The News: Over the past several days, Zoom has made multiple announcements to add features and capabilities to its platform. On Monday, the company announced Immersive View, which allows hosts to arrange video participants and webinar panelists into a single virtual background, bringing people together into one scene to connect and collaborate in a cohesive virtual meeting space.
This morning, Zoom announced an additional new feature available on Zoom Rooms appliances, integrating with Alexa for Business. This new offering enables customers to set up Alexa for Business with just a few clicks. Once enabled, Zoom Rooms’ users can ask Alexa to join meetings and book rooms without having to purchase additional Alexa-enabled devices. Read the full news stories in Zoom’s press room.
Analyst Take: Zoom continues to focus on making enhancements to the platform that will drive more significant innovation and adoption beyond the 2020 pandemic, which served as a catalyst that saw its numbers and valuation grow exponentially.
Zoom has proved quickly that it is a formidable competitor in the collaboration space, with its ease of use making Zoom a popular choice among IT and line of business looking for scalable collaboration. One of Zoom’s criticisms has been the limitations of the platform versus Microsoft Teams, which has become more extensible within the M365 ecosystem.
These most recent updates to make the solution more immersive and add integration with Alexa both serve as important capabilities to meet the increased expectations of customers for collaboration providers to solve further simplification of use and help deal with what has been coined as “Zoom Fatigue.” Such fatigue btw isn’t limited only to Zoom, but to the number of virtual and video meetings, so many of us are enduring due to the pandemic.
Zoom Immersive View is Here
This new offering lines up with what Microsoft rolled out in terms of the immersive view, called Microsoft Teams Together Mode. Some people are speculating it is a copy of the feature that came from Microsoft, and there are undoubtedly similar elements. Zoom has been talking about this feature since Zoomtopia 2020 but only made it GA this week. In short, this view is designed to improve the collaboration and reduce some of the fatigue that users experience, making meetings feel more immersive–hence the name. The new feature is not a blowout innovation by any means but a nice improvement for Zoom’s user base.
Alexa and Zoom for Easier Zoom Rooms
The Zoom integration announcement with Alexa comes when we are just starting to return to the office, and the focal point of this update is Zoom Rooms. There is equipment that is integrated in these spaces, which goes beyond just the app running on your laptop or mobile device. Historically, several remotes or a control system by a company like Crestron could manage the screen, lights, projector, audio, etc. Over the past few years, device makers, such as Poly, have built integrated panels that make Zoom Room control more simple. With the Alexa integration, it becomes even more straightforward:
Using natural language processing, users can speak to their Alexa and use simple commands to book rooms, launch meetings, connect to wifi, and more. I see this as more representative of how we will want to use meeting spaces when returning to the office. This shift, having less to do with the pandemic and more with the proliferation of AI.
Zoom is continuing to innovate, and these latest updates are favorable for its user base. Simplifying the platform is what made Zoom gain momentum in its early days, and through the pandemic, expanding the platform will help it reach its next level of growth.
Futurum Research provides industry research and analysis. These columns are for educational purposes only and should not be considered in any way investment advice.
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The original version of this article was first published on Futurum Research.
Daniel Newman is the Principal Analyst of Futurum Research and the CEO of Broadsuite Media Group. Living his life at the intersection of people and technology, Daniel works with the world’s largest technology brands exploring Digital Transformation and how it is influencing the enterprise. From Big Data to IoT to Cloud Computing, Newman makes the connections between business, people and tech that are required for companies to benefit most from their technology projects, which leads to his ideas regularly being cited in CIO.Com, CIO Review and hundreds of other sites across the world. A 5x Best Selling Author including his most recent “Building Dragons: Digital Transformation in the Experience Economy,” Daniel is also a Forbes, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post Contributor. MBA and Graduate Adjunct Professor, Daniel Newman is a Chicago Native and his speaking takes him around the world each year as he shares his vision of the role technology will play in our future.