2021 was another year of remarkable change. Many companies returned to the office and many stayed remote. We also saw new hybrid arrangements where teams worked alternating schedules.
We toppled our old routines and embraced new ways of work. Beyond this, we also learned how to stay connected as colleagues spanned different locations and time zones. Despite all of the uncertainty, we emerged successful.
Of course, we like to think that RingCentral MVP made an impact. The combination of messaging, video and phone helped you stay connected with your colleagues, teams and customers, and gave you the flexibility to do your best work – from anywhere.
We’ve released a lot of new features in 2021 that made this possible. Here are some of our top innovations, along with a sneak peek at what’s to come for 2022.
Our favourite innovations of 2021
1. Live Transcription
Whether you’re joining a call late and need to catch up or need to multitask, Live Transcription makes it easy to stay on top of what’s happening.
When enabled, Live Transcription uses AI to automatically transcribe conversations – great for late joiners who can get caught up without disrupting the meeting. Transcripts can be reviewed at any time during the meeting and also downloaded for future reference.
Real-time transcription is also a helpful tool that enables global teams to overcome language barriers.
Learn more about live transcription here.
2. Team Huddle
The days of missing casual chats at the office are over, thanks to our Team Huddle feature.
Team Huddle is an always-on video meeting that allows members of a RingCentral Team to hop on and hop off as needed.
It’s a casual, accessible virtual meeting spot that’s great for setting up open office hours, HR Q&A sessions, IT service desks, and a lot more. Think of it as a live chat room.
Learn more about different ways to use Team Huddle here.
Having to take the time to ensure you’re framed optimally and visible to meeting participants can be one of the drags of video meetings – especially if you need to move around the room.
When enabled, our auto-follow feature makes framing automatic. Auto-follow uses AI to track where you are on camera and ensures that you are centred on the screen, no matter where you are.
4. Presentation Modes
One complaint we often hear about video meetings is that they lack the dynamic vibe of in-person sessions because you can’t see both the presenter and presentation materials at the same time.
Our Presentation Mode feature enables the best of both for video meetings. Instead of having to choose between a dry screenshare or seeing the presenter, Presentation Mode displays both.
Presenters can show their video layered on top of their shared content, with settings such as Overlay, Newsroom, and Conference Room, and still convey a human element: facial expressions, hand gestures, and more.
Learn more about presentation modes here.
5. Breakout Rooms
Whether it’s small-group icebreakers or mini-brainstorming sessions, there are occasions where you’ll want to break out a larger meeting into more intimate discussions. Our Breakout Rooms eliminate the complexity of doing so.
With Breakout Rooms, meeting hosts no longer have to create separate video meetings and participants don’t have to leave the main meeting for small group discussions.
All you have to do is decide the number of rooms required, and then assign or randomly split up participants into smaller working groups.
More on Breakout Rooms here.
6. Mobile to Room switch
Commuting into the office or out for a walk and need to join a meeting along the way?
With our Mobile-to-Room switch feature, you can start a meeting from your mobile device and then seamlessly switch to a nearby meeting room.
This means no more dropping off and back on or fumbling to connect cables to switch over. Just click a button to transfer.
Learn more about Mobile-to-Room here.
7. RingCentral Rooms: a touchless meeting room experience
In 2021, we introduced new touchless features to make meetings safer and more comfortable for everyone.
Phone as a controller
Meeting hosts can now use their own mobile phones to control a meeting. Not only does this reduce surface contact, but it also allows hosts to move around a room rather than being tethered to a controller.
You can also launch a meeting completely touch-free with voice-activated control. Simply use the command “Hi RingCentral, join meeting” up to 30 minutes before a meeting start time to join automatically.
Learn more about our touchless meeting features here.
8. Rooms as a softphone
As you configure your meeting rooms for the future of work, there’s no need to purchase separate equipment for phone capabilities.
RingCentral Rooms setups can now also be used to dial out or receive calls, making it more seamless than ever to connect by phone or video as needed.
Learn more about other Rooms features designed for the hybrid workplace here.
9. New RingCentral Rooms hardware options
We’ve partnered with best-in-class providers including Avaya, Logitech, Poly, and Yealink, to offer all-in-one appliances that are easy to use, install, and manage.
These new appliances include innovative proprietary AI technologies for participant tracking, framing, and noise cancellation. Check out our full appliance offerings here.
RingCentral Rooms also offers various Room kits that are compatible with Mac and Windows operating systems, providing seamless solutions on your OS of choice.
See our list of compatible room kits here.
10. RingCentral Room Connector
For organisations that have already invested in SIP-based hardware, there’s no need to tear down your existing meeting room equipment.
RingCentral Room Connector is an add-on licence to RingCentral MVP or Video Pro+ that allows businesses with third party SIP-based hardware to seamlessly connect to RingCentral video meetings.
Learn more about Room Connector here.
11. Desktop & Mobile Head-up Display
In the past, only proprietary desk phone and desktop devices offered advanced capabilities for receptionists and admins, such as the ability to manage multiple incoming calls, add users, transfer calls and view other users’ real-time availability.
RingCentral offers the first-to-market mobile and desktop HUD functionality, finally extending these critical features to all devices and making work more mobile than ever before.
12. Powerful phone solutions to enhance Microsoft Teams
RingCentral provides multiple calling options for Microsoft Teams users, made seamless via our rich integration with Teams.
With RingCentral, Teams users can access a native calling experience, including business-critical capabilities such as voicemail, fax and other calling features – all directly from the Teams app.
And with business calling in 44+ countries and local and toll-free numbers in 110+ countries, it’s a solution that’s well-suited to the needs of global workforces and organisations.
Learn more about RingCentral for Microsoft Teams here.
13. Resource Centre
Accessible right from the RingCentral App, our Resource Centre is a one-stop-shop to get support, submit feedback and discover the latest releases.
With simple and intuitive access to in-app guided tours, support articles, and more with just a click of a button, the Resource Centre helps companies improve employee training, reduce on-boarding time and get the most out of RingCentral MVP.
14. The App Gallery: Now available in the RingCentral app
One of the biggest advantages of cloud communications is the ability to integrate your favorite apps. In RingCentral, we’ve made this easier than ever.
You can now search and install any team messaging add-in directly from your RingCentral app. Choose from messaging bots, interactive add-ins (beta) and notifications all without having to leave the app.
For other third-party apps, check out our App Gallery here:
Looking ahead to 2022
As we look ahead to 2022, here are some upcoming RingCentral MVP features we’re really excited to show you.
1. RingCentral Add-Ins
Our robust integration App Gallery already makes it easier for RingCentral users to do more in their app, streamlining workflows and reducing app overload. And the seamlessness of our solution is only getting better.
RingCentral Add-Ins brings your favorite third-party applications right into your team messaging. For example, our DocuSign integration allows you to send important documents directly to the right people, where they can then sign documents within RingCentral.
Along with over 250 apps in the App Gallery today, there will be new Add-In apps coming soon from BugSnag, GitHub, Jira, Keeper AI and Trello.
2. Next-Gen analytics for line of business
Our advanced analytics and centralised portal have long made it easy for IT teams to optimise the end-user experience, understand adoption and proactively monitor quality of service for users.
Now we’re extending the capabilities of IT to empower even more insightful decisions and act as strategic business drivers for their organisations.
Stay tuned for next-gen analytics that offer even more powerful capabilities to analyse, visualise, summarise and distribute insights, helping to better drive revenue, cut costs and enhance customer experiences.
3. Meeting summaries
Limited time and attention and a high volume of meetings can be a bad combination. But our AI-driven meeting summaries are making it easier than ever to keep up.
With meeting summaries, RingCentral automatically generates a recap of your entire video session. Choose from a short or long summary, review important keywords, and view a list of all the participants who joined.
Learn more about meeting summaries here.
Whiteboards have long been a way to make in-person meetings dynamic and interactive (not to mention a useful way to capture information). And we’re excited to bring this key collaboration tool to video meetings.
Whiteboard is a blank virtual canvas that allows participants to draw shapes, add text, add images and more. And when the meeting is done, it’s easy to export and save the whiteboard to refer to later.
As the word suggests, this exciting new tool is unbounded by space, providing freedom to add as many ideas as you can think of, and a mini map to lead participants to the right place on the whiteboard.
Learn more about Whiteboard here.
5. India expansion
With one million employees joining the Indian workforce every month and more new engineers each year than come online in China and the U.S. combined, India is a key region of interest for multinational enterprises.
And we’re making it easier for global companies to connect by expanding our award-winning cloud communications services to India.
6. Dynamic end-to-end encryption (E2EE)
With cyberthreats on the rise, protecting sensitive information is critical – and we’re giving customers a powerful new security layer to protect video meetings.
End-to-end encryption (E2EE) is a complete encryption solution that prevents everyone outside your meeting – including RingCentral – from accessing meeting data.
Our new dynamic E2EE capabilities are available for desktop, mobile, and browser users, and can even be turned on or off at any time during the meeting.
Our dynamic E2EE is first in the market and offers the protection and flexibility customers rely on us for.
7. RingCentral for HubSpot (coming soon)
With RingCentral for HubSpot, you get key RingCentral capabilities embedded directly into your HubSpot CRM account. And there are no downloads required. Simply log on and access the integration from any PC or Mac.
- Make and receive calls
- Instant screen pop
- Call disposition
- View recordings
Keep an eye out for 2022
Exciting times ahead, and we can’t wait to launch the innovations that are in our pipeline for 2022.
To stay updated on the latest releases, follow us on our LinkedIn. You’ll see the latest features as soon as they’re released.
Not a user yet? Try out RingCentral for free here. Simply click on the “Try free” button to get started.
Originally published Jan 31, 2022, updated May 09, 2022