Zoom switches from a video calling, meeting app to a UCaaS platform; bolsters business

India is a significant market both within the Asia Pacific region and globally, Raje said.


Mumbai:  Zoom, a collaboration platform, set up its office in India back in 2019. Due to Covid and the popularity of video conferencing, the company experienced rapid expansion. The company is trying to switch from a video, meeting calling software to unified communications as a service (UCaaS) platform as businesses return to the office, either fully or partially. As more individuals return to the workforce and the amount of WFH (work from home) increasingly decreases, it seeks to redefine and reimagine the workplace.

Zoom general manager and head of India & SAARC region Sameer Raje stated during a media briefing at a Zoom Rooms Experience Day that the Zoom India team has significantly expanded since beginning operations in India in 2019.

He stated that India is a significant market both within the Asia Pacific region and globally, but avoided discussing business objectives. "India forms a large part of our business. The idea was to provide video first collaboration for companies when it first launched back in 2011 abroad. It became the go-to choice for enterprises. Now Zoom aims to be a complete UCaaS platform in the country. Our aim is to move beyond being just a meeting app to offering a suite of services. These components have been built onto the platform. We had tremendous growth during the pandemic but that was video meeting growth. Now we are seeing growth from a collaboration platform aspect. People install Zoom and rework their workplace. The growth in India continues but in a different format.”

Raje continued the brief by noting that one of the components of Zoom moving towards being a UCaaS platform is Zoom Phone and the company is working with Indian regulators to bring it to the country. “We have Zoom Meetings and Zoom Webinar. We recently acquired Solvvy, a conversational AI Zoom that has also introduced its own conversational and AI platform.”

The company, which had earlier launched Zoom Contact Centre, is counting on the solvvy acquisition to help them redefine the contact centre category with unified communications. The goal is to accelerate its contact centre roadmap to create a concierge-level experience for customers.

He explains that Zoom also launched a service that allows clients to analyse their meetings. The final component in the move to being a UCaaS platform is Zoom Rooms. It can be used to elevate the customer experience across industries from education to BFSI. “People are thinking of changing the office environment. People do not want to do the same thing in the office that they do at home.”

He mentions features like Workspace Reservation, Virtual Receptionist, Smart Gallery and Zoom Whiteboard and their aim is to empower happy and connected teams to stay productive. “We are reimagining, redesigning the workplace. Integration into the workplace is key. We are bringing in a whole lot of services, features and functionality. You can interact with a remote receptionist or reserve your workplace for instance. With Zoom Rooms Kiosk mode, team members can engage face to face with a virtual receptionist anywhere an in-person receptionist could be - office, hotel, lobby, or other location. Organisations can brand the display and customise the message to match the environment and purpose.”

Remote meeting attendees may find it difficult to see people clearly when other meeting participants are in a Zoom Room. To address this issue, Zoom Rooms Smart Gallery displays multiple video feeds from a single conference room. This allows the Zoom Room cameras to focus more closely on groups of participants and display these people more clearly to remote attendees. Effective collaboration between remote attendees and Zoom Room participants can be enhanced by the face-to-face meeting experience.

Speaking on the challenges, Raje added, “The good part is that Zoom was built for handling areas that have low bandwidth. It also works with old devices. Also if you have built a service or a function for one purpose Indians will use it for 10 other purposes that you have not thought of. It is mind-boggling. Someone did a video shoot on Zoom. It was a photo shoot. We work through these unique challenges. One roadblock in India is language. India has so much geographical diversity it is difficult to cater to. We have just introduced live translation into international languages. Now a part of my job is to convince executives in Zoom to facilitate the same for Indian languages. Whether this will happen or not time will tell. ”

On the security and privacy front, he said that people who work from home often have children. Those children are their own chief information security officers. If children are on a mobile device one never knows what kind of content pops up. Now Zoom being a collaboration platform operates in a closed environment. So education is important be it for children or the end-user. "If it is an enterprise or an organisation they need to watch their back. So Zoom educates users through programmes that run on a regular basis. Zoom creates awareness programmes in conjunction with non-profits and governments. Then Zoom ensures that certain functions are pushed like enforcing password protection."

Zoom also fixes bugs in the system by inviting ethical hackers to find issues. For that, a bounty is paid. This is a Bug Bounty Programme and it runs globally including in India. One challenge is that security parameters differ depending on the industry. So what works for banking will not work for FMCG for instance. He said that Zoom is the only collaboration platform to offer 256bit GCM encryption. “This is state of the art, the best encryption that you can get. This move is a part of our aim to stay ahead.”

When he was asked about the marketing plan of Zoom, he noted that it does online marketing. Then it has a partner ecosystem. It works with Savex and they have multiple partners who take Zoom to their customers. Tata Teleservices is another distribution partner of Zoom. Last year Zoom And Tata Teleservices had announced a tie-up to offer a communications solution to enterprises and individual customers. Then there is a direct sales team that interacts with customers.

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