages, which provide a personalized alternative to voicemail.
- An update to Zoom’s booking feature, which offers users the ability to book designated hot desks in the office through Zoom.
- The release of Zoom Events Conference, which enables event managers to host large-scale multi-day events.
- The expansion and embedding of Zoom Apps across the platform, with new developer tools to support further integrations and applications.
Zoomtopia followed a busy July and August for Zoom, with product releases including:
- Focus Mode, which places meeting participants in a view where they are only able to see themselves, the host/co-hosts, and the content they are sharing. The mode is designed for all forms of educators (2).
- The ability to transfer a meeting from mobile to desktop during the session (2).
- A new security setting that allows admins to restrict screen sharing for meetings with external participants (2).
- The launch of Zoom Community, which provides a place for users to find answers and support (3).
- The launch of Zoom Apps, bringing Zoom integration to many of the most used technology products. Launch Zoom Apps include whiteboarding, project management, productivity, note-taking, and games (4).
- Zoom voice commands moved into beta, offering users a safe and effective hands-free method of controlling meetings with commands such as, ‘start meeting’, ‘leave meeting’, and, ‘join meeting’ (5).
During the quarter, Zoom reinvested heavily with their well-publicized acquisition of Five9 (6) and their $30m investment in Neat technology (7). The extension of Zoom’s partnership with Neat devices will see Zoom and Neat continue to innovate, meaning we can expect some exciting technology announcements over the coming months and years.
During Q3 Webex by Cisco surpassed 8 billion monthly calls across its cloud calling platforms, the most of any cloud calling provider. In the same press release, Cisco announced an expansion of their global PSTN footprint, making Webex Calling more widely available with increased flexibility and functionality (8).
In September, Cisco committed to a goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. This includes the ambitious near-term targets of net-zero for all global Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions by 2025, with Scope 3, comprising supply-chain and products, falling in line with the 2040 goal (9).
In August, Cisco announced a new video messaging solution called Vidcast. Vidcast is an all-in-one video recording and editing tool which allows presenters to share pre-recorded video messages with their screen, without requiring a live meeting. A waitlist for beta testing of Vidcast is currently open for signups (10).
In July, Cisco announced the acquisition of event technology platform, Socio Labs. Socio Labs manages the full lifecycle of virtual, in-person, and hybrid conferences – from registration to post-event analytics. The acquisition means Webex will provide event organizers with a single platform with everything they need in one place (11).
In July, Cisco also announced a partnership with Kloudspot. Kloudspot now enables safer and smarter workspaces by providing situational awareness, location intelligence, and camera analytics for Cisco Meraki users (12).
Google announced two new hardware devices designed for Google Meet. The Series One Desk 27 and Series One Board 65 are both made by Avocor but are part of the Series One program. The Series One Desk 27 is a 27-inch display with custom speakers, mics, a camera, and a touchscreen. The Desk 27 can also be used as a laptop monitor. The 65-inch Series One Board 65 can either be wall-mounted in collaboration spaces or placed on a stand for mobility, making it useful for meetings anywhere (13).
Like Zoom and Cisco, Microsoft is building out their PSTN solution. Microsoft is looking to grow its 80 million monthly active users across 180 countries, adding several new telecoms service operator partnerships to its Teams Phone Operator Connect platform (14).
Microsoft Teams has also launched 2 new presenter views, which promote a more engaging presentation experience. Reporter mode places content as a visual aid above the shoulder of the presenter like a news story, whilst side-by-side mode displays video next to the presented content. In the same press release, Microsoft announced certification for AudioCodes RXVCam10 webcam and further functionality with Together Mode. Together Mode allows developers to build immersive custom scenes and personalized environments and is designed to elevate user experience beyond the standard video conferencing interface (15).
In August, Microsoft acquired Peer5, a platform that optimizes bandwidth usage. The acquisition will allow Microsoft to improve their enterprise IT management experience and streamline purchase processes and customer support (16).
In July, Microsoft released a whole host of updates, including (17):
- The functionality within the Office365 search bar to search Microsoft Teams audio transcripts.
- The addition of live translation for PowerPoint presentations in Microsoft Teams supporting international presentations.
- A new meeting organizer setting that sets meetings to record automatically from the start.
- The functionality for administrators to select an organization-wide video background.
- The transfer capability to move a call to a different device during a call.
- Global incident detection monitoring for Microsoft Teams Rooms managed service providers.
- The addition of several devices to their list of Microsoft certified equipment. The most noteworthy newly certified devices were Poly’s EncorePro 515/525 USB headset and Studio P15 video bar, Yealink MVC640, a wireless 4K camera with MTouch II touch panel meeting control, and Crestron Flex customizable Microsoft Teams Rooms solutions.
- Microsoft 365 Multi-Geo was launched to provide enterprise organizations with greater control over the location of their data. Microsoft 365 Multi-Geo includes support for Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, OneDrive, and Teams and allows organizations to control where data is stored down to an individual user level (18).
- The Salesforce App for Microsoft Teams is now generally available. The app allows Salesforce users to bring account data and records into their Teams workspace for better collaboration. The app eliminates the need for users to switch between windows (19).
The month also saw Microsoft introduce their broadcast development kit, which helps production companies around the world harness the power of Microsoft Teams by bringing guests, sitting at home, directly into nationwide broadcasts. The broadcast development kit is an open-source project that integrates Microsoft Teams directly into cloud production workflows running on Microsoft Azure (20).
In June, Biamp announced the acquisition of Danish company Neets A/S. Neets A/S develops AV control solutions for meeting spaces and educational institutions. The acquisition provides Biamp with a new range of complementary products broadening their offering to a wider range of venue types, sizes, and use cases (21).
Poly announced two new products in its video conferencing solutions range at Zoomtopia on September 13. The Poly Studio X70 is a brand new video bar, with the Poly Studio E70 a new intelligent camera. Both are Zoom certified products designed for video collaboration and bring professional audiovisual to large workspaces (22).
September also saw Poly launch the Voyager 4300 UC Series headphones, a wireless headset with high-quality audio and multiple connectivity options. The Voyager 4300 UC Series includes noise-reducing Acoustic Fence technology, has a 50m range, and connects to smartphones and computers via its integrated BT700 USB adapter providing users with maximum flexibility (23).
In August, workplace technology provider, Creston, announced the next generation of AirMedia Presentation Systems. Their latest AirMedia devices seamlessly connect presentation, collaboration, and display capabilities together for enterprise workspaces on the Crestron Flex digital workplace platform. The new system allows the sharing of up to 9 screens at once with a dynamically adjusted layout and 4k video support (24).
The month also saw Creston and Shure partner and achieve an industry-first Microsoft Teams certification for Crestron UC-C100-T Flex Video Conference System Integrator Kit and Shure IntelliMix Room. The UC-C100-T Crestron Flex integrator kit provides a customizable video conference solution for use with Microsoft Teams, with IntelliMix Room’s technology helping professionals achieve better audio in meetings with acoustic echo cancellation, noise reduction, and automatic mixing technology (25).
In September, ClearOne announced the release of a new camera featuring a 20x optical zoom lens with 16x digital zoom for extra distance if needed. The Unite 200 Pro delivers 1080p quality at 60 frames per second with full pan, tilt, and extended zoom functionality, designed for use in large spaces where close-up, high-resolution video capture is desired (26).
In July, ClearOne launched their new Versa Mediabar, their first professional-quality all-in-one audio and video capture device. The device contains a soundbar with intelligent audio capture and 4K camera technologies and offers high-quality audiovisual from a single integrated device (27).
July also saw ClearOne release their new Unite 180 ePTZ professional camera. As the name suggests, the camera provides a full 180-degree panoramic field-of-view with real-time stitching to achieve a variety of viewing modes for any application and environment. The possible applications include the visual tracking and focussing of up to 4 participants at once (28).