Zoom has been a staple in my company, Comunicano, the past few years along with UberConference as part of our collaboration tools. We switched to Zoom from GoToMeeting just before Citrix sold off our former client to the LogMeIn because the quality just couldn't be beat. With their announcement yesterday, Zoom brings what they announced last fall at their annual users conference, Zoomtopia to life, and in turn is setting a new bar in what I am coining as unified collaboration.
I'm most intrigued by the deployment of green screen feature. This is something I've long thought was needed in video conferencing and calling as it adds a professional TV studio function to business communications.
The more significant piece of news and likely overlooked is their rolling out of 50 person business communications services that includes calls to the PSTN. For those of us who have been using collaboration tools for more than a few years, we have seen the migration from the spontaneous, at any time, and often missed or interrupting phone call to more planned, scheduled calls.
These days in business, over 85 percent of my calls during the week are on a conference bridge, and even calls that I make while driving tend to involve a planned call on a conference bridge vs. a direct call. The reasons vary, but one holds true-no voice mail tag as people tend to jump on the bridge very close to the scheduled time.
Our progression these days is usually text or email, calendar item and then a conference call. In the past the process was face to face introduction, follow up call (possibly with a few people on a speakerphone), another face to face meeting. The latter because a conference call and then a face to face meeting, followed by back and forth calls to iron out details.
What Zoom is doing is bringing adding in the missing link of the connection with the other party. That being the ability to make one on one calls part of the way business people communicate. By integrating PSTN calling with collaboration they are adding unified communications to their collaboration suite, not the other way around. In essence, they have created Unified Collaboration by bringing calling (and likely texting) to their feature set.
In a world of so much "me too and me also" in communications, it's nice to see a company doing what I have called "me different" the right way.