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Zoom arrives on Amazon, Google, Facebook smart devices

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Zoom will soon be available on a selection of widely used smart displays, as the video conferencing giant looks to expand its Zoom for Home initiative.

Users will soon be able to join meetings from the Amazon Echo Show, Portal from Facebook and Google Nest Hub Max by either pressing a button or using their voice. While there are many ways to upgrade your work from home setup, being able to do so using a device you already have is even better.

Chief product officer at Zoom, Oded Gal provided further insight on the firm's decision to bring its video conferencing service to smart displays in a press release, saying:

“We’re excited to bring Zoom to these popular devices. It’s more apparent than ever that people are looking for easy-to-use displays for their video communications needs, both professionally and personally.”

Zoom on smart displays

By adding Zoom to smart displays, users will be able to more easily connect with their colleagues, family and friends which will help improve their productivity as well as their relationships while working remotely.

Beginning in September, Zoom will be available on Facebook's Portal Mini, Portal and Portal+ with support for the company's Portal TV coming in the future. Portal's Smart Camera technology automatically keeps users in frame which simplifies camera controls for more immersive video calls. 

Zoom will be coming to Amazon Echo Show devices later this year and users will be able to join video meetings by simply saying, “Alexa, join my Zoom meeting”. If a user has linked their calendar in the Alexa app, Alexa will be automatically able to start scheduled meetings entirely hands-free without requiring users to know their meeting ID or passcode.

By the end of the year, Zoom will also arrive on Google Assistant-enabled smart displays including the Google Nest Hub Max. The service will be fully integrated with both Google Calendar and Google Assistant, allowing users to join meetings using hands-free controls with commands such as “Hey Google, join my next meeting”.

When smart displays first arrived on the market, they provided users with a visual way to control their smart homes but now thanks to Zoom's expansion of its Zoom for Home initiative, users will soon be able to use them to host or join video meetings.


20 Aug 2020



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    Digital transformation continues to move our daily lives to the internet, forcing businesses of all sizes to adopt new technologies that better meet their customers’ needs and help them to compete in the digital age. 

    But as digital transformation sweeps through every industry - from retail to transportation to manufacturing, and beyond - it’s exposing gaps in digital accessibility and the vulnerabilities these gaps create for businesses and customers alike. 

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in four Americans lives with some type of disability. 

    Yet, only 3% of the internet is accessible to people with disabilities. So, when we talk about gaps in digital accessibility, we are first and foremost talking about millions of lives and livelihoods that are being left behind, while the rest of the society continues to reap the benefits of digital transformation. 

    Despite the legal guidelines governing digital accessibility, the moral imperative, and a good business sense, many companies still don’t feel the urgency - or don’t know how - to make their digital content universally accessible. 

    The good news is that today we have the technology and human expertise needed to bridge the digital accessibility gap without inflicting operational or financial burden on businesses. Below are six steps every business should take to ensure equal access to their digital content and tools, and by extension - to their products and services. 

    But before diving into the action steps, let’s first review a few basic definitions.  

    What is digital accessibility?

    Digital accessibility is the practice of designing and building websites, apps, media, and web-related tools and technologies that are usable by people who are living with disabilities or conditions that may impact their access to the web. 

    There are a number of visible and invisible disabilities that may impair a person’s ability to access digital content. The general categories of disabilities include visual, auditory, motor, and cognitive/neurological. 

    To be accessible to the broadest audience, digital content should meet the four major principles defined by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) - it has to be perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. 

    In summary, users need to be able to see and hear content, use different functionalities, navigate website structure and content with ease and clarity, and be able to use different assisted technologies.

    Why is digital accessibility important? 

    More than a billion people need assistive technology to carry out their daily tasks. In the digital context, assistive technology is any device, software, or equipment that’s easy to use and helps people with disabilities to consume and interact with web content. Voice-enabled software, keyboard alternatives, and screen readers (JAWS, NVDA) are all examples of assistive technology. 

    But assistive technology by itself can’t make your website content accessible. You have to incorporate digital accessibility best practices into the design and development of your website, so that people who use assistive technology can engage with your content, make online purchases, and become repeat customers. 

    As you think about the ROI of digital accessibility, consider that, in the US alone, people with disabilities control $645 billion in disposable income. 

    Another important consideration is search engine optimization (SEO). From a business perspective, the purpose of SEO is to drive target audiences to your website and convert site visitors into paying customers. For Google, the world’s biggest search engine, the goal is “to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.” By implementing digital accessibility best practices, such as clear navigation, proper headings, ALT text, video captions, etc., you can improve your site’s ranking in search and grow organic traffic. 

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    The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is one of the key legislations that prohibits discrimination based on disability. For a website to be compliant with the ADA, it must be accessible to people who browse the web with assistive devices. Between 2017 and 2021, the number of ADA-related lawsuits went up 400%. If your website is not accessible to people with disabilities, it's not compliant with the law and you are at risk of being sued. 

    Based on the way the courts and the Department of Justice have interpreted the law so far, ADA compliance is clearly mandatory for government and business websites. Most ADA website lawsuits are filed against businesses that are considered “places of public accommodation” under the law. 

    But the ADA, which was signed into law in 1990, doesn’t provide technical standards or specific legal criteria for implementing digital accessibility. Instead, there are W3C guidelines known as Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) that serve as the basis of modern discussions on the accessibility methods and provide clear guardrails for how to format content so it is accessible to all users. 

    Even though WCAG are considered a “voluntary technical standard” under the ADA, they are frequently cited in lawsuits and ADA settlements. In fact, ADA precedence shows that using WCAG as a guideline will ensure your site is usable and compliant. Adhering to WCAG guidelines will also help to protect your business from the threat of expensive litigation. 

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    Broadly speaking, steps in creating accessible websites fall into two categories: designing new sites and revamping existing sites for greater accessibility.

    1. Incorporate digital accessibility into website design

    According to a 2021 study by AudioEye, 50% of designers and developers say they are fairly familiar with digital accessibility. 

    Website accessibility starts at the very beginning of a design project and designers should address it at every step of the way. Some elements to consider from the start are colors, color contrasts, ALT text on images, programming text for screen readers, font styles, and the careful use of interactive elements. 

    While designing for accessibility should be a top priority from the beginning, WCAG guidelines are ever-evolving, so it’s not a one-and-done effort. Accessibility improvements should be addressed on an ongoing basis.

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    4. Use manual support to ensure digital accessibility

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    5. Continuously train and empower your team  

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    6. Stay current on digital accessibility laws and regulations

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