Since it shot to prominence during the pandemic, Zoom has evolved from a meeting platform to offer a range of services to support the needs of a hybrid workplace. Sameer Raje, general manager and head, India and SAARC, Zoom tells Christina Moniz why the Indian market is a key focus area for the US-based platform.
Zoom had a successful run during the pandemic years. With normalcy returning, are you seeing that momentum tapering off?
When the pandemic happened, the growth we saw was unprecedented. We of course, do not expect that kind of growth to happen again. During the pandemic, the growth we saw was in video meetings. Since then, we have begun collaborating with organisations to offer solutions that help people work better. Work conditions are changing and people are not going back to work in the same way that they did prior to Covid-19. Today, companies are looking at more efficient ways of working. Therefore, the growth we are seeing now is from the enterprise segment that is looking for a wide range of workplace solutions. From a meeting platform, Zoom has now evolved into a workplace collaborator that offers a gamut of services. We are seeing growth coming in from various segments such as IT, ITES, BFSI, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals and health care.
Tell us about the newly launched Zoom Rooms. What are the demands from enterprises today that you are looking to meet now?
We launched Zoom Rooms to cater to new workplace requirements post the pandemic. The new offering has products like Zoom whiteboard, a digital canvas developed to replicate the physical experience of using a whiteboard. It also offers features like workspace reservation and room controller, which allows you to stop, start and control the Zoom room meetings with a paired personal device.
We are also working with regulators to bring the Zoom phone to India, which allows you to connect your physical phone line to a cloud. Today, we are seeing companies across sizes and categories benefit from Zoom Rooms. For example, we have seen hospitals use the product to treat patients
in critical care or those with contagious diseases who need seclusion.
Where does India stand in Zoom’s global scheme of things? What sort of volume of growth are you expecting from the Indian market?
While I cannot share market specific numbers, I have to point out that the Indian market is important to Zoom. This is not only from the revenue perspective but also from the talent viewpoint. We have already announced two technology centres in the country. The first was launched in Bangalore about a couple of years ago, and works as a support centre for the global Zoom platform. The second, which was launched in Chennai a couple of months ago, is an R&D centre that works on new technologies. We are hiring extensively across the country for all aspects of the business – revenue growth, support, R&D and engineering.
How are you tackling challenges like poor internet connectivity and infrastructure in remote locations in India?
When Zoom was launched, it was built to work with low bandwidth, low processors and low hardware capabilities. So if you’re on the road or an expressway and you’re on a call and lose connectivity, you may face issues in terms of audio or video momentarily, but once connectivity is restored, you can continue the meeting without any issues. The call will not drop. Also, consider that our Zoom Events allows you to host virtual gatherings of as many as 50,000 participants. The platform has been built to scale and adapt to varied technological and hardware challenges.
You recently announced Zoom Room’s integration with Microsoft Teams. Will you be looking at partnerships with other communication platforms like Google Meet?
We have already made guest log-ins with Google Meet available. The integration with Microsoft Teams came on the back of customer feedback, as they wanted cross-platform integration. As we continue to work on new technologies and features, we will look at more partnerships.