Zoom's meeting room features help you safely return to the office

Jon Fingas
·Associate Editor
·2-min read

There will come a time when it’s safe to return to the office, and Zoom wants to ease your concerns once you’re inside. It’s rolling out Zoom Rooms updates that help you minimize contact with others in meeting rooms and beyond. It starts at the front desk — a Kiosk Mode (above) lets a virtual receptionist greet you from a Rooms for Touch device.

You can also view the occupancy of a meeting room in the Zoom Dashboard with compatible cameras, and check a room’s air quality (after a February 11th upgrade) with a Neat Sense monitor to ensure it’s well-ventilated.

You won’t have to touch shared surfaces as often, either. You can use the Zoom Rooms Controller app to steer a meeting on your phone rather than using a shared controller. Rooms for Touch users can likewise steer the desktop of the person currently sharing their screen. A future upgrade will also bring wider support for hands-free voice commands, including Alexa control over Rooms devices.

Zoom will help if you can’t (or just won’t) attend in person. Users can send a Rooms for Touch whiteboard to a Zoom chat or email for people who can’t be physically present. Zoom for Home devices can both host and join scheduled OnZoom sessions for when they’re working from home. Rooms and Zoom for Home devices can now receive and show meeting reactions. Rooms devices and computers now have real-time transcriptions, too, so you won’t have to miss an important update if your home is noisy.

Most of these upgrades should be widely available. Some of these features might only get use until the pandemic (hopefully) subsides. They could still help you ease back into regular human contact, though. And Zoom doesn’t have much choice, in some regards. It could lose its many videoconference users once it’s safe to commute to work, and these upgrades should help it stay relevant.