Evolving perception of remote and hybrid work is driving video-app maker Zoom to expand into new territories
“Our remote-working infrastructure and videoconferencing capabilities are firmly grounded and have been for some time,” said David Vidoni, vice president of IT at Pegasystems, a Cambridge, Mass.-based software company. Inc.
“It is now a matter of smartly integrating those tools with all of our other digital transformation initiatives that are moving across the business,” Mr. Vidoni said.
This could spell trouble for Zoom Video Communications Inc.,
With its flagship videoconferencing tool emerging as the go-to app for companies racing to keep workers engaged, its sales are skyrocketing. The San Jose, California-based startup says its online traffic hit a peak of nearly 300 million daily participants in April 2020, up from 10 million in December 2019.
“Zooms were in the right place at the right time,” said Wayne Kurtzman, research director for social and collaboration software at research firm International Data Corp. “They were easy to use, deploy and purchase, even for the enterprise.”
Since then, analysts say, many large tech providers have added new features and functionality to their videoconferencing platforms, including Microsoft. Corporation
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Google, which often includes an entire suite of core business apps.
Additional pressure is being put on Zoom to innovate quickly and keep up with market challengers, said Laura Petrone, principal analyst at research firm GlobalData PLC. “The pandemic has made this competition even more difficult,” Ms Petrone said.
For Zoom, it won’t be easy to wean commercial customers away from stalwart enterprise IT vendors, she said.
Matt Carey, CIO at Home Depot Inc.,
Said that the company uses both Microsoft Teams and Cisco Systems Inc. NS
WebEx videoconferencing tool for internal and external meetings. He has no plans to swap out these apps anytime soon: “We continue to rely on these platforms in our day to day,” Mr. Carey said. For now, most of the company’s technical teams, among other business groups, continue to work remotely, he said.
The company’s deputy CIO Gary Sorrentino said Zoom has released hundreds of new features and upgrades to its videoconferencing app over the past year. These include a digital whiteboard that can be used before, during and after an online meeting, and real-time automatic translation, among other tools.
He said it has also expanded into new areas, such as a service aimed at helping businesses manage physical office space, including an app that has an interactive map for reserving a desk or conference room. .
Mr. Sorrentino said the challenge for CIOs today is to deploy technology that supports an entirely new work model that did not exist before the pandemic, or even immediately before the initial remote-work phase. Even the latter, such as hybrid strategies: “Single apps can no longer keep up with the flexibility and agility to adapt as employees grow,” he said.
Doing all this requires a more flexible, attractive and comprehensive set of software tools, “rather than offering a stealth one,” Mr. Sorrentino said.
IDC estimates that the global market for collaboration apps will exceed $50 billion by 2025, almost double the 2020 level. But the pace of growth will begin to slow in the coming years, IDC’s Mr Kurtzman said.
Last month, Zoom reported sales of $1.05 billion for the three months ended October 31, up 35% from a year ago, but down from 54% growth in the previous quarter. A year ago, sales had increased by more than 360% – a sign that many companies were caught flat-footed by the pandemic and looked to Zoom as a quick and easy solution.
Christopher Truman, principal analyst covering employee experience, content and communications technology at tech research firm Gartner Inc.,
Said that most companies now have multiple virtual meeting apps for different purposes. Truman said, “A company can use Microsoft Teams to meet all of its internal collaboration and needs, with a specialized service like Zoom for more formal, outward-facing meetings and On24 for large webcasts. “
But, he said, larger software firms have the advantage of offering their meeting and collaboration tools as part of a far-reaching business-app package, enabling them to “get a foot in the door” with companies that are single-minded. Use run to install applications.
Angus Loten at [email protected]