New for Zoom Rooms: Custom Automation

November 29, 2017

Zoom Rooms now feature the Zoom Rooms Control System API (ZR-CSAPI), a CLI-based API that allows an external automation controller to fully control a Zoom Room via an SSH connection.  The ZR-CSAPI is intended for Audio/Video integrators who install custom conference room solutions. For these installations, integrators program a central automation controller that has complete control of all devices in the room: that includes the Zoom Room, environmental controls such as lights and blinds, plus other electronics like video switchers. This diagram shows the connections:

 

In this configuration, the automation controller provides a dedicated touchscreen that completely replaces the standard iPad or Android-based Zoom Room Controller. The touchscreen offers a Zoom Room user interface, plus user interface widgets to control other devices in the room. These automation-driven installations offer several benefits:

  • The user interface is customized to the room, and therefore a lot more intuitive for end users.
  • A single touchscreen controls everything; there is no need for multiple remote controls.
  • Users can easily create presets for things like light level, camera pan/tilt, motorized blind setting, etc.

Custom room subsystems

In the parlance of A/V integrators, the Zoom Room is the video codec. The automation controller directly connects to the video codec, plus just about any other device in the room, including:

Environmental controls

  • Lights
  • Motorized blinds
  • HVAC / thermostat

Video/audio devices and switchers

  • Camera pan/tilt
  • Video switches for HDMI inputs and outputs
  • Audio switches, to switch among microphones and speakers
  • Video projector on/off controls
  • Projector screen up/down controls
  • Document cameras
  • DVD players
  • Lecture capture systems and room recorders

Other devices

  • Pressure maps or infrared spot sensors to identify where a presenter is standing
  • An "On air" light outside the room

ZR-CSAPI details

Documentation for the ZR-CSAPI is available on the Zoom Developer web site. Highlights of the API:

  • The ZR-CSAPI is a Command Line Interface (CLI) with a syntax that is similar to other popular video codecs.
  • The ZR-CSAPI exposes the CLI via SSH.
  • The upcoming release of the Zoom Room will have the ZR-CSAPI feature built-in; there is nothing extra to install.
  • It will ship for both the Mac and Windows Zoom rooms.
  • The Zoom Room downloads list of contacts and lists of scheduled meetings from the Zoom Web Portal, then exposes that information via the ZR-CSAPI CLI; the automation controller does not need to connect with a corporate directory to download the information.
  • All events that change the state of the Zoom Room are reported as asynchronous notifications to the automation controller.

Availability

The ZR-CSAPI will ship with the next version of the Zoom Room. However, integrators can request early access to the ZR-CSAPI by sending email to zrcsapi@zoom.us. The ZR-CSAPI is currently available for beta testing on Mac Zoom Rooms; a beta version for Window Zoom Rooms will roll out shortly.

scott firestone
Scott is a senior software architect at Zoom and has extensive experience in collaboration and video platforms. Scott is a published co-author of "voice and video conferencing fundamentals" and has also authored several patents in the collaboration space.