We met with Zoom today and reviewed some of the options in Zoom Room software and hardware and talked about some new features:
- Smart Gallery – Using a digital camera (not PTZ camera), Zoom Room software can take a wide shot of conference table and using AI, break it up so that there are multiple close ups of each individual participant. This helps avoid the “security camera” view of a conference room table. This is limited to certain Zoom appliances today but will be coming shortly to Mac/Windows Zoom rooms. For more information: https://blog.zoom.us/all-you-need-to-know-about-smart-gallery/
- Smart Gallery also supports the simultaneous use of two cameras – For example, simultaneous front and rear facing cameras or instructor camera and document camera.
- Focus Mode – Another feature in Zoom Room software allows the instructor to turn off all participants cameras (so they only see participant’s names) and only broadcast their camera. They can still see all the participants cameras to make sure they can keep an eye on things. https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/4411732965389-Using-focus-mode-in-a-Zoom-Room
- Companion Whiteboard – Although requiring a second license, this allows you to deploy a touch device to an existing zoom room to use it as a dedicated white board: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/360038401111-Setting-up-a-companion-whiteboard-in-a-Zoom-Room
We also briefly discussed hardware options alternatives to Logitech including solutions from Poly (formerly Polycom – merged with Plantronics) and Neat. We’ll be planning a DDMC meeting in the next week or so with Poly to discuss some of their solution. One feature that caught my attention was Poly’s inclusion of a USB-C plug that allows you to connect the system to your computer and use their camera, speaker and microphone on your laptop – if you needed to connect to Skype, Go To Meeting, etc… Poly’s NoiseBlock.ai seems pretty cool as well – especially in our new media lab with the loud air exchanges.