In conversation with Reshmi AR, Anand Bala, Commercial and SMB Sales Leader, India & SAARC, Zoom Video Communications, Inc., talks about the many unique ways people were able to leverage Zoom to continue to drive progress across all industries and geographies.
1. Zoom has brought in a lot of flexibility for workers. Did you expect such a humongous response from users?
Zoom has evolved from a meeting app into an integrated and robust collaboration platform, creating an ecosystem where employees can seamlessly move between communications methods such as phone, video, and chat; send files; share content; and schedule meetings without having to use different applications or platforms. We introduced Zoom One, the new intuitive experience that simplifies the management of our core products, that brings together meetings, chat, whiteboard, phone, and more into a single, secure and scalable offering. These products are purpose-built and Zoom One’s simple pricing minimises the need for add-ons, making it easy to support business needs. We are seeing bigger platform plays for larger enterprises, and in parallel, supporting SMEs with their go-to market strategies. Zoom is focused on giving organisations, their employees and customers a platform that works best for them, their lives and their business processes.
Work is no longer a physical location in this era of flexibility. For organisations, establishing a hybrid, inclusive workspace providing a consistent experience for both in-office and remote workers will be critical to a successful future of work model. Zoom’s collaboration platform enables the ‘work-from-anywhere’ workforce. Consumers are now expecting a seamless, connected experience across both physical and virtual channels, be it for business, education, healthcare, event/entertainment, retail and Banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI). Zoom has helped many organisations reimagine the customer journey for their end-users.
2. How much was the usage when people were restricted to their homes?
Zoom as a collaboration platform has helped businesses to keep moving forward through an unprecedented moment in history. We continue to roll out new features and products to help workplaces adjust and excel in the new era of ‘work-from-anywhere’ led by flexibility and freedom of choice. We are proud of the many unique ways people have been able to leverage Zoom to continue to drive progress across all industries and geographies - 86% of the Fortune 100 and 71% of the Fortune 500 use our platform to reimagine their customer and employee experience.
In terms of engaging and communicating with stakeholders like customers and employees, we believe platforms like Zoom have been a game changer. Zoom helps its customers with fit-for-purpose solutions like software development toolkits (SDKs) or application programming interfaces (APIs) that provide the flexibility to customise and integrate specific features into existing offerings and workflows, thereby elevating customer experience. Organisations must continue to make flexible work arrangements a permanent aspect in the future of work - or risk losing good talent. Flexible collaboration solutions help foster productivity and efficiency between increasingly hybrid and dispersed teams. A platform-first approach that consolidates business communications across employees, customers, and partners also increases convenience and ease-of-use for customers who can now enjoy a seamless, end-to-end customer journey all within one interface.
3. Workforce apart, there were also fitness lessons conducted on Zoom. Health sector also saw a huge boom during the past two years.
Telehealth has altered the competitive environment for private healthcare, allowing providers to give a larger group of patients access to high-quality, cost-effective and convenient care delivery. Virtual consultations have become an essential alternative for patients seeking remote care, spurring a permanent transition to a hybrid form of healthcare.
Zoom is being utilized across the continuum of care from virtual consultations to patient care, and enabling the hybrid workforce in healthcare organizations to stay connected and agile and used as an important tool for medical education to healthcare professionals and patients. In India, Shyft - a global wellness platform was able to replicate the near-physical experience through an online medium and has made its presence felt in almost every corner of India. StepOne, a non-profit startup of technology and healthcare professionals on a mission to augment government resources with technology, people and processes to effectively fight against Covid, has been using Zoom platform to train an extensive network of 12000+ doctors, 15000+ medics/paramedics, and 5000+ non-medical volunteers on the clinical treatment protocol for doctors and triaging protocol for medics and non-medical volunteers.
4. How is Zoom aiding SMBs to embrace flexibility?
Zoom is a trusted platform and a recognized global brand with a large loyal customer base. Zoom’s communications platform enables the ‘work-from-anywhere’ workforce by offering a seamless, connected experience across both physical and virtual channels, be it for business, education, healthcare, event/ entertainment, retail and BFSI.
Across organisations, employees, customers and their end-users, today’s workforce is entering an era of flexibility with work no longer being restricted to a physical location. Our platform helps in enhancing customer service, improving collaboration, and supporting growing remote or hybrid teams, all on a single platform. SMEs face challenges that are unique to their business operations and Zoom helps them to reimagine the customer journey with our fit-for-purpose and cost-efficient solutions, drive business growth, and expand to new markets. As flexible work models continue to gain acceptance, Zoom simplifies how small-business teams manage their time, enhance productivity, and scale the company.
5. How are collaboration solutions benefitting such enterprises?
Collaboration solutions serve as an establishment for empowering today’s digital workforce to be more productive wherever they are, adding immense value to businesses of all sizes. Implementing aspects of virtual collaboration provides a unique opportunity to cut costs, save time, and still bring workers face-to-face. We believe that virtual collaboration is a gamechanger in terms of engaging and communicating with key stakeholders like customers and employees. Collaboration tools help in enhancing employee experience by offering many benefits including maintaining cohesion, increasing productivity, inspiring creativity, and enabling the workforce to learn new tools, helping them to gain new skills along the way. For customers, these tools help in going beyond a transactional relationship, empower them to choose their preferred communication channels and offer a customised interaction to make them feel valued. With our robust fit-for-purpose solutions like software development toolkits (SDKs) or application programming interfaces (APIs), Zoom also offers its customers the flexibility to build applications on and with Zoom.
6. Have you added any latest features to enhance user experience?
Zoom is continuously innovating to develop new products, features, and partnerships designed to help people stay connected, enhance productivity, and create engaging experiences. Just in the past year, we have built and launched more than 1,500 features and enhancements on the platform. We recently unveiled Zoom One, a single offering that brings together team chat, phone, whiteboard, meetings, and more into a single, secure and scalable package to provide teams with multiple ways to connect and collaborate. In October, we introduced Zoom Events for our customers in India. Zoom Events is an all-in-one solution for virtual events, built on Zoom’s reliable video technology. It allows you to create, market, and report on your virtual Zoom Events and can support up to 50,000 people (includes hosts, co-hosts, panelists, and attendees). Some of our other products and updates include Zoom Virtual Agent, Zoom IQ for Sales, Zoom Avatars, out-of-the-box Meeting Templates, Threaded messages and reactions in in-meeting chat, Q&A in meetings, Zoom Whiteboard, Gesture Recognition, Live Captions, among many more.
7. Can you discuss innovative use cases of SMBs and how they leveraged Zoom to grow their businesses?
Olive Living, a next-gen living community in India, found the perfect solution with Zoom Rooms Virtual Receptionist which is being leveraged at some of their properties to greet guests upon arrival, provide seamless check-in, and receive feedback on their virtual receptionist experience. Zoom helped Shyft scale 10x by encouraging global users to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Shyft was empowered to create a more intuitive and reliable video experience on its platform while expanding to new markets with Zoom. Cypeer brings cybersecurity peers around the world to meet, share, learn, and make connections. The company is rolling out their platform with the integration of Zoom Meetings SDK to enable seamless collaboration while bringing together people for live interactions. Skylark Drones has recently integrated Zoom Video SDK with their Drone Software Platform - Drone Mission Ops, bringing forth a new level of connectivity between the skies and the screen. With this revolutionary technology, users can now experience the thrill of accessing live drone feeds in real-time and communicating directly to the drone operator, from any location. Their Drone Software platform has a wide application across industries including the government sector, real estate, mining and asset inspection.
8. There's a noticeable trend in virtual set up—be it workspace, gym or even talk shows. Do you think the trend is here to stay?
Consumers have higher expectations than ever before for customer support. They want faster, more efficient help, and they want it 24/7. But that’s just the beginning, from their desire for more personalized experiences to channels and technology, all of which are shaping customer experience (CX) trends across different industries. A new survey from Morning Consultcommissioned by Zoom reveals that consumers are using, and want to be using, emerging methods of support, especially video. Nearly a quarter of people have used live video support, and one in three would consider using video (31%) in the future. At least half of consumers would consider using live video for help with an issue or problem (54%), or requesting a refund (50%). The survey further highlights that younger audiences, ages ranging from 18-29, are more interested in using video for support than other age groups.
Technology investments that seek to incorporate existing digital solutions can support organisations in their business goals, such as improving customer experience or increasing productivity within teams while keeping costs low. With factors like recessionary pressures, intensifying cyber threats, and supply chain dynamics setting in, it is more important than ever before that companies’ digital innovation efforts lend into tangible benefits for its bottomline.
In addition, we believe that the 2023 workspace will continue to be disrupted as employees and employers alike actualise the ‘work-from-anywhere’ model. While employees still find their time mostly split between the office and home in the past few years, we expect true flexible work to become increasingly popular as employees collaborate and work in the office, at home, on-the-go, and anywhere in between.
From working in malls or virtual coworking spaces, to using avatars in replacement of human faces, the possibilities of collaboration and connection in the workspace are endless, especially when advanced technologies like augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) come into play. This will soon become reality as organisations continue to make flexible work arrangements a permanent aspect in the future of work, and technology providers ramp up innovations that help employees stay connected while on the go.
9. What next for Zoom?
India is an important market for Zoom as demonstrated by Zoom’s continued commitment to the country. Zoom has evolved into a comprehensive collaboration platform that is not just for use in a traditional office setting. It is creating new possibilities across industries like banking and finance, retail, and manufacturing among others and we are witnessing innovative use cases from companies of all sizes. Even in industries such as manufacturing and healthcare, collaboration solutions are simplifying processes and improving inclusivity by helping their workers collaborate and stay connected across geographies and functions. They enable workers to tap into the collective knowledge of the enterprise, solve problems with experts remotely and also show practical applications of their ideas to increase productivity through two-way interactions.
With customer experience taking the center stage now more than ever, Zoom is committed to helping businesses deliver the platinum standard for every experience across the customer journey. Backed by the government’s digital push, SMEs are seeing a steady growth in the country and Zoom as a collaboration platform aims to help them in expanding their operations and customer base. We are also collaborating with startups and developers to integrate Zoom’s platform into their applications. By opening up our developer platform to offer new and robust ways for startups, we are enabling developers and digital natives to collaborate and innovate.
Additionally, we are scaling up our partner ecosystem, collaborating with partners such as Tata Tele Services and Savex Technologies. These partners are helping us to provide our world-class communications platform services to businesses of all sizes enabling them to collaborate effectively not only within their teams but also with their partners in India and globally.
Also Read: Meet Zoom Sessions: The New Way To Upgrade Your Single-Session Virtual Events