New cash means new opportunities
There’s no denying the incredible growth of Zoom in the last year.
The company has accomplished some phenomenal things in a time when other brands were struggling through the complications of quarantines and lockdowns. In an age where physical interactions aren’t always possible, Zoom promises a way for people to continue connecting face-to-face.
Though there are many other video conferencing tools out there, Zoom caught the hearts and minds of the pandemic community with its ease of use, a vast collection of fun features, and flexibility. The video conferencing platform became the breakout service of 2020, earning around 355% growth from the growing need to work remotely.
However, despite all this evolution, Zoom isn’t done growing.
Recently, the company raised $2bn in funding during a short round of investment. So, where is this new money going to go?
The primary assumption right now is that at least a portion of Zoom’s new funds will go towards strategic acquisitions. When filing details of the funding round with the SEC, Zoom noted that it may use a portion of the capital for Merger and Acquisition opportunities.
The filing said that a “portion of the net proceeds” may go towards complementary technologies, services, and products. However, Zoom hasn’t dropped any hints on what it might be buying yet. Unfortunately, the historical information we have on Zoom makes it difficult to make any significant predictions. The most recent purchase of Keybase for security support has been the only major purchase from the video conferencing brand.
So, if Zoom does decide to go on a spending spree, where will it be focusing its efforts? Following the Zoombombing fiasco of 2020, the company might decide to invest even more cash into security, so it can further reassure enterprise customers that may be concerned about breach issues.
Alternatively, to further compete against market leaders like Microsoft Teams, Zoom may decide that it’s time to spend some extra cash on innovation within the meeting space. Perhaps we’ll see a future where Zoom has its own investments in VR and AR technology, like Microsoft with its HoloLens technology. Or perhaps Zoom will invest more aggressively into WebRTC solutions, so people can communicate in-browser without an app.
Zoom is already a feature-rich and immersive solution for video communications. However, it could still take steps to differentiate itself even further in the UCaaS landscape. One option might be to invest more money into building the extra components of Zoom that go alongside video meetings. Zoom Chat and Zoom Phone are two major components of what the company can offer. Yet, for some reason, many people don’t know much about what Zoom Chat can do.
Zoom could further strengthen its security, privacy, and compliance offerings by investing in new tools that allow for things like secure recordings that suit the latest regulations for video and audio meetings. This would help Zoom to appeal to a wider range of customers that have more complex demands about how and where they store information.
Further investment into AI and virtual assistants could be an option too. Google has connections to Google Home, while Microsoft has Cortana. Zoom being able to implement its own artificial intelligence assistant into the mix could make life a lot easier for business users in the years to come.
Perhaps, since Zoom already leverages the AWS cloud, Zoom could continue to build on the connections it has with Amazon Alexa. Zoom for home is already supported via the Amazon Echo Show Smart display.
Alternatively, we could see Zoom investing more in things like 4K Video as standard to build on its existing innovations in delivering crisp and clear video experiences, complete with noise cancellation for your microphone, virtual backgrounds, and even Zoom Immersive Scenes. The functionality of Immersive scenes, like Together mode from Microsoft, could be the first step towards more impressive VR and AR meetings through Zoom too.
Despite a range of fantastic features that go beyond video conferencing, Zoom is still best-known mainly for its video offerings. As the trend for anywhere work continues, it seems that Zoom is searching for new ways to demonstrate its potential as a full UCaaS platform.
Already in 2021, we’ve heard whispers that Zoom could be thinking about adding further services into its already-comprehensive platform. Some experts say that the company is planning on delivering email and calendar clients to individuals and businesses in the months to come. This would be an excellent step forward for Zoom if it does plan on competing fully with companies like Microsoft.
Already, Microsoft Teams, Google, and various other providers can offer immersive productivity and calendar functionality that makes them more appealing to the modern market. The ability to access everything from email to productivity tools and video chat in the same place supports the single-pane-of-glass strategy that today’s businesses need.
As companies and their teams become increasingly dispersed, an all-in-one environment can help to keep employees on the same page. More importantly, it offers an end-to-end view of processes and customer journeys, so business leaders can make better decisions about how to boost productivity.
Zoom may not be content with simply offering the same features as its rivals, however. Experts already say that Zoom will be looking to redesign the email and calendar experience if it takes this route. The plan may be to add on further solutions that other market leaders haven’t considered before.
Right now, all I can do is speculate on the future of Zoom.
I’ve been following the company’s progress with great interest over the last couple of years and based on the innovation we’ve seen; there’s no doubt something special is coming. For now, we’ll have to just wait and see what’s next on the roadmap.
Zoom could use its current momentum to change the way we work even further…