Zoom Video Communications

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Zoom Video Communications, Inc.
Privately held
Founded San Jose, California, U.S.
(2011)[1]
Headquarters San Jose, California, U.S.[1]
Area served
Worldwide
Key people
Eric S. Yuan
(CEO, Board member)
Products Zoom Cloud Meetings
Zoom Cloud Room Connector (CRC)
ZoomPresence
Zoom Meeting Connector
Number of employees
~70 (July 2014)
Website zoom.us

Zoom Video Communications (known simply as “Zoom”) is a U.S.-based company operating from San Jose, California that provides cloud-based video communications. Offering both cloud meeting and webinar software, Zoom is most known for Zoom Cloud Meetings, also referred to as "Zoom" by users, which combines video conferencing, online meetings, and mobile collaboration into one platform.[2]

History

Zoom was founded in 2011 by engineers from the development teams of Cisco and its collaboration business unit, WebEx.[2] The founder of Zoom, Eric S. Yuan, graduated from the Stanford University Executive Program and was previously Vice President of engineering at Cisco where he was responsible for collaboration software development. David Berman, the current standing President of Zoom,[3] previously held the same position atop of Worldwide Sales and Services at WebEx Communications.[4] The official launch of Zoom was in January 2013 and, as of May 2013, it had reached 1 million users.[5] During the first year of its release, Zoom has established partnerships with B2B collaboration software providers. Its partnership with Redbooth (which, at the time, was known as Teambox) played a role in adding a video component to its platform.[6] Shortly after this partnership, Zoom created a program named "Works with Zoom", which established partnerships with multiple hardware and software vendors such as Logitech, Vaddio,[7] and InFocus.[8][9][10] Towards the end of the year, Zoom managed to have its software integrated into InterviewStream, a company that provides remote video interviewing capacity to employers.[11]

On December 11, 2013, Centrify Corporation partnered with Zoom to integrate Active Directory, access control, and single sign-on (SSO) compatibility with Zoom's application to its own customers. The partnership was known as the Centrify Alliance Partner Program.[12] By March 17, 2014, Zoom added the capability for its users to join meetings by dialing into a toll-free PSTN number via its partnership with Voxbone.[13] The release of version 3.5 later in the year added mobile screen sharing to mobile platforms running iOS.[14]

In June 2014, Zoom's user base has grown to 10 million.[15] As of February 2015, the user base utilizing Zoom Video Communication's chief product — Zoom Cloud Meetings — has reached 40 million individuals, with 65,000 organizations subscribed. In addition to this, the company has surpassed 1 billion total meeting minutes across its entire service lifespan.[16]

On February 4, 2015, Zoom Video Communications has received $30 million in Series C funding. Participants in this funding round include Emergence Capital, Horizons Ventures (Li Ka-shing), Qualcomm Ventures, Jerry Yang, and Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong.[17] In the same year, on the 15th of September, Zoom partnered with Salesforce[18] to integrate video conferencing into the CRM platform, allowing salespeople to initiate such conferences with their leads without leaving the application. Shortly after this integration happened, on 3 November, David Berman — former president of RingCentral — has been named president of Zoom Video Communications. Peter Gassner — the founder and CEO of Veeva Systems — joined Zoom's board of directors on the same day.[19]

Products

Current Zoom products include:

  • Zoom Cloud Meetings — A collaborative cloud-based video conferencing product.[20]
  • Zoom Cloud Room Connector (CRC) - Allows users to connect their H.323/SIP room systems to the cloud to communicate with desktop, tablet and mobile devices running Zoom software[21]
  • Zoom Meeting Connector — An extension of cloud infrastructure that allows for video, voice, and content sharing hosted on a customer’s on-site private cloud.[2]
  • Zoom Rooms — A low-cost telepresence interface running on Apple products such as the Mac Mini and iPad.[22]
  • Zoom Video Webinar — A version of Zoom Cloud Meetings that allows up to 25 people to actively participate in a webinar with an audience of up to 3000 passive participants.[20]

Initially, Zoom featured the ability to host conferences with up to 15 participants.[23] On January 25, 2013, the product was improved to allow up to 25 participants for all meetings. Version 2.5 of the software further extended the offering allowing up to 100 participants in one conference. The company has since expanded its offer to include meetings with up to 200 participants.[citation needed] Zoom relies on client-side encryption using the Advanced Encryption Standard 128-bit (AES 128) algorithm for presentation content.[24] As of October 2015, the lower limit of 25 participants in video meetings has been increased to 50.[25]

Reception

Initially, early adopters like Walt Mossberg were concerned that Zoom's quality could suffer as more users joined the pool. In 2012, Zoom had "only about 1,000 people using the service". According to Mossberg, "it's possible that if millions use it, speed and quality could suffer".[26] In his review at The Wall Street Journal, he pointed out that "Zoom is an attractive alternative" to Skype or Google Hangouts.[27] During this pre-release period, small business technology evangelist Ramon Ray had a chance to use Zoom. In SmallBizTechnology, Stephanie Faris covers Ray's experience with the software, saying that "Ramon was also impressed with how one of the remote persons on [sic] the video conference was able to share their screen". This particular trial meeting took place between him and Nick Chong, Zoom's head of product marketing.[28]

On April 2, 2013, two months after the launch of Zoom, Judy Schneider and Paul Doherty reviewed Zoom at Construction Executive's Tech Trends section. Their choice of words to summarize their experience was "love at first byte". "The first meeting was seamless," said the authors. "Everyone arrived on time with little to no wait time". The overall tone of the review was positive with little mention of caveats in the software. This was also the first review mentioning its REST API.[29] At the time, there were no alternative dial-in numbers, which they pointed out in their article. On December 14, 2013, Zoom has since implemented dial-in access in the release of version 2.5 of its software.[30] On September 2013, when Zoom Cloud Meetings has been released for six months, Emily Read wrote a comprehensive review of the software, in which she noted that "it's perfect if you want to record your meeting, or share your mobile screen" but "while there's no time limit on one-on-one calls made with a free account, a potentially annoying issue is that group calls using a free account are limited to a maximum of 40 minutes".[31] Read also considered the software useful for "clients, friends or family who don't have Skype or Google+" as a result of the ability to join a meeting without registering accounts.

On October 3, 2013, Geek Magazine published a compilation of alternatives to FaceTime for Android, in which it included Zoom's service, saying that "while Zoom was built for professional conferencing, it's really easy to use it for personal activities."[32] SheKnows, a women's entertainment website, said that "Zoom helps young businesses achieve a level of communication usually reserved for large, well-established companies."[33]

Nitin Pradhan wrote an editorial for InformationWeek in which he said that "after using it for a year, it has become my go-to communications channel for important discussions, even before email and the phone."[34] On September 10, 2014, Paul Richards, account executive at Haverford Systems, wrote a review of ZoomPresence (now known as Zoom Rooms), noting that it has "a simple menu that scales to fit [the user's] needs in a sleek app style application". The product's "Mac Mini-only" approach was also lauded by Richards, implying that it is a way to ensure stability throughout conferences.[35]

In the beginning of 2015, Let's Do Video published a case study involving the Region 13 Educational Service Center area in central Texas and its use of Zoom. The organization spoke to Carol Teitelman, the head of distance learning services regarding the switch from on-site hardware video to cloud-based conferencing. According to the organization, "When asked about the drawbacks in implementing this switch, Teitelman did not hesitate to say 'None!'".[36]

References

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