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Zoom introduces in-office ‘video booths’

Many office workers got familiar with Zoom’s videoconferencing technology while they worked remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the company is working with an office phone booth maker to build videoconferencing pods for offices, The Wall Street Journal reports. The modular booth, called, “Room for Zoom” is collaboration between Zoom and Room, Inc. and is part of the videoconference company’s strategy to remain useful as workers start to return to their offices.

Room for Zoom booths will have soundproof walls, a height-adjustable desk, built-in lighting, silent fans to ventilate the space and a computer installed with and a high-definition web camera. Booths will also have a Zoom Room—a system that allows users to connect to their accounts to a meeting room’s conferencing software quickly.

“We want to do whatever is best for our customers,” Ty Buell, a solutions architect at Zoom, told The Wall Street Journal. “So, if they’re happy being fully remote, then we want to support that, and if they want to come into the office, we need to have offerings for that as well.”

Zoom’s reported revenue last month was a little more than $1 billion for the quarter that ended on July 31—a 54% increase from the year before, but a decrease from the prior quarter that saw three times the revenue from the same time period 2020. Zoom projects revenue growth of 31% this quarter, The Wall Street Journal reports.

“Even though the pandemic seems to be far from over, we are happy that people are feeling more comfortably out traveling, and that’s really where we’re seeing the slowdown,” Zoom Chief Financial Officer Kelly Steckelberg said on an earnings call.

Zoom makes presence felt in offices

Zoom is taking steps to reflect employees’ return to the office. It introduced a tool that allows workers to book and check into desks and workspaces at their office, The Wall Street Journal reports. Additionally, Zoom announced a partnership with Facebook’s Oculus that will let users meet in virtual reality. The collaboration with Room started when clients began to ask Room for products geared towards video calls, according to co-founder Morten Meisner-Jensen.

PoppingPad, Pillar, Urban Office, Hush and Framery are among the businesses that currently sell booths designed for videoconferencing in a shared space, but Room is deeming its solution as, “purpose-built for Zoom.”

These booths address a number of concerns workers might have conducting a video conference in their office. They provide more privacy and have better lighting and audio than standard booths and open areas in the office. Room builds booths in clients’ offices for prices beginning at $16,995 and include the computer, lighting and other hardware. Assembly and delivery are not included in the price, however.

“Because we design these prefabricated products, we get to design them down to the last detail,” Meisner-Jensen told The Wall Street Journal. “That means we get to think about that user experience to a deeper extent than you would if you were having to patchwork it together yourself.”

Meanwhile, companies that plan to use the hybrid model as their return-to-the-office strategy are taking another look at their current floor plans after being away for months, according to workplace culture consultant and author Bruce Daisley. Videoconferences have gained popularity since the COVID-19 pandemic, but many open-plan offices don’t support this new way of communication.

“Every time you had a meeting room booked, you’d always open the door and there was someone already in there, looking stressed, hiding, because offices just didn’t have any degree of privacy to them,” Daisley said. “We find it exhausting to be in these big, forced social spaces.”

Joe Dyton can be reached at joed@fifthgenmedia.com.

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