A new challenger has entered the UCaaS arena. Everyone’s pandemic WFH hero, Zoom, is launching a major expansion that includes email and calendar apps in an effort to turn the platform into a one-stop shop for your hybrid office’s workflow.
With a rebrand that includes a new logo font and color scheme, Zoom announced on Sept 12 that it is renaming its internal communications platform from Zoom Chat to Zoom Team Chat.
Along with the renaming, senior execs announced that new features are on the way and will be announced later this year, some potentially as soon as the Zoomtopia conference on November 8-9. These new features include the aforementioned email and calendar apps, as well as third-party integrations with platforms like ServiceNow and a browser version of Zoom Team Chat for use when the app is unable to be installed, and more.
This appears to be Zoom’s attempt to directly compete with giants Google and Microsoft, who have each expanded their own offerings over the past two years to keep their heads above water in the remote workplace arena.
In August, Microsoft and enterprise communications software provider Bandwidth announced Duet, a partnership that brings e911 and Direct Routing calls to MS Teams. On Wednesday, three days after the Zoom rebrand announcement, Bandwidth revealed that Duet now has integrated SMS and MMS support as well via an app called “Send-To.” Meanwhile, Zoom Phone has been on the market since 2019, a full year before the global COVID-19 pandemic ushered in the “Zoom revolution.”
For what it’s worth, in a breakdown comparison between the two platforms published early this week, Forbes gave a heavy vote in favor of Zoom as the superior platform over Microsoft Teams due to “exceptional online video conference quality, robust business features, extensive integrations” and user-friendliness. The only concessions made in favor of Microsoft Teams were its low cost, and that it comes bundled with Office 365.
That being said, adding email and calendar apps is a smart move by honing in on cross-platform contamination from Google, which seems their more formidable opponent. Given how Google Meet has become so tightly integrated with the other apps in the Google Workspace catalog, like the huge “Add Google Meet Video Conferencing” button when adding a new event to your Google Calendar, this might be the key to a total Zoom eclipse of the Google sun.
Still, the question remains whether companies will find it worth their while to shift from existing software to Zoom’s all-in-one offering. Zoom already offers the ability to send messages between Zoom Team Chat and other popular internal communications platforms via the Mio app, and Slack offers fairly seamless Zoom integration already.
There may be more in the pipeline to sweeten the deal, but we will have to wait until November’s Zoomtopia announcements to be sure.