What’s new in Zoom? Channels, Zoom Voice, and a new desktop app

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What’s new in Zoom? Channels, Zoom Voice, and a new desktop app by Elina Oost, 2nd February 2019

Previously on Zoom…

Zoom offers remote conferencing services including videoconferencing, online meetings, chat, and mobile collaboration. And with its 8+ years on the market, it could still be seen as the new kid on the block compared to its direct competitors.

But in that time, it’s quickly risen to ‘heavyweight’ level, directly challenging more established brands such as Cisco and Microsoft. So much so that during 2018 it forced Cisco to bring out its heavy artillery to stop customers jumping ship. Cisco Webex was relaunched with a striking new look, new features and additional integrations, all designed to take Zoom down a peg or two.

But this only served to add fuel to the flames. Now, the war between them is more furious than ever, with Zoom unveiling its latest release at the end of January.

So get yourself comfy, grab some popcorn and enjoy this new episode of Zoom: What’s new?! 

What’s new with Zoom? 

Until now Zoom was basically an online meeting service, with a cute desktop app and a recently-added option to send chat messages to your team members outside of meetings. Simple to join, intuitive interface, good quality communication. The trouble was that with competitors offering platforms for continuous collaboration like Webex Teams and Microsoft Teams, it was falling a bit behind when it comes to the meeting experience as a whole. 

The new desktop app is easier on the eye, with one window instead of two, plus different tabs for ease of navigation between the different activities: Home, Chat, Meetings, Contact and the Phone paid-for option. 


To make the desktop app home page more engaging, Zoom have made some vital changes

  • The desktop app view can be switched from portrait to landscape – this gives a more adaptable view and lets you personalise it with a background picture. 
  • Options like your settings or presence are more easily manageable.
  • There is an improved search function making it simpler to find your contacts, messages, files, or chat groups.


The chat functionality, which allows further collaboration before or after actual meetings with 1:1 chat and private or public channels, has also seen an upgrade:

  • Right-clicking on someone’s name allows you to start a meeting with that person, ‘star’ them to keep them top of list, clear the chat history or block them. 
  • Your own personal space, which allows you to send yourself reminders and files plus easily transfer files between PC and mobile using the mobile app. Super handy! 
  • You can now forward a file received in a chat to another person or group without having to download it first and then re-upload it in the right channel. 
  • Choice of a dark or light theme on the chat panel – whichever works better for you. 


A completely new offering, Zoom Voice, allows you to make and receive Zoom calls from within the apps softphone.  You’ll need to have the Zoom Voice add-on, which must be purchased and for now is only available in the USA and Canada. Yoou’ll only see this tab in the app if you have subscribed.


The Meetings tab has been simplified for easy management of your meetings and the information surrounding them. You can now:

  • See your meeting list and Personal Meeting ID, making it easier to join or invite people. 
  • Create completely new meetings quickly using the “+” icon.
  • View and share your meeting recordings and transcripts with the “Recorded” tab.


The Contacts tab gives you a quick view of all your contacts and channels, shows you how to reach out to them, and offers a simple way to invite new people.

Other new or enhanced features

  • Virtual background without green screen: One of Zoom’s coolest features is the ability to change your own background providing you have a green screen. Well, from now on, if you’re a Mac, iPhone or iPad user, you’ll no longer need a green screen to use this feature.
  • 1080p video: Availability of this feature is limited to Zoom Business and Enterprise users with high-performance PCs, still in limited availability.
  • Audio signature: This is a security feature that adds an ultrasonic watermark to audio streams to identify the source of any leaked audio.
  • Zoom rooms: Now includes enhanced interoperability support, a redesigned administrator portal, support for dual screens, multiple-page whiteboards, blackboard, waiting room and raise hand during a webinar. 
  • There are also a couple of new integrations on the Zoom App Marketplace such as Hubspot and Linkedin Sales Navigator. 

What do we think of the Zoom January 2019 upgrade? 

This upgrade includes some very interesting enhancements, especially from a cosmetic and usability point of view. There’s nothing truly innovative here, but users will definitely discover some great features that will help them feel at ease. Options for continuous collaboration – and not only within meetings – were definitely something that was missing, and this upgrade was a step in the right direction. But is it enough or too little, too late for Zoom to win the race?

Want to know more about these new features and how they can benefit your operations? Reach out to our team of experts.  

*GIF source: Zoom What’s New

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