Zoom, everyone's go-to video conferencing app, wants to make working remotely even easier. Today, the company is launching Zoom for Home, a new category of software experiences and hardware devices to support remote work use cases. And with it comes the first Zoom for Home device, the DTEN ME, which seamlessly connects users to Zoom meetings.
As Jeff Smith, Head of Zoom Rooms, explained to Tom's Guide, "Our whole objective with this is to make sure that people in every environment have the ability to have the best Zoom experience that they can."
The coronavirus pandemic closed offices and forced many people to start working from home. "I think we're all aware that hybrid and remote working is our new normal for who knows how long, but it's a very challenging environment and it's new to many workers," Smith said.
The remote work future
Remote working may become the new normal permanently for some workers. In a recent study by IBM, 81% of respondents said they want to continue working remotely at least some of the time. More than half, 61%, would like it to become their primary way of working.
And yet, Smith noted that many remote workers face limitations in the equipment that they have at home.
"Working from home can be very difficult for people that do not have the tech savvy to set up their own high performing workstation," he said. "What I'm hearing a lot from customers is, 'Is there one thing that I can just send to somebody to ensure that they have a great collaboration experience at home?'"
That's where Zoom for Home and the DTEN ME come in. The company has been working on a home solution for some time — even before the pandemic. The software, Zoom for Home, is free with all Zoom Meeting licenses, including Basic.
The DTEN ME is an all-in-one Zoom meeting hub
For the hardware, Zoom partnered with DTEN to create a 27-inch device that includes: three built-in wide-angle cameras for high-resolution video; an 8-microphone array for crystal-clear audio in meetings and phone calls; and, an ultra-responsive touch display for interactive screen sharing, whiteboarding, annotating, and ideation. The device works right out of the box. And it can be set up to be managed by IT remotely through the Admin Portal or self-managed by the worker.
"This is a dedicated and purpose-built collaboration device they can use," Smith told us. "It's personalized for the user. I can synchronize my calendar, my contacts, my favorites. So, I can have a speed dial, a list that is set up as well as search the corporate directory."
When the DTEN ME is up and running, the home screen displays upcoming meetings, which you can join with one touch. You can also create meetings, make phone calls and use the whiteboard function — which works just like a regular whiteboard, except you can save it for later use.
"And if I'm away from my desk, I can lock it so that my two year old doesn't come up and make calls when I'm not there," Smith noted. "These are all very important things when you're working from home."
And there's more to come from Zoom for Home. Smith and the team are already working on the roadmap for new features and additional functionality. "Personalization is definitely one that we'll be building on. The phone capabilities, more advanced phone features for phone power users," he said. "The whiteboard for sure is an area of focus for my team and ways that we can make that a much more powerful and connected experience."
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Kelly is the streaming channel editor for Tom’s Guide, so basically, she watches TV for a living. Previously, she was a freelance entertainment writer for Yahoo, Vulture, TV Guide and other outlets. When she’s not watching TV and movies for work, she’s watching them for fun, seeing live music, writing songs, knitting and gardening.