Zoom adds new features to compete with Slack, Calendly, Google and Microsoft

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Weeks after laying off 1,300 people (or 15% of its workforce), Zoom is rolling out new features to compete with numerous companies, including Slack, Calendly, Google, and Microsoft. These features include AI-powered meeting summaries, prompt-based email responses, and whiteboard generation, along with video “Huddles” and a meeting planner.

The company wants you to shift more of your work tasks to its tools. To that end, Zoom is opening up its email and calendar clients to everyone. The video conferencing company began testing these tools last year in a large area of ​​research outside of meetings. Hosted email and calendaring services are also offered with end-to-end encryption protection and custom domains for paying users. Companies could use these services as an alternative to Microsoft Exchange and Google Workspace.

These days it’s hard to pass a few hours without a company announcing generative AI features. Zoom is expanding its Zoom IQ assistant to provide AI-powered summaries and “ask further questions” even when you’re halfway into a meeting. Once the meeting is over, the bot posts a summary to Zoom’s team chat feature. The assistant can also summarize the chat threads in the team chat.

Until now, Zoom IQ had the ability to record highlights, divide a meeting into chapters, and list to-do items automatically. Last year, the company also launched Zoom IQ for Sales to give sales teams insight into video calls.

Zoom Mail client Image Credits: Zoom

Zoom promises a generative future with Zoom IQ that helps users compose chats, emails, and whiteboard sessions, and create meeting agendas. The company is inviting users to try these features next month with plans for a later rollout. The company said it’s partnering with OpenAI for the AI ​​features, but it didn’t specify whether the partnership only includes API use or more.

A demo of composing a message with Zoom IQ Image Credits: Zoom

The company also introduced some non-AI focused products. It launched Zoom Scheduler in public beta – a Calendly-like availability sharing tool to book appointments. Zoom also introduced virtual coworking spaces called Zoom Huddles where people can drop in or out at any time. This feature is similar to the Slack Huddles feature, which was introduced in 2021 to have fast voice or video-based real-time conversations.

Zoom seems to be fighting a lot of battles here. On the one hand, it introduces generative AI features to create emails, meeting agendas, and whiteboards to counter the onslaught of Microsoft and Google. Both have announced new generative AI features for workplaces. On the other hand, it’s fighting to be a relevant workplace tool beyond meetings, rivaling Slack, Calendly, and Otter.

Slack recently announced a ChatGPT bot in partnership with OpenAI. Meanwhile, the Otter transcription tool launched the OtterPilot assistant that automatically summarizes meetings. But that is not it. Plenty of other meeting-related tools have launched AI-powered summary features in a variety of formats.

Zoom’s stock is down more than 40% in the past 12 months. The company suffered its first quarterly loss of $108 million since 2018 in fourth-quarter results for fiscal year 2023. It expects decelerated growth of 1.1% this fiscal year with projected revenue between $4.435 billion and $4.455 billion.

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