Cloud-based phone service is built into the company’s video conferencing platform.
Zoom Phone needed less than two years to hit a significant milestone: 1 million seats sold. Gartner ranks the cloud-based phone service in the Leader quadrant along with RingCentral, Microsoft, and Cisco.
Graeme Geddes, head of Zoom Phones and Rooms, said that a key to the success of the platform is its integrated architecture.
“Because we use a single architecture approach, phone service isn’t a separate technology or an add-on, it’s part of the core that we built from day one to support video and audio at scale,” he said.
Geddes said that customers range from an individual buying one or two licenses to a large global company in the Fortune 50. New customers bought the service in response to the overnight shift to working from home.
“They had an urgent need to adopt a new tech and if they were already using Zoom video, it’s very easy to click a button and provision this new service,” he said.
The service launched initially in the US and Canada only. Now it is available in 44 countries. When existing customers add Zoom Phone, a new tab appears in the familiar Zoom interface. The Phone platform has about 400 features. Customers can choose to record every call by default or record only select calls. Zoom Phone also recently added a FedRAMP offering and has services designed for healthcare providers as well.
Zoom Phone users can have multiple lines and receive or send SMS text messages.
Geddes said that voice mail transcription capabilities allow users to read, view, watch, or listen to messages. He added that the system is designed to be easy for admins to support as well.
Gartner ranked Zoom in the Leader Quadrant in the 2020 Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) Magic Quadrant report. Microsoft and RingCentral ranked highest in the quadrant with Cisco and 8×8 falling in about the same place as Zoom.
According to Gartner, UCaaS offerings have core capabilities in these areas:
- Telephony for physical phones or software clients (desktop clients, web clients, or mobile apps) with unified messaging and voicemail services
- Meetings including multiparty audio/video conferencing with content sharing (screen and application sharing) and in-meeting messaging and file-sharing capabilities
- Messaging capabilities for users to exchange text messages and other information in real time with both one-to-one communication and team messaging as well as presence capabilities so users can see the availability, location, and other contextual status information of other users and resources
- Mobility and software clients that enable access to multiple communications functions from a consistent user experience including desktop, web, mobile for smartphones and tablets, as well as software extensions and plug-ins that integrate with business applications such as calendars and email clients.
Microsoft gets high marks for its license agreement that entitles users to Microsoft Teams, which is a strong influence on companies considering UCaaS, according to Gartner. The analysts note that Microsoft’s telephony capabilities are not sufficient for customers who need advanced services in this area.
The Gartner Magic Quadrant report notes that customers can get Zoom Phone Basic at no extra cost and that Zoom has significantly raised its profile during the pandemic by bridging the gap between consumers and enterprises with “freemium” packages.
The report authors note that enhancements to the Zoom Phone platform over the past year include the launch of Zoom Room appliances with partners Neat, Poly, DTEN, and Logitech and a focus on security vulnerabilities in 2Q20, with a 90-day program dedicated to security enhancements, including AES 256-bit GCM encryption, and in-app options for meeting security.