How Zoom’s new features will impact its positioning in the video conferencing landscape

Zoom is doubling down on addressing the need for workplace safety tools

Summary List Placement

Zoom held its annual Zoomtopia conference this week. It’s difficult to overstate how much has changed for the video conferencing provider since last year’s event: As of Zoom’s fiscal Q2 2021 (ended July 31, 2020), revenues jumped 355% year over year (YoY) and its base of customers with over 10 employees surged 458% YoY.

At the same time, Zoom faces more competition in the video conferencing space than ever before. Microsoft and Google have attempted to capitalize on the pandemic-induced surge in demand for video conferencing by further integrating their services within their market-dominant enterprise productivity suites. The tech giants have also seemingly allocated more internal resources to video conferencing, which has enabled them to quickly match any proprietary features offered by competitors. Zoom’s gallery view, for instance, almost certainly inspired Microsoft’s grid view and Google’s tiled view.

Here’s how we think the features announced by Zoom this week will fair:

Zoom is rolling out end-to-end encryption (E2EE), which will appeal to more privacy-minded users but could also provoke regulatory scrutiny. With E2EE, only message senders and receivers can access the transmitted data. Zoom said E2EE will be generally available in technical preview next week, and that account administrators can decide whether to use the feature. Many of the world’s most powerful governments oppose E2EE because it interferes with law enforcement operations (or, to take a more cynical view, mass surveillance). Just this past weekend, an alliance of intelligence agencies from Australia, Canada, India, Japan, New Zealand, the UK, and the US called for tech companies to stop using E2EE because they claimed it “pose[s] significant challenges to public safety.” And Zoom has already been caught in geopolitical crosshairs of the US, China, and India. The E2EE features could actually help Zoom deflect some of this scrutiny, since it wouldn’t be in a position to respond to government requests for access to users’ video conferencing data. 
Zoom is taking a page out of Microsoft’s playbook with “immersive scenes,” which aims to boost engagement on video calls. Immersive scenes allow meeting hosts to place participants in cohesive virtual settings, such as a classroom or courtroom. This mirrors the functionality Microsoft offers through its Together Mode, which was launched in July 2020. The concept is intended to help reduce video conferencing fatigue by creating a more immersive experience. People have a harder time concentrating on virtual meetings compared with those conducted in-person, and attention falls precipitously around a video call’s 25-minute mark, according to Protocol. With a more immersive video conferencing experience, Zoom and Microsoft can appeal to those worried about remote work productivity: 31% of US executives and 29% of US employees believed company productivity had decreased since transitioning to remote work, according to a …read more

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Source:: Businessinsider – Tech


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