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No Jitter Roll: Zoom Updates, Cisco’s Latest Acquisition
This week we bring you news on Zoom security and meetings updates, enhancements to Avaya’s team collaboration platform, a new video service from Ooma, a cloud acquisition by Cisco, and a SD-WAN solution from EKINOPS for remote workers.
Zoom Releases Security, Rooms Updates
In a pair of blog posts, Zoom this week revealed a series of security and Zoom Rooms updates.
First, Zoom rolled out several security features and provided details on an internal service that it uses to flag publicly shared Zoom meeting links. The security features include:
- Suspend Participant Activities — Host and co-hosts now have the option to pause meetings and remove disruptive participants by clicking "Suspend Participant Activities” under the security icon, Zoom said. They then click to resume the meeting and re-enable any features that might have been turned off during the incident, Zoom said. Zoom has enabled the Suspend Participant Activities feature by default for both free and paid Zoom users and will be collecting incident reports via notifications automatically sent with the feature’s engagement.
- Report by Participants — Meeting participants can also flag disruptive users by clicking the security badge in Zoom, Zoom said. Zoom admins also can manage the reporting capabilities for non-hosts via Zoom’s web settings, according to Zoom.
Additionally, Zoom shared details on its At-Risk Meeting Notifier, which scans social media and other websites for publicly shared Zoom Meeting links and detects meetings that might be at high risk of being disrupted. For at-risk meetings,
Zoom will notify account owners, who can then create a new meeting or employ additional security capabilities, Zoom explained.
The two security features are available on Zoom’s Mac, PC, and Linux desktop clients and mobile apps; support for web client and virtual desktop infrastructure will come later this year, Zoom said.
Separately, Zoom added several Rooms features:
- Sharing screen to a display device — Meeting participants can share their screen to a Rooms for Touch device; the feature is available now for appliances, with Windows support coming later this year, Zoom said.
- Virtual receptionist/kiosk mode — In beta, the kiosk mode for Rooms allows enterprises to create a virtual receptionist desk for contactless office entries. Admins will be able to customize a "Start Meeting" button on a Touch device; building guests click to connect with a receptionist upon arrival, Zoom said.
- Control Rooms remotely — IT admins can now control Rooms remotely via the web admin portal, Zoom said.
- Call transfer to a device — Users running Rooms on Mac and Windows OS and appliances can now transfer a Zoom Phone call to a Rooms appliance that is in proximity.
- Gallery View with 49 videos — Admins can now default the view on a Rooms screen to up to 49 videos per screen, and participants can select this view from the meeting interface.
- Customized video layout options — Hosts can customize video layouts and re-order where participant videos appear on screen.
- Additional whiteboard pages — During whiteboarding sessions running on Windows OS and Rooms appliances, users can add additional pages.
Avaya Spaces Receives Concert Layout
Avaya last week updated its Spaces team collaboration platform with new video layout options and collaboration controls.
Among the new features is a 61-person concert layout that leverages Nvidia Maxine cloud capabilities, rather than the CPU of a user’s machine, for dynamic display of meeting participants, Roger Wallman, senior manager of product marketing at Avaya, told No Jitter in a briefing. With this layout, available with the desktop and mobile app, the lead speaker appears in the center and participants around the periphery, he said.
Other updates include new collaboration controls to accommodate specific use cases. For instance, a teacher can create a space where students can post completed assignments or set up office hours after class time, Avaya explained in a press release. Additional enhanced meeting controls include smart mute, host control of participant cameras and microphone, and a raise-hand feature, Avaya said.
Ooma Releases Video Meetings
As a part of its Office Pro business phone service, cloud communications provider Ooma this week unveiled a video collaboration offering, Ooma Meetings.
Users can manage and join Ooma Meetings through the Ooma Office desktop app, with a mobile client for iOS and Android smartphones and tablets available soon, Ooma said. Desktop users can join meetings via Chrome, Safari, or Edge browsers without needing to install additional software, Ooma said. Ooma Meetings features include chat, mute, one-time and recurring meeting options, personal meeting IDs, a “meet now” function, optional password protection, and up to 25 users can join a video meeting for up to two hours, Ooma said.
Ooma Meetings is available to Ooma Office Pro customers at no extra cost, Ooma said.
Cisco Doubles Down on Cloud Acquisitions
Cisco announced this week the acquisition of cloud application development provider Banzai Cloud, to further support hybrid, multicloud infrastructures. Cisco said it will close the deal in the second quarter of 2021, and that the Banzai Cloud team will be joining its Emerging Technologies and Incubation group to assist in creating new projects for cloud networking, security, and edge computing. This news follows Cisco’s acquisition of Israelian cloud security provider Portshift in October.
EKINOPS Provides Branch Connectivity
Enterprise connectivity solution provider EKINOPS this week launched a networking solution designed for remote workers, SD-WAN Home Office Connect. This software solution comes with a range of built-in services and provides a VPN connection from an employee's location to a branch office via a dedicated EKINOPS router, the company said.