Zoom held its annual Zoomtopia in person and live this week, and although I did not attend in person, it was great to see what Zoom added to its collaboration platform. Since Zoom became a verb and a household name in the past couple of years, the folks at Zoom have continued to build it up as a mature and growing unified communication as a service (UCaaS) platform.
You can read about my coverage of Zoomtopia 2021 last year here. I want to unpack some of the announcements we saw at Zoomtopia and how these new features continue to “platformize” Zoom.
Zoom Calendar and Zoom Email
If I had to choose the two biggest announcements at Zoomtopia 2022, it would be the addition of Zoom Calendar and Zoom email. Calendar and email are still very relevant and prioritized tools within hybrid and production environments. I couldn’t go a day without my calendar or my email for work. As other forms of communication and planning become more relevant, it is critical to connecting email and calendar efficiently.
Zoom is adding email and calendar to its platform so that Zoom is the all-in-one platform for communication. Zoom is adding mail and calendar client side so that Microsoft 365 for work or school, Google, and Zoom is adding its Mail Service and Calendar Service. I believe this adds a seamless experience to the Zoom app, where users can plan meetings, pull content from emails into meetings, and simplify workflows within the Zoom app. One aspect of Zoom Email that it did not skimp on is security. Zoom says that Zoom Mail service has end-to-end email encryption for enhanced privacy.
Zoom says its works seamlessly with Team Chat, Video, and Whiteboard and that users can copy an email message into Zoom Team Chat or channel to continue collaborating. I believe these client features are practical since most agendas and meeting details are communicated via email. Bringing in the form of communication that is used to communicate what the meeting is about enables more focused and productive meetings.
I think its important to understand that Zoom is not looking to take over Google and Microsoft’s dominant email services. Rather, it is looking to integrate two of the most important productivity services into its platform on the client side and as a service. I believe Zoom Mail is a great opportunity for small and medium businesses (SMBs) that already use or plan on using the Zoom platform. In talking with Oded Gal, Chief Product Officer at Zoom, he said that one differential to email plugins within Zoom is that users don’t need to switch off the Zoom app and go into a browser.
The integration of Zoom Calendar and Zoom email is also a great opportunity to add intelligence to the Zoom calendar-email-communication experience. It allows for a dynamic video meeting experience with email. Gal mentioned that Zoom IQ tracks opportunities and communication with a customer and is integrated into a relevant email.
Another major announcement at Zoomtopia was the announcement of Zoom Spots. Zoom Spots is a virtual co-working space for creating informal virtual interactions with team members and coworkers. Zoom says it is integrated within the Zoom platform to help foster inclusive discussions, keep colleagues connected, and bring the fluid interactions of in-person work to hybrid teams. Zoom Spots has all of the same features as a Zoom call, allowing users to access Zoom apps and games.
I believe this is an excellent feature within the Zoom platform for maintaining and growing a healthy work culture. I think it is important for managers and higher-ups to cultivate good and informal working environments. Creativity, productivity, and efficiency come from healthy work ethics and relationships within teams. This is why walking to the water fountain, and informal trips to a buddy’s desk are healthy within the office. Without these interactions, there is no building of relationship equity with coworkers and within teams.
If Zoom is able to implement Zoom Spots inclusively into the hybrid work environment, I believe it could be a useful place for informal interactions. I think Zoom Spots leans more toward remote interactions and relies on in-office conference solutions to create an in-office Spots experience. I think one clever way Zoom makes it work in the office is that an office call represents a space rather than a person. I will be interested to see how Zoom continues to create an informal work environment with Zoom Spots and maybe even integration of Horizon Workspace like it has with its Whiteboarding.
Continuous collaboration across Zoom One
Zoom is also connecting its workstreams with new integrations between Team Chat and In-Meeting Chat so that participants can interact better within a Zoom Call. This new integration allows participants to refer to In-Meeting Chat and extract meaningful and follow-up information.
I think the addition of Zoom Email and Calendar Client and Service is a huge addition for SMBs. Zoom is listening to its customers and including solutions within its platform that allow its customers to stay within the Zoom platform. Calendar and Email integration should save users time from having to move out of the Zoom platform to interact with email and scheduling.
I also believe that Zoom Spots is a great idea for cultivating work relationships and creating an informal workspace. I am interested to see how Zoom continues to build on Zoom Spots with apps and games and within the office to create an inclusive experience.