Zoomtopia 2019: Zoom’s Secret to Success And Pivot to the UCC Market
by Jim Lundy
This week, Zoomtopia 2019 took place in San Jose, California and while happiness was still the theme, Zoom signaled it wants to compete in the larger UCC market where larger providers have a more established presence.
Zoomtopia 2019 could have also been called the beginning of the video endpoint battles as Poly, DTEN, and new provider Neat vie for connectivity to Zoom Rooms. This blog analyzes what happened at Zoomtopia 2019 and also discusses how Zoom rose to its prominence.
Zoom’s Secret Recipe to Success
It isn’t a secret that Zoom has had success—in fact, it invigorated a tired web and video conferencing market with a fresh new approach. However, it wasn’t just about having a great product—there are lots of great products. So what is Zoom’s secret recipe?
The secret is hard work in every aspect of the business. Zoom out-worked others from the beginning. At first it was about getting providers, such as RingCentral, to bundle and sell Zoom. Later, it was about recruiting experienced sales pros to hire, onboard, and train the young sales team that is now winning deals at record rates. Last but not least, it was about continuous innovation on the product, including building out the Rooms category.
Zoom Enters the UCC War with Zoom Chat & Zoom Phone
The UCC Wars are not for the feint of heart. With Zoom Phone, which has been in the market for most of 2019 and now Zoom Chat, Zoom is not only about video meetings. Unified communications and collaboration is a messy war and product expectations for enterprises are very high. While Zoom Phone is positioned as an add-on for Zoom Meetings, it appears to be just that. Zoom’s competitors, including Avaya, Cisco, Fuze, Microsoft, RingCentral, Unify, and others, offer more compelling UCaaS offerings than Zoom Phone. That said, the appeal of Zoom is that it is easy for users to use. Usability, perceived or otherwise, goes a long way with buyers. Zoom also announced several new features —see our appendix at the bottom for highlights.
Is Zoom Chat Ready for Primetime?
Zoom Chat, on the other hand, is more the future and not about the present. While chat conversations can happen in parallel to meetings, Zoom is still a meeting-centric experience. Our take is that Zoom Chat is more of a beta offering that Zoom is testing with its growing install base. Clearly there will be more from Zoom on Chat next year as more enterprises look to deploy and use it within their enterprise.
Video Endpoint Partners for Zoom Rooms: Surprises and Challenges
Zoom’s main stage keynote with Eric Juan and partners was engaging and surprising. Poly was first on stage and Poly CEO Joe Burton showed off the new Studio X Series. The Studio X Series was a great start for Zoom to be able to offer Zoom Rooms with world class video endpoints. However, the keynote didn’t end there.
The surprise was seeing OJ Winge, CEO of newly formed Neat. Neat is rolling out Video Endpoints for Zoom Rooms and Zoom disclosed that it is an investor in Neat. I’m not sure that Neat needed any investors, since OJ has his own VC firm, having sold both Tandberg and more recently Acano to Cisco for $700 million. Of note, for both Poly and Neat: their endpoints looked very similar to the Cisco Room Kits that are sold along with Webex.
While Zoom now has multiple partners for video room endpoints, investing in one of them makes for an uneven playing field. We think a Partner Certification program is needed for Zoom, so that it doesn’t end up with unhappy partners.
Zoom is here to stay and it is one to watch. It has forced others to update their offerings, which is good for everyone. The bigger UCC market is more complicated and a longer conversation. That said, it was a great Zoomtopia and there will be many more to come.
Appendix: New Features from Zoom at Zoomtopia 2019
- In User Experience: “Find a Room” scheduling displays, whiteboard companion, multiple room controllers, Zoom Room profiles, audio-based speaker tracking, enhanced digital signage. Also native control integrations and device management.
- Zoom phone: expanded regions, added Citrix Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) support, global dial plans, location-based call routing, and e911 support.
- Zoom Meetings: addition of real-time language interpretation, automatic captioning, Meeting notes, action items, timelines, virtual backgrounds, and people count.