Hybrid workplaces created uncertainty when it came to human connection as companies searched for and adopted solutions to implement in their work models. The goal was simple – allow workers the flexibility they demand while ensuring they have the tools to collaborate effectively.
Zoom is a platform many companies turned to as a way to meet collaboration needs. The ability to have multiple employees attend a conference no matter their location was an advantage on its own. Zoom also broke down that “local” barrier and opened up opportunities for businesses to contact investors from anywhere without leaving the home or office. Customer interactions, too, suddenly were enabled in a digital world. The icing on the cake, the basic version is free to use – a good cost-effective strategy for businesses.
Since then, Zoom has added more features to its platform -- some paid and others free – as the hybrid model has become the norm, Eric S. Yuan, CEO at Zoom, said that over 1,500 features and enhancements have been launched on Zoom this year alone. The most recent were just announced by Zoom as it further embraces the next era of communications.
Probably the biggest change for most remote workers was losing that in-person interaction they experienced daily in the office. This could’ve been a simple conversation about weekend plans or colleagues voicing their opinions on a big breaking news story.
Well, Zoom managed to bring that interaction back with Zoom Spots – to an extent anyways. Zoom Spots (see screenshot above), set for release in early 2023, is a video-enabled persistent space that is integrated within the Zoom platform to help foster inclusive discussions and keep colleagues connected.
Sticking with simplifying human interaction, Zoom’s all-in-one communication and collaboration offering, Zoom One, brought together Team Chat, Phone, Whiteboard and Meetings. A capability Zoom added is the integration between Team Chat and In-Meeting Chat. This creates an always-on functionality so users flow between Team Chat and Meetings to reduce silos, keep projects moving and continue conversations after meetings.
If there had to be one frustration with Zoom, it was that users had to leave the Zoom platform to access email and calendar. Toggling back and forth is taxing. But worry no more. The Zoom Mail and Calendar clients integrate popular email and calendar services directly into Zoom. Zoom also rolled out Zoom-hosted email and calendar service options for businesses that may not have dedicated IT services but are focused on privacy and security. Zoom Mail Service is end-to-end encrypted for emails sent directly between active Zoom Mail Service users.
Zoom Mail and Calendar Clients and Zoom Mail and Calendar Services are set to launch in beta.
“Zoom is purpose-built to make all kinds of connections possible, effective and meaningful,” said Yuan, “ultimately, opening the doors wide for creativity and collaboration.”
The enhancements and solutions Zoom brings to the table have refined how teams collaborate in the hybrid workforce. But Zoom hasn’t focused on employees alone. Customers have also been brought into the Zoom equation.
Zoom Virtual Agent, an intelligent conversational AI and chatbot, works around-the-clock on multiple support channels to deliver fast, personalized customer experiences, reduce call volumes to human agents and drive operational efficiencies for businesses. This is accomplished with natural language processing and machine learning.
Zoom Virtual Agent, available in early 2023, will be offered as a standalone chatbot solution or integrated with Zoom Contact Center, its omnichannel CCaaS solution. Speaking of Zoom Contact Center, the company has also added plug-and-play integration for ServiceNow, extending the collaboration between the two brands to continue to prioritize seamless interactions and create more meaningful connections between employees and customers.
“Zoom has rapidly evolved from being a niche meetings company to a broad collaboration platform that delivers unparalleled employee and customer experience and helps organizations address the current and future needs of work,” said Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research.
It’s hard to argue with Kerravala when Zoom launched 1,500 features and enhancements in 2022. The communications platform continues to pave the way hybrid collaboration.
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