By Zoe Kleinman
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People in video meetings will, in future, be able to feel their hands being shaken and smell coffee in their virtual space, the founder and CEO of Zoom has predicted.
Eric Yuan was speaking at the Web Summit tech conference.
Mr Yuan said he believed artificial intelligence would bring a physical aspect to virtual meetings.
He also said he thought many workers would not return full-time to the office after the pandemic.
Unsurprisingly perhaps, he argued that video meetings were here to stay, stating that the pandemic had demonstrated that "it works" – despite Zoom's share value plunging following the first announcement about Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine. He said that for office-based staff, coming in for maybe two days a week could become the norm.
"The world will become a hybrid [workplace], and I think that's a world we have to embrace," he said.
However, he hinted that even he had experienced "Zoom fatigue" after attending 19 video meetings in one day.
"Yeah, that was pretty much," he said.
Mr Yuan said he ended every day with a 15-minute period of meditation in which he contemplated what he would do differently were he to start the day again.
He described Zoom's phenomenal growth in 2020 – the firm is forecast to have hosted three trillion minutes of meetings by the end of the year – as something he had never foreseen.
It also brought immediate scrutiny as issues such as privacy and security were thrust under the spotlight when people started experiencing so-called zoombombing – people gatecrashing calls.
"We had to evolve as quickly as possible," he said.