Zoom.ai, a Toronto-based maker of chat-based productivity tools, has announced an integration that extends the startup's AI virtual assistant technology to Microsoft Teams and Office 365.
Working with various business and productivity platforms, including Salesforce, Dropbox and Slack, Zoom.ai enables users to automate tasks by sending a message to the company's virtual assistant. It can be used to schedule meetings, act as a conduit for "warm introductions" between professionals, hail an Uber at a specified time and more.
Now, Zoom.ai is bringing those capabilities to Teams, Microsoft's own chat-based collaboration tool, and Office 365.
Of course, Microsoft has been steadily adding AI capabilities to the Office ecosystem on its own. Roy Pereira, CEO and founder of Zoom.ai, asserts that his company's assistant enhances Office's capabilities and won't step on the toes of Cortana or the productivity suite's other AI helpers.
"Zoom.ai is an independent intelligent solution that augments existing Microsoft Office 365 products," Pereira told eWEEK in an email exchange. "The automated assistant does not conflict with any of Microsoft's products, leverages both the Microsoft Teams chat platform and the [Office 365] ecosystem and offers automation between the two."
Zoom.ai claims its chat-savvy assistant is a major time-saver. According to the company, users can reclaim an average of 25 hours and increase productivity by 14 percent each month by using the technology. Automating tasks with Zoom.ai can also have an impact on the bottom line.
Business stand to save over $16,000 a year for each salaried user that brings home $100,000 in compensation, according to Zoom.ai. Enterprises with 5,000 users can realize savings of over $81 million a year, according to company estimates.
Those productivity and monetary gains are achieved by reducing the menial and repetitive tasks actions taken to manage the workday, allowing users to focus on high-value tasks instead.
For example, in Teams, Zoom.ai can be used to schedule conference calls and meetings for large groups, explained Pereira. "No more back and forth email exchanges since your automated assistant within Microsoft Teams can handle that," stated the executive.
Additionally, it provides unified search functionality in every supported app, allowing users to find files, documents and notes across all Office 365 products. Drawing up new contracts or non-discloser agreements can be done by issuing chat commands, eliminating the need to seek out the appropriate documents and send them out manually, added Pereira.
Finally, Zoom.ai can act as the brains of a company's internal knowledge base. Employees can simply ask the assistant questions on vacation policies, expense submission processes, WiFi connectivity and other bits of useful information without rummaging through an intranet or enterprise content management system.
The Microsoft Office 365 integration comes after a busy 2017 for the AI startup.
In September, the company acquired SimplyInsight, a provider of automated data analysis and visualization software. SimplyInsight's natural language query engine can pore over an enterprise's internal business data to expose trends and statistics that can help workers make informed decisions. In June, Zoom.ai announced it has raised $2.1 million in a seed round of financing.