The new Zoom TV from DTEN is, frankly, kind of dumb.
It’s a standalone 27” touchscreen with three cameras, eight microphones, and Zoom software built in. It pairs with your laptop or phone via ultrasonic sound, connects to your calendar and lets you join meetings with a tap, and includes whiteboarding capability, for $ 599.
In other words, rather than re-use tech you already own (like that laptop with a camera already embedded in it), you can add more tech to your home office at additional cost and have a few more wires straggling around your desk.
On the other hand, the device heralds a new stage in ambient remote presence.
Where we’re together, even apart.
We have some of that, of course, in Slack and email and good-old-fashioned Zoom on our computers, but it’s not the same as being in an office where you can just drop by a colleague’s desk and ask a question. Ambient remote presence is an always-on full-time video link to your teammates across the country and the planet: the next best thing to being in the same office.
It’s something Vancouver-based startup Perch tried to do about seven years ago, but lacked a global pandemic forcing huge percentages of the world’s knowledge workers to work from home offices.
But this is what they built: an app for your old phones or tablets to turn them into continuous remote presence machines:
Sure: you need to put some boundaries around it so it doesn’t get creepy — only on during working hours, or more likely during set office hours — but this can be much more natural than Slack or Google Meet or … scheduled Zoom meetings.
The Perch solution included some tech for knowing when you came close to the device, so it knew when to activate, in a sense, but it was an always-on portal to your coworkers. I currently work with colleagues in San Francisco, Berlin, Tel Aviv and elsewhere. I’d give them access to my home office during set times to make our collaboration more social, and more effortless.
The only thing, however, is that I’d prefer not to buy a hardware solution (in this case DTEN) that ties me in to just one vendor (in this case Zoom).
Zoom and DTEN are launching the device in concert with “Zoom for Home.” Zoom’s new home office solution allows subscribers to use “personal collaboration devices” video meetings, calls, whiteboarding and more.
“After experiencing remote work ourselves for the past several months, it was clear that we needed to innovate a new category dedicated to remote workers,” Eric Yuan, CEO of Zoom, said in a statement.
The device is available for pre-order now.
The concept — ambient remote presence — is one that we’re just starting to explore.