Zoom Expands Cloud-Based Video Conferencing Platform via Partners

The company, which entered the market last year, is rolling out its “Works with Zoom” partnership program.

Zoom Video Communications entered the highly competitive video conferencing market a year ago with a cloud-based offering that included a service for multi-party meetings.

According to Zoom officials, the company now has almost 2 million participants, 5,500 meetings per day and 100 million meetings to its credit.

Now, the company is looking to partners to help it expand its reach through offering what Zoom officials are calling best-in-class video conferencing solutions that complement its cloud-based technology. Zoom is kicking off its "Works with Zoom" program with a dozen partners that offer everything from cameras and speakers to PCs, microphones and software.

The partner program will help Zoom continue to expand its offerings while keeping the technology affordable, an important issue at a time when prices and costs are a key consideration of businesses when talking about video conferencing.

"We are excited to partner with these cutting-edge companies and bring over 75 percent savings in video collaboration to all businesses," Zoom CEO Eric Yuan said in a statement. "We are also introducing programs to drive new business for reseller and referral partners."

The video conferencing space, which includes such established players as Cisco Systems and Polycom as well as a range of newer, smaller vendors, continues to undergo painful changes as it migrates away from hardware-based solutions to software- and cloud-based offerings. IDC analysts in May found that worldwide first-quarter revenues for video conferencing equipment fell 13.2 percent over the same time in 2012, continuing a trend that the firm has seen over the past several quarters.

At the time, Rich Costello, senior analyst for enterprise communications infrastructure at IDC, said that while many vendors were pointing to such issues as longer procurement cycles, the difficult economic environment in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, and a slowdown in IT spending in such markets as China and India, there were other issues involved as well.

"No doubt these are certainly valid reasons for the recent quarterly decreases in video equipment revenue we are seeing," Costello said in a statement. "In addition, IDC believes that increasing customer considerations over more software-centric solutions, virtualization, cloud-based offerings and real-time browser-based communications are beginning to challenge the video equipment market as well."

Zoom officials have argued that their cloud-based platform is a cost-efficient way to get high-quality multi-party video conferencing. Through the offering, businesses can get such features as high-definition video and audio, as well as screen sharing and meetings with up to 25 participants, for $9.99 a month.

Those capabilities increase with the new partnerships, according to company officials.

The list of partners includes Logitech for Business, which sells a range of peripherals, including HD cameras, headsets and speakers. Logitech, which is best known for its consumer-focused offerings, entered into the corporate market in 2009 with its acquisition of video conferencing vendor LifeSize Communications.

Other partners range from Vaddio—which makes pan-tilt-zoom cameras and USB peripherals—to Revolve Robotics, which makes a robotic tablet mount that enables remote meeting participants to control their field of vision during a video meeting. InFocus is partnering with Zoom to offer video conferencing on its BigTouch Windows 8-based touch PC that comes with 55- and 7-inch screen sizes, while AVer offers low-cost, high-quality H.323 endpoints.

A complete list of Zoom's partners can be found on the company's Works with Zoom Website.