ZM: Veriticalization of the market

This is an interesting article on the veriticalization that is/will happen in the video conferencing market. I think there are good points and Zoom will need to build out solutions to cater to some of these verticals. Alteryx is now focusing a lot of effort on building out specific solutions for certain verticals.

https://medium.com/@joslund/the-verticalization-of-zoom-eb61…

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I really feel like this verticalization idea is connects well to the idea of Zoom having the fundamentals to buildout a full fledged platform as discussed at Softwarestackinvesting.com

The following is taken from a free website so I believe it is ok to print here what I believe has not been so well fleshed out here.

Zoom Platform?Proffringa
Softwareinvestingstack.com
Zoom Has an existing app marketplace and extensive, but low visibility, API and SDK offering. Most of the API integration handles admin functions outside the Zoom client, like creating a new meeting, adding users and viewing usage reports. Open source client SDK’s are available for mobile devices, Windows and Mac. These provide more granular control of the UI elements and features within the Zoom client.
The app marketplace includes the integrations you would expect for enterprise collaboration tools, like Slack, Teams and Google Calendar. Apps in this context are stand-alone applications that perform some other business function and provide the ability to launch a Zoom meeting or send a Zoom Chat message from within that application’s workspace. For a deeper integration, a developer could utilize the SDK’s to embed the Zoom video client into a stand-alone mobile app, web app or desktop program. The SDK has functions to control most features within the Zoom client, like muting a participant, setting meeting entry chimes and pinning video to a participant.
Even with these extensive capabilities around the API and SDK, it doesn’t appear that Zoom has pushed these offerings heavily. I found a couple of examples on their site showing use cases for healthcare and education. The link to Zoom for Developers goes to a landing page with the call to action “Elevate your SaaS offering by integrating Zoom’s Collaboration Services.” To sign up, a developer needs to email ISV Platform Sales. There is reference to API access on the Pro pricing plan. Given that this is bundled into the Pro plan, it isn’t meant to be used to build a stand-alone application.
Opportunity. Zoom has the underpinnings for a platform offering, but hasn’t gone to the point of fully enabling developers to build stand-alone collaboration applications. Twilio offers this capability in their programmable video product. They highlight a recent customer example with Doctor on Demand, which used the programmable video service to power their telehealth app. Given Zoom’s extensive reach currently, reputation for high quality service and dominance in video, they might unlock a whole new set of use cases and incremental revenue opportunities by promoting a true platform offering around video collaboration.

Jason here: At the risk of pasting in too much here…again this available free for anyone to see at Softwarestackinvesting.com

Proffringa:
Benefits. Beyond incremental revenue, Zoom would likely benefit from the other intangible aspects of moving to a platform offering.

  • Opening up platform functionality further would help address concerns around security and information sharing. Developers and security experts could scour the APIs and open source code for bugs, security flaws or potential privacy issues and report them back to Zoom.
  • Zoom could also examine the activities of the developers, as an input to future product offerings or extensions to the video conferencing solution. This might lead to new solutions they could monetize, like in gaming or media production.
  • Video conferencing solutions have low switching costs. While Zoom has the leading solution now due to feature set and performance, that might not be maintainable over time. Having internal developers customize their enterprise’s video conferencing tools would lead to higher lock-in.
    Effort. Zoom has extensive developer documentation, if you know where to look. It took me a while to locate all the developer resources. Documentation covers the APIs, SDKs and the basics of building an app. SDKs are open sourced and available in Github. They have a dedicated developer blog on Medium, with some activity. I counted 10 posts so far this year. Developers can get help on a forum, which is pretty active. Developer outreach is very limited at this point. I am not aware of developer meet-ups or Zoom sponsored conferences targeted at the developer community. Interestingly, I did find job postings for a couple of Developer Advocate roles, so this initiative may be in the works.

Zoom Developer Site
Take-away. I think Zoom would benefit significantly from a full platform offering. The market for video collaboration is large and we have likely just scratched the surface of potential use cases, particularly in this new social distancing environment. Additionally, the transparency associated with “opening up” the underlying infrastructure would go a long way towards inspiring confidence that Zoom is using best practices in building their popular end user solutions. Zoom already has most of the underlying mechanics in place to support a platform initiative and seems to be adding staff to further enhance outreach and developer evangelism. Investors will want to monitor Zoom closely for movement in this area. It could unlock a whole new revenue stream and provide further justification for ZM’s premium valuation.

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