zoom video communication Inc.
Teamed up with a manufacturer of office phone booths to create a videoconferencing pod for offices, as part of their strategy to remain useful as workers begin to return to the workplace.
The modular booth called “Room for Zoom” in collaboration with Room Inc. was introduced last week. Setup includes soundproof walls, a height-adjustable desk, built-in lighting, silent fans to ventilate the space, and an HP Inc.
Computers that come installed with a high-definition webcam and Zoom Room, a system that lets users quickly connect their accounts to the meeting room’s conferencing hardware.
“We want to do whatever is best for our clients,” said Ty Buell, a solutions architect at Zoom based in San Jose, Calif. So if they are happy to be away altogether, we support that. And if they want to come to the office, we should have prasad for that too.”
Zoom last month reported revenue of more than $1 billion for the quarter ended July 31, up 54% from a year ago. This represents a slowdown from the previous quarter, when revenue nearly tripled from a year earlier. The company expects revenue growth of 31% in the quarter.
“Even though the pandemic is far from over, we are pleased that people are feeling more comfortable traveling, and indeed we are seeing a recession,” Chief Financial Officer Kelly Steckelberg said on an earnings call.
Zoom’s core conferencing product has been one of the most prominent beneficiaries of remote working. The company offers a free version with the number of participants and call duration and makes money by selling tiered subscription plans beyond these limits.
As employees return to offices, Zoom has taken steps to diversify. At a promotional event this week, the company introduced a tool that lets employees book and check in at desks and workspaces in the office, and announced a partnership with Facebook. Inc. NS
Oculus that will let users meet in virtual reality.
Zoom’s collaboration with New York-based Room, formerly registered as Phonebooth Inc., began after customers began asking Room for products designed for video calls, said co-founder Morten Meisner-Jensen. he said.
Other companies selling booths designed for videoconferencing in a shared workspace include PoppinPod, Pillar, Urban Office, Hush and Framery. Meanwhile, Room is promoting its booth as “Zoom is built for purpose.”
Workers were once comfortable taking phone calls in front of co-workers sitting at open-plan desks, but the visual component of video calling—and privacy issues about who or what can be seen in the background—revealed more people. Sending to the meeting room, Mr. Meisner-Jensen said.
Typical phone booths and meeting rooms weren’t designed for video calling, Mr. Meisner-Jensen said: lighting in standard booths is often too dark or too bright, and audio can become shrill or buzzing in large spaces.
Room builds booths in customers’ offices for prices starting at $16,995, complete with computers, lighting, and other hardware, but not including assembly or delivery.
“Since we design these prefabricated products, we design them down to the last detail,” said Mr. Meisner-Jensen. “That means we think deeply about that user experience if you want to patchwork it together yourself.”
Companies, even those employing a part-time or hybrid approach to their return-to-office strategy, are reevaluating their office floor plans after months, said workplace culture consultant and author Bruce Desley. . Video meetings were not as popular before the pandemic as they are now, but open-plan offices have already proved frustrating for many workers who want to remain silent for privacy or other reasons, he said.
“Every time you booked a meeting room, you always opened the door and there was already someone there, looking tense, hidden, because there was no degree of privacy for them in the offices.” “We find it exhausting to be in these big, forced social spaces.”
write to Katie Deighton at [email protected]
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