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With New Enhancements Zoom Moves Deeper into Complete Enterprise Communications Market


While the ongoing pandemic has been a major challenge for millions of businesses and workers, it’s brought into focus some technologies that have been around for years, but haven’t really been adopted as rapidly as some expected.  Video is at the top of that list.  For years, the industry has been touting the benefits of video and many industry insiders have announced time and again, “This really is the year of video.” 

Those predictions never really came to fruition until 2020, when unprecedented circumstances sent workers across the globe home for months, where they had to re-learn how to communicate and collaborate.  It’s why we’ve seen use of collaboration services like Zoom skyrocket this year – because people need to continue to engage with colleagues, customers, and partners, even though they aren’t able to do it in-person.  Video conferences have become the next best thing – many argue it’s actually the best thing and claim they are able to work more effectively from their remote environments than they had previously in the office.  Clearly, many companies have seen success in teleworking, given how many have announced plans to implement permanent teleworking at some scale.

“One thing we’ve learned in this challenging time is that remote work does work,” said Zoom CEO Eric Yuan at this week’s virtual Zoomtopia conference.  “The future will bring a hybrid of the best of in-person and virtual communications.”

Zoom has certainly been on the front lines of the growth of video collaboration this year, having more than doubled its year-over-year revenue in Q1 FY 20201, to #328 million.  It also indicated more than 300 million daily conference participants back in April.

Given Yuan’s belief that remote work is, indeed, here to stay, it’s not surprising to see Zoom launch a number of new features to enhance meeting experiences and allow greater customization for enterprise customers.  With these features, Zoom takes a step towards being a complete communications platform for remote and hybrid workforces.

OnZoom:  An online event platform for Zoom users to create and host free, paid, and fundraising events.  OnZoom is an extension of the company’s unified communications platform, enabling paid Zoom users to create, host, and monetize events on the platform.

New end-to-end encryption (E2EE) offering:  An optional feature that can be enabled at the account, group, and user level, and can even be toggled by meeting hosts on a by-meeting basis, depending on account configuration.  E2EE ensures that communication between meeting participants using Zoom applications is encrypted using cryptographic keys known only to the devices of those participants.  That means no third party – including Zoom – has access to the meeting’s private keys.

Customizable SDK:  New features will allow developers to enhance their own custom video applications with Zoom’s platform.  Developers can take advantage of a customizable UI and session control, making it easier for them to bring high-quality video, audio, and instant chat to their applications.

Zapps:  The Zoom Apps platform will bring new independently developed apps to the Zoom community to enhance meeting experiences and workflows.  With Zapps, developers have the tools to quickly create apps, and distribute and manage them.  The Zapps launch includes more than two dozen application partners. 

UC platform:  New features for Zoom’s UCaaS platform are designed to provide more immersive, secure, and collaborative experience.  They include:

  • Immersive scenes – allowing meeting hosts to set a custom background theme for their meetings or create layouts where participant videos are embedded within a scene that everyone shares.
  • Contactless collaboration: Enhanced voice command options and simplified pairing of personal devices to control Zoom Rooms meeting experiences.
  • New reactions & animations – Users will have access to new animated reactions to increase engagement and make meeting experiences more personable and enjoyable through non-verbal communication.  Animations may also include audio elements, such as clapping sounds.

  • Enhanced whiteboarding – A suite of whiteboarding enhancements will enable persistent collaboration across mobile, desktop, and rooms.
  • Smart gallery – Leveraging AI, Zoom Rooms smart gallery presents in-room participants as individuals in gallery view to better enable face-to-face communication between in-office and remote participants.
  • Zoom Phone features –Alert safety team members and 911 dispatchers simultaneously with E911, which integrates with Zoom Digital Signage and Zoom Chat to inform employees and guide responders.  Future features for Zoom Phone include Team SMS and AI-powered spam detection and blocking.
  • Enhanced Webinar features – Reactions, breakout rooms, customized lobbies, and debrief rooms.
  • Video Waiting Rooms – Meeting hosts will be able to see guests’ video in the waiting room, so they know exactly who is joining before admitting them.

  • High Fidelity Audio – Zoom will automatically detect when to turn on High Fidelity mode using AI.
  • Recording Highlights – Again leveraging AI capabilities and NLP, Zoom’s cloud recording will be able to extract key insights from recording transcripts to make it easy to review highlights without having to watch the entire recording.

Personal workspace hardware certification:  Zoom is expanding its hardware certification program to include personal workspace devices. The additional hardware types include personal and portable USB and Bluetooth speakerphones, webcams, and all-in-one desktop systems.  The additional certifications will help remote workers using various devices in their home offices.

There’s no question the world has learned a lot about remote working this year, and the benefits it offers businesses and workers guarantee most companies will continue to leverage teleworking to some degree.  Zoom has already become a dominant platform for video meetings and these features take it one step closer to delivering a full-blown enterprise communications platform. 

The latest trends in communications and customer engagement and experience, including automation, AI, and messaging/communication tools, and how Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning can benefit organizations and their communities of customers and users, is the crux of Future of Work Expo 2021.  Taking place at the brand new Miami Beach Convention Center, June 22-25, 2021 as part of the #TechSuperShow. Future of Work will again sit beside its collocated events – ITEXPO, SD-WAN Expo, MSP Expo, IoT Evolution, The Blockchain Event, and more – to deliver a compete learning and networking opportunity for business leaders who need to know what new technologies will drive their companies into the future.

Edited by Erik Linask
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