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Zoom Intros Home Videoconferencing Appliance

Zoom Video Communications has announced a new device specifically designed for home videoconferencing. But at least one analyst suspects the price may keep buyers at by. In mid-July Zoom announced it would be taking pre-orders for Zoom for Home, a dedicated appliance for allowing employees to meet and collaborate online. Currently, the device is available for pre-order.

Zoom is working with DTEN Solutions, which already offers a 55-inch "Zoom room appliance." Zoom for Home will be a 27-inch touch display with three built-in wide-angle cameras for high-resolution video and an eight-microphone array for clear audio. It will include functionality for screen sharing, whiteboarding, annotating and "ideation." According to Zoom, the device will work out of the box and will connect for anybody with a Zoom Meeting license.

Zoom Enters Appliance Business with Zoom for Home

Zoom for Home will sync with the user's calendar, status, meeting settings and phone and can be set up for remote IT management through the Admin Portal or self-managed by the user. The company said the device would be compatible with other Zoom Room Appliances, including systems from Neat and Poly that are intended for group meeting settings.

The timing isn't surprising. Pre-pandemic, 11 percent of people worked from home. But a June survey by IBM found that four in five employees (81 percent) would prefer to continue working remotely "at least some of the time." Three in five (61 percent) would like telecommuting to become their "primary way of working."

IDC Senior Research Analyst Rich Costello observed that these types of dedicated devices help can people "feel set up for success." Just a few months ago, he noted in a press release, the job was to make sure employees had the right ergonomic setup. "We've now moved to the phase of making sure employees have the right devices to enable productivity. The Zoom from Home category is a powerful way for the company to reach a work-from-home audience that craves tools to help with engagement, connection and collaboration."

However, GlobalData Principal Analyst David Bicknell suggested that the popularity of the product "may be held back by the price tag. At $600, it is more than double the price of similar consumer solutions," including the Amazon Echo Show ($230), Facebook Portal (from $129) and Google Nest Hub Max (from $229).

Another issue, Bicknell said, was whether people wanted more dedicated work communications equipment taking up space in their home. "A dedicated videoconferencing device might be an unwelcome reminder for some that they're already working far too much," he noted.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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