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October 14, 2020
Zoom on Wednesday unveiled end-to-end encryption for all users along with enhancements to its core UC platform.
The announcements were made during this week’s virtual Zoomtopia 2020, Zoom’s annual user conference. The theme of this year’s conference is “Epic Experiences.”
Zoom has seen a massive spike in users since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The platform now supports more than 3 trillion meeting minutes per year, and regularly sees more than 300 million daily meeting participants.
Eric Yuan, Zoom’s CEO, told attendees his company’s user base now extends to the “farthest reaches of the globe.”
Zoom’s Eric Yuan
“Zoom has become more than just a video conferencing service,” he said. “It’s a people-centered platform that you can leverage to stay connected with others. This year has been one of incredible growth. Zoom has enabled you to connect with more people from around the world than ever would have been possible in person.”
Yuan said video conferencing can deliver a better experience than face-to-face conversations. And that increase in video conferencing has kept productivity from declining during the pandemic, he added.
“One thing we’ve learned in this challenging time is that remote work does work,” he said. “The future will bring a hybrid of the best of in-person and virtual communications. We have the platform to support what the world needs — today, tomorrow and well into the future. The future of video communication is bright and we will continue to innovate.”
Early in the pandemic, Zoom was in hot water for security and privacy issues. Jason Lee, Zoom’s CISO, said his company paused its planned product development for 90 days. It switched all resources to privacy and security.
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Zoom’s Jason Lee
“We worked tirelessly to enhance the security of our platform, to educate our users and provide transparency on all of our processes,” he said. “And we tapped the right people with the necessary expertise to help us get it right. It resulted in a number of important advances. We are now leading the industry toward toward enhanced security.”
Zoom end-to-end encryption will be generally available in technical preview to free and paid Zoom users next week. It can be enabled at the account, group and user level. Furthermore, depending on how the account administrator sets up the feature, it can be toggled on and off by the host on a by-meeting basis.
When enabled, Zoom end-to-end encryption ensures that communication between meeting participants is encrypted. It uses cryptographic keys known only to the devices of those participants. No third party, including Zoom, is provided with access to the meeting’s private keys.
For 30 days, Zoom will seek user feedback on the new feature.
“We’re now working on phase two of our design,” Lee said. “We’ll be rolling out a stronger notion of identity to use with Zoom’s end-to-end encryption. Identity providers can vouch for their users without having to trust Zoom. This will enable other users to be alerted with warnings if their contacts are on new phones or computers that weren’t previously authenticated.”
Zoom also will roll out video waiting rooms. Hosts can choose to admit a guest after seeing them in a waiting room.
“They can literally look them in the eyes,” Lee said. “This new enhanced security feature will be available early next year. All of these steps have worked to strengthen our platform, and make for a better, more secure customer experience.”
Zoom also has developed new functionalities for its core UC platform. Laura Padilla is Zoom’s head of global business development and channel.
“Our partners benefit from Zoom‘s constant innovation to our platform, which enables them to be …
trusted advisers to their customers to recommend industry leading solutions,” she said. “Our partners will be trained and enabled on our enhancements, and we see them as a large part of proliferating our platform and product story.”
Zoom’s Laura Padilla
The new functions include:
Immersive scenes, which lets hosts set a custom background theme for their meetings.
Enhanced voice command options and simplified pairing of personal devices to control Zoom Rooms meeting experiences.
A suite of whiteboarding enhancements to enable persistent collaboration across mobile, desktop and rooms.
Zoom Rooms smart gallery to better enable face-to-face communication between in-office and remote participants.
Zoom Phone features like E911, in which users can alert safety team members and 911 dispatchers simultaneously.
Enhanced webinar features like reactions, breakout rooms, customized lobbies and debrief rooms.
High fidelity audio.
Other platform developments include:
OnZoom, an online event platform for Zoom users to create and host free, paid and fundraising events.
Zoom is adding new enhancements to its software development kits (SDKs). This will allow developers and companies to enrich their own custom video-based applications with Zoom’s platform.
Zapps enable developers to create apps that power workflows before, during and after a meeting. Zoom has brought first-and third-party developed apps into the meeting experience for real-time adoption.
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