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Zoom is launching a series of features designed to help IT departments manage the health and safety of workers as they return to physical offices.
In a blog post, Zoom described features including a virtual receptionist that can greet facilities visitors via a “kiosk mode.” There’s also simplified room controls for mobile devices, a mechanism to count heads at physical meetings to ensure social distancing guidelines are observed, and an air quality monitor from partner developer Neat.Zoom's launching features designed to help employers reopen their workspace and manage workforce safety as they do it. @Zoom_US #HR #HRTech Click To Tweet
In addition, the company said it has several voice-controlled features in Beta, including expanded voice commands—to encourage hands-free sessions—and the ability to access Zoom using Amazon’s Alexa.
“As the world plans to safely reopen businesses, educational institutions, healthcare facilities, and government entities, we are focused on innovating across our platform to support their needs,” said Zoom Chief Product Officer Oded Gal.
With more employees, and their employers, expressing support for the idea of a hybrid workforce, Zoom said it wants to meet customers’ current needs and be ready to address future needs, including facility check-ins, communicating safety protocols or displaying meeting room capacity details before on-site attendees enter.
Holistic Approach to Workplace Safety
The new features set Zoom down on a path that’s both logical and intriguing, as the company describes them in the context of workforce safety as well as communications. In addition, it said the features’ stated purpose is to help IT departments manage workplace safety.
Facilities access, on-site density and similar issues are on the radar of a range of technology vendors, from HR solutions providers to facilities management systems. It makes perfect sense that Zoom would seek to leverage its technology in ways that can help employers bring their businesses back toward something like “normal.” Of course, it also means every company must proactively determine whose job it is to coordinate safety in the first place.
Zoom’s been smart in its reaction to the pandemic, positioning itself as a simple-to-use videoconferencing tool even as businesses scrambled to set themselves up to effectively support remote workers. According to The Wall Street Journal, the company reported sales of $777.2 million during its second quarter, ending October 31, 2020, up from $166.6 million a year earlier.