Back in 2019, Zoom launched - Zoom Phone - a cloud phone system, at its annual tech conference, Zoomtopia. In 2021, Graeme Geddes, Head of Zoom Phone and Rooms, wrote a blog post detailing the motivations behind the launch of Zoom Phone, noting that the organization saw an opportunity to provide a business phone solution that is as simple, reliable, and as easy to use as the Zoom video platform.
Two-and-a-half years later, Zoom Phone has sold over 1.5 million seats. And Zoom was the fastest one of the major players to make it to million seats, beating out competitors RingCentral, Microsoft, Cisco, Broadsoft, 8x8, and Mitel in just seven quarters.
Between December 2020 and April 2021, Zoom Phone gained a half-million more seats, far surpassing any potential competition. I caught up with a Zoom Spokesperson, and he told me more about the offering's value proposition. And there is a ton - for Zoom both customers and those in the Zoom partner community, according to him.
Gartner also named Zoom as a worldwide UCaaS leader in its 2020 Magic Quadrant report - a big feat for a growing company and what could be a sign of further future market dominance.
Is Zoom Phone Beneficial?
Hoping to eliminate many of the usual complications of traditional telephony, bulky hardware, and the expense associated with it - Zoom set out to create a phone solution, one easy enough for small and midsize businesses to use and deploy. That solution was; also to include a breadth of advanced capabilities that large multinational organizations require to support global users like:
- Simple voice/video communications management via a centralized admin portal
- The ability to maintain business continuity through call forwarding, transfer, hold, call park, barge/monitor/whisper, call queues, call recording, and they can turn a Zoom Phone call into a Zoom Meeting with the press of a single-button
- There is a ton of certified third-party hardware that integrates seamlessly into the Zoom platform, even with the platform's interface playing a starring role in that hardware, too
- The ability to enhance on-premises safety and security with Nomadic E911 internal safety team alerts when calling 911, and dashboard metrics for emergency location tracking
- Improving productivity with integrations to services like Salesforce, Microsoft Teams, and Google G-Suite, and call center integrations with Five9, Genesys, InContact, Talkdesk, and Twilio
- Not to forget the customized service from a group of global partners and access to a ton of free Zoom Phone educational resources
Zoom launched a new category of devices in June 2021, calling them Zoom Phone Appliances. The purpose-built business productivity endpoints extend both Zoom Phone and Meetings capabilities.
With the intro of the new tools, device users could now seamlessly collaborate with others using premium video, audio, and content sharing capabilities - gaining the full-Zoom experience via the line of third-party developed endpoints. Zoom Phone Appliances are all "Zoom Certified" guaranteeing users have the same experience they would on their mobile device or PC.
The devices are available in three models - the Poly CCX 600 with a camera, the Poly CCX 700, the Yealink VP59 and can be purchased via authorized Poly and Yealink resellers and through the Zoom Hardware-as-a-Service (program) where users can also lease devices.
Those leveraging existing Poly CCX 600, CCX 700, or Yealink VP59 devices on other platforms or Open SIP - Zoom can assist in converting them to Zoom Phone Appliances. There is even access to a host of other prolific features, including:
- Caller ID, call history, voicemail, transfer options, 3-way calling, call blocking
- Shared Line Appearance/Delegation
- Calendar integration
- Corporate directory
- High-quality video and audio
- Content sharing
- In-meeting chat
- Customizable views
A New Kind of Pricing Structure
Touting Zoom Phone as a PBX alternative, the offering is available in 47 countries. Within these 47 countries - users now qualify for Zoom Phone's innovative new pricing structure; a $20 flat fee. The simple introduction of a flat fee eliminates any headaches associated with overages, etc.
Any Value for Partners?
Sure, there is tons of value for partners and resellers. And partners often have a say in things regarding the profit margins they see for selling additional services along with various sought-after add ons. That same Zoom spokesperson told me that Zoom is not looking to offer merely another desktop solution. Instead, Zoom wants to develop a solution that is high up on the value prop chain, which he contends - makes Zoom Phone easier to sell, noting:
"Users need desk phone solutions, but this one is digital, and it can get used everywhere."
As a brand, many trust Zoom, causing the company to see lots of demand for the solution in recent months as everyone from governments to universities and celebrities adopted the video conferencing tool.
There is, as a result, the potential for decent profit margins if partners pair the Zoom Phone offering with other Zoom products. He added, not only do these partners team up with Zoom, but they are a part of extending a purpose-built experience. Many partners have even helped boost the Zoom Phone user experience, too, as the third-party purpose-built devices have the same UI (user interface) across every device.
Zoom is now perfectly positioned to maintain the number one spot, as made apparent from the short timeframe it has taken the tech firm to rule the video conferencing market. At least for now, there appears to be no stopping the video conferencing giant. One potential catalyst for a decline in usage - the return to normal life and more frequent business travel.
The impacts of this have yet to be seen, but we can expect to know something by next quarter. An increase in the prevalence of remote working and collaboration tools soared in demand during Zoom's rise to take the number one spot - thanks primarily to the Covid-19 pandemic. Zoom, a clear beneficiary of the pandemic.
"Zoom" is, however, doing a lot of charitable work with its many efforts to provide free access to educational institutions and to others free of charge. This has played a role in keeping many small businesses, along with enterprises, in operation during the pandemic.