- Zoom will switch on end-to-end encryption next week.
- The technical preview will be available to paying and free users.
- A swathe of other features are also heading to the video conferencing service’s products.
Zoom has been a key work-from-home tool for many users in 2020. That being said, the company isn’t renowned for its stance on security. Now, with the addition of end-to-end encryption (E2EE), that may be about to change.
First announced in June, sessions hosting up to 200 participants will gain E2EE from next week and will be available to paying and non-paying customers. The only caveat is that it’s not a switch that stays flicked. Users will need to opt-in to use it before every meeting.
It seems a nuisance, but this is apparently by design. With E2EE, a number of meeting features will be unavailable. This includes the ability to join before the host, live transcription, and cloud recording. Users will also have to forego social functionality too, like Breakout Rooms, polling, and meeting reactions.
Users will be alerted if they’ve entered an encrypted meeting by a green shield symbol in the top-left. And if you still aren’t convinced, you can also compare the security code on your screen to the host’s.
More upcoming Zoom features
Beyond the security buffs, Zoom is also getting into the digital eventing business. The company is diversifying its offerings with its an online events platform dubbed OnZoom.
The marketplace will be available to paid subscribers, allowing them to “create, host, and monetize events like fitness classes, concerts, stand-up or improv shows, and music lessons” through Zoom Meetings.
Tweaks to Meetings, Phone, and Webinars
Users across Zoom’s three main products can also look forward to upcoming tweaks.
On Meetings, immersive scenes will allow the host to place participants in a custom background. Zoom believes this will be great for teachers to place students in virtual classrooms. The firm mentions that a courtroom scene will also be available, but this sounds too hilarious to be taken seriously.
Video Waiting Rooms should cut down on random users joining meeting sessions, as the host can now see a lobby of waiting users. To keep users entertained, a new set of meeting reactions will be added with additional sounds.
Video Webinars will also see improvements. Tweaks to speaker identification, Breakout Rooms, and debrief rooms for post-meeting chats will also be added to the service. Additionally, lobbies can now also be customized to better fit branded events. Audience reactions will also be added to webinars, too.
Finally, Zoom Phone will gain a number of new features in the coming months. Spam detection and blocking smarts will arrive from November, with Zoom’s Team SMS feature scheduled for a wider rollout in early 2021. The service will also begin offering phone numbers to users in South Africa from “next week,” adding to its coverage of more than 40 territories.
If you’re still on the fence about using Zoom, be sure to check out our video chat app roundup for Android below.