At its fifth annual Zoomtopia conference, Zoom announced a wide range of innovations and upcoming products for Q4 2021 and 2022. Of note were feature improvements for inclusivity, workspaces for hybrid teams, and virtual whiteboarding within Zoom’s core videoconferencing platform; expansions for Zoom Phone and Zoom Events; and the introduction of Zoom’s Video Engagement Center.
Zoom CEO Eric Yuan kicked off Zoomtopia’s keynote with an emphasis on enabling the post-pandemic workforce, which is decidedly following a flexible hybrid model. One important factor in enabling hybrid workforces is inclusivity, ensuring that the playing field for meeting experiences is leveled. To this end, Zoom announced the following feature updates:
Other key upgrades to Zoom Meetings include the following:
On the back of Zoom Meetings’ popularity, Zoom Phone has fast become a leader in the UCaaS marketspace. With Zoom Phone now available in 47 countries and territories and surpassing 2 million paid seats, Zoom is providing several expansions to enhance the offering:
Source: SoftwareReviews’ Zoom Phone Scorecard. Accessed September 20, 2021.
Zoom Events is seeing the launch of its Conference solution, generally available this fall – indeed, this year’s Zoomtopia was hosted on Conference. When building a Conference in Zoom Events, organizations can host multi-track and multi-day events, including branded emails, recordings, and analytics. Conference hosts will also have access to a virtual backstage green room for Q&A, chat monitoring, or mingling before going live. Other important features include:
Finally, Zoom will launch its new Video Engagement Center in early 2022. This is a video solution that aims to extend contact center capabilities to use video for enhancing customer experiences. The Video Engagement Center will offer video-optimized workflows, enabling customers to visually engage with customer service agents. For instance, banking customers may find it beneficial to video chat with an agent, as the agent can share their screen and troubleshoot issues with the benefit of visual aid.
Zoom has seen its stock price be rather volatile of late, as investors question whether the Zoom hype will fade post-pandemic. This year’s Zoomtopia was a strong response to alleviate those concerns. Zoom, as with other major UC&C vendors like Cisco, have bet on the future of the workplace being a flexible hybrid model, and plenty of new products and features announced at Zoomtopia were grounded on this assumption. Oculus Horizons Workrooms was the most brazen example of this: the idea that meetings of the future will be hosted in virtual reality, bringing distanced attendees together into a virtual meeting room.
Perhaps the most interesting announcement, though, was Zoom’s Video Engagement Center. The UC&C market is trending toward merging with contact center and customer experience functionalities, with organizations preferring to have their solutions unified into one platform. Zoom is betting that video – as a channel for customer engagement – will be important alongside voice, email, and other channels. Once coupled with the Five9 platform (after its acquisition by Zoom is finalized), this promises to be a dominating product across the UCaaS, team collaboration, CCaaS, and customer experience marketspaces.
Of course, video will not always be the right channel to invest in for all organizations. Interestingly, Five9’s CX Summit (held a week before Zoomtopia) centered on voice still being customers’ channel of choice, and the company has sought to invest predominantly in voice technologies over the next year. Organizations considering multi- or omnichannel capabilities should ensure the channels they offer resonate with their customer target audience, lest those organizations risk losing ROI on underutilized channels. Use Info-Tech’s Build a Strong Technology Foundation for Customer Experience Management for guidance on selecting the right kind of customer experience framework for your organization.
Source: SoftwareReviews’ UCaaS Data Quadrant. Accessed September 20, 2021.
On May 24-25, Informatica held its annual conference in Las Vegas – the first time “in-person” since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Custom application development is a strategic differentiator in the digital economy. Organizations need to make good decisions on how to insource or outsource that development or they risk bad software … and worse results.
This note highlights the top three trends to watch for in the 2022 UCaaS marketspace: AR/VR digital workspaces will see sustained investment; UCaaS and customer experience management technologies will continue to blend; and speech functionality will become more sophisticated through AI-driven technology.
Enterprise Connect is North America’s premier conference for advances in communications, collaboration, and customer experience technologies. In this note, Thomas Randall provides his trends and keynote highlights for Enterprise Connect 2021, held September 27 to 29.
On October 6, 2021, Front briefed Info-Tech on their latest product functionality and roadmap, alongside their growth in the EMEA region. Front – a unified customer experience platform provider – offers a centralized communications hub that enables the fluid interchange of information for both internal and external communications.
On October 8, 2021, BlueJeans by Verizon announced their “Next-Generation BlueJeans” suite and partnership with Google Glass. The Next-Generation suite ties BlueJeans Meetings to two new products: BlueJeans Spaces and BlueJeans Collab Board.
Vijay Sundaram, Chief Strategy Officer at Zoho, describes a major release of new apps and services focused on enabling hybrid work.
Automation is not a silver bullet solution to your workforce productivity challenges. Optimization and automation (optimation) must be used together to remove root cause inefficiencies and best use the features and capabilities of your automation solutions.
Five9’s CX Summit for 2021 hosted events and interactive sessions that explored best practices for using Five9 as well as an outline of Five9’s roadmap for the coming year. Of special focus was Five9’s projected investments in voice technologies for the contact center.