In Word: Anyone who has participated in a Zoom call on a train will know that it can be unpleasant, as noise from other passengers and privacy are major issues. For the best Zoom-on-a-train experience, head to Japan, where the smoking rooms of some bullet trains are being turned into “zoom rooms.”
As reported by Register, the Central Japan Railway Company already offers wi-fi on the train for its passengers. However, as Zoom is becoming increasingly popular during the pandemic, it is introducing the “S-Work Vehicle. “
The service offers several benefits for passengers looking to participate in some video conferences during their trip. First of all, the speed of the wi-fi is twice that of regular trains, which should help tremendously.
For those who take a nonchalant attitude towards their device’s battery life, each train seat comes with its own charging port, something already offered on trains in various countries.
The railroad will even loan passengers a mouse, for those who prefer them to trackpads / touchscreens, presumably, and a privacy screen for laptops. Some laptops already come with this feature, which prevents a screen from being visible when viewed from the side, although this version appears to be only side covers. The company also offers a complete laptop tray with wrist rests.
If all that isn’t privacy enough, some trains will turn their smoking rooms into zoom booths. Smoking was banned on Japanese trains in 2020, so this is a good way to use the space.
Only one type of Shinkansen (bullet train) will offer the service, the 186 mph N700S tilting train, and it is limited to a couple of routes. Still, zoom-focused trains are likely to prove popular.
Header image: Maridav