Over the past 18 months, we’ve all become intimately familiar with Zoom. It’s become as synonymous with video conferencing as Kleenex is to tissues.
So what would the video communications giant’s own multiday, multi-session event look like? Known as Zoomtopia, the company’s annual user conference took place Sept. 13-14 via, you guessed it, Zoom. (The event had been held in person prior to the pandemic.) More than 33,000 attendees joined the fifth annual event, which was free and open to the public.
As a step up from last year's event, the 2021 conference was hosted entirely on the new Zoom Events service—the all-in-one virtual event solution that launched this summer. It includes features such as event hubs, dedicated corporate virtual event spaces, customizable registration and networking through a chat-enabled virtual event lobby. It also allows for event-specific reporting around registration, attendance and ticket sales.
In addition to showing off the platform’s bells and whistles, Zoomtopia, like other virtual conferences, included programming such as interactive sessions, customer panels and guest speakers, including chats with podcast host Jay Shetty, Duke University men’s head basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski and actress Viola Davis.
The two-day event was organized around the concept of “The Imaginarium.”
“Zoomtopia ‘21 was built around The Imaginarium, a space devoted to imagination, discovery and celebration of our customers, which is exactly what we hope attendees took away from it,” said Lynette LaBarre, Zoom’s senior manager of strategic events and Zoomtopia lead. “Zoomtopia is an opportunity to spark the imagination and foster creativity—whether that’s through connecting with others who share your same passions or exploring the ideas and innovations that are shaping tomorrow.”
The virtual event featured over 75 educational sessions and 100-plus breakout sessions covering topics that ranged from designing collaborative work spaces to making virtual meetings better. Zoom CEO Eric S. Yuan and chief product officer Oded Gal led the keynote addresses.
During the virtual event, the company also announced new product innovations, most of which will be available later this year, including the Zoom Video Engagement Center, an enhanced Zoom Whiteboard (that will be integrated into the new Oculus Horizons Workrooms), live translation and transcription, and Zoom Rooms Smart Gallery, which uses AI to create individual video feeds of in-room participants.
In an effort to go beyond webinars and video meetings, Zoom Events will also introduce a new event type called Conference, which is slated to be available this fall. It will allow planners and organizers to host multi-track and multiday events with additional features, including branded emails, surveys, recordings and analytics.
There will also be a “backstage” feature that gives speakers, panelists and production support a centralized space where they can respond to Q&A, monitor chat or mingle before going live.
In addition to announcing the latest news and updates, the company also presented the Zoomtopia Innovation Awards, which celebrated eight organizations for creatively using Zoom over the past year; The Delivering Hope Awards, which honored several customers for keeping people safe by curtailing the spread of COVID-19; and Zoom’s inaugural Partner Marketing Awards, which showcased marketing campaigns around Zoom.