Zoom breaks down pandemic-imposed barriers in online meetings with Immersive View

The new feature can make it appear that up to 25 meeting participants are in the same virtual space, making online meetings feel a bit more personal.

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image: Zoom

Zoom has announced the availability of a new feature it calls "Immersive View," which allows meeting hosts to arrange up to 25 participants in a virtual meeting space to make it appear as if everyone is in the same room.

The feature was initially announced at Zoomtopia 2020 late last year, and was released along with Zoom version 5.6.3. It's similar in look and feel to Microsoft Teams' Together mode, which was released only a few weeks prior to Zoom announcing Immersive View at Zoomtopia in October of last year.

Enabling immersive view for a meeting turns it on for everyone whose Zoom app supports it. Hosts can rearrange participants in virtual spaces that include meeting rooms, lecture halls, classrooms, and a variety of other spaces (including custom uploads) suited for small meetings all the way up to online classes and seminars. Hosts can also resize users to make everyone appear more uniform.

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Turning on Immersive View is designed to be as easy as switching between gallery and speaker view. While in a meeting, an option for changing views is available in the upper right corner of the Zoom window, and users on the newest version of Zoom (5.6.3 or above) should see Immersive View as an option if it's enabled. 

Immersive View is enabled by default on all free and single pro accounts. For paid accounts that are part of an enterprise-managed bundle, users will need to sign in to Zoom's online portal to enable the setting. Businesses with pro plans can administratively lock Immersive View, so anyone with a business account who doesn't see it available in the Zoom app or online portal should check with their administrator. 

Immersive view is only available on Windows and MacOS versions of Zoom, so users on mobile devices or older versions of the desktop app will still see the meeting in gallery or speaker view. Users who can see the Immersive View will see participants whose devices don't support it in Immersive View.

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As mentioned above, Immersive View currently supports up to 25 participants, but that doesn't mean meetings using Immersive View are restricted to that number. Overflow participants will appear in a thumbnail strip on the top of the screen, similar to speaker view. Additionally, screen share still works as normal, with the meeting returning to Immersive View when the sharer ends their share, it doesn't function in breakout rooms, and Immersive View isn't retained in meeting recordings.

For a full rundown of how to use Immersive View be sure to read Zoom's Immersive View support article.

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