Zoom says video meetings will be a core part of the 'new normal'

Zoom is offering the video component of its platform as 'infrastructure,' upon which developers can build their own enterprise applications.

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Zoom is offering its platform to developers as a kind of 'video infrastructure as a service' arrangement.

Image: Zoom

Zoom has launched new tools for developers as it looks to move beyond basic video meetings and embed its platform into enterprise applications.

Zoom's video software development kit (video SDK) allows developers to use the platform's HD video, audio, and interactive features to build video-based apps with their own native interfaces.

SEE: Zoom 101: A guidebook for beginners and business pros (TechRepublic Premium)   

In doing so, businesses can create custom applications using Zoom's core video component as "infrastructure", without having to build in the entire Zoom meeting client.

The video SDK is the latest component of the Zoom Developer Platform, which already offers APIs, SDKs, chatbots and other tools for building apps and integrations on top of the Zoom app.

Zoom CTO Brendan Ittelson said the latest component to the developer platform was an effort to offer more flexibility to businesses who wanted to benefit from the scale and reliability of the Zoom platform, without being married to its full meeting app.

"It's basically video as infrastructure that they can build on top of their application, with Zoom working behind the scenes," Ittelson told TechRepublic.

By way of example, a bank could use the video SDK to build a video chat element into their digital service so they could talk their customers through important documents, such as a loan application, Ittelson explained. Alternatively, a healthcare provider could create a remote consultation service with Zoom as the underlying video component. 

Ittelson suggested new capabilities were an effort to move the Zoom platform away from being a basic video meeting creator, toward something that could be integrated more deeply into the enterprise app ecosystem.

"You look at where Zoom has been – we have grown and sort of had that killer app, but this is now moving beyond the killer app to the platform. So [for] those businesses that are looking for a video-first collaboration solution, we have that. If they have use cases where they want to do development, we have that, and if they just want us as an infrastructure provider behind their systems, we have those options as well."

SEE:  8 new rules for Zoom after a year of nonstop virtual meetings (TechRepublic)

Zoom was unable to say how many developers use its Developer Platform, though Ittelson suggested there are currently more than 1,000 publicly available apps in its App Marketplace. 

The latest update to the Developer Platform includes more detailed analytics to give developers insights into the performance and usage of their apps.

"This has definitely been an area of interest, and we want to continue to invest in that developer community and give them the tools and resources that they need to succeed and grow," Ittelson added.

Zoom gained masses of new customers when businesses were forced to adopt remote working almost overnight in 2020.

Video conferencing proved pivotal in allowing colleagues to interact and collaborate in lieu of face-to-face interactions. Yet with an eventual return to the office inevitable, the impact on Zoom and other video platforms of its ilk remains uncertain.

SEE: COVID-19 workplace policy (TechRepublic Premium)

Despite this, Ittelson doesn't see foresee any sharp drop in usage, particularly as a combination of at-home and in-office working is likely to involve long-term use of messaging and collaboration software.

"What we've definitely seen over the past year is that video is becoming a core component of the new normal and the new business environment," says Ittelson.

"We definitely believe that video-first collaboration is here to stay [and] we believe that we'll continue to grow."

Security will also remain central to Zoom's development going forward, said Ittelson, with the company having dedicated a significant portion of 2020 to tightening up its security and privacy standards .

"Security and privacy are embedded into our DNA and it's in everything we do starting with the design now," he added.

"It is a focus and will continue to be a focus in everything that we're delivering to our customers."

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