Zoom.us was founded by a team of former Cisco WebEx engineers who saw that while video conferencing was definitely something that added a lot of power to the average person’s toolkit, keeping a high-quality group video chat locked up behind expensive equipment requirements and relegated mostly to the boardroom or executive office wasn’t the way forward. Instead, founder and CEO Eric Yuan, former VP of Engineering at Cisco, wanted to make the power of telepresence easily and widely available to consumers and small business users, and that’s what zoom.us achieves.
That’s why zoom works on iPads, iPhones and the desktop right off the bat. And while it requires a software download to get started, this isn’t much else to worry about after that. Just about anyone can get up and running with zoom in minutes, which is exactly the point, according to Nick Chong, Zoom.us Head of Product.
“If you look at our solution right now, it’s a single click and you’re in, and it’s a single click to join,” he explained in an interview. “It’s extremely easy, and the interfaces are easy. The second thing is that if you look at where things have been in group communication, the video quality has always been an issue. So the focus from the team is to bring high-quality video and high-quality screensharing, because for a lot of professionals or individuals screensharing becomes central to your communications.”
The screensharing piece is one the team is especially proud of, with Chong noting that it’s probably the most high-quality screensharing solution out there that’s widely available at the moment. Since it combines that with videoconferencing with up to 16 different individuals, that should be a claim that others tackling simplified screen share like Join.me, as well as established players like Skype and Webex, take a long hard look at as serious potential competition.
Zoom.us also seems to be treading a path that Google blazed with its multi-person, web- and mobile-based Hangouts feature on Google+. But unlike with Hangouts, users don’t have to be on Google+ to participate, and it also supports more simultaneous connections. There’s also the emphasis on high quality video, and the inclusion of the aforementioned screensharing feature, which Google+ offers but not with the same level of quality.
In the end, zoom is doing what a lot of other people are doing already, but aiming to beat the rest of the market with simplicity and quality. It’s a recipe that’s worked for other companies looking to consumerize mostly enterprise-focused tech in the past, including Dropbox, and CEO Yuan said that’s exactly the way his company is thinking about its approach. And just like Dropbox, there’s plenty of potential for zoom to make its way back up the corporate ladder, starting from the ground level, to unseat its enterprise predecessors.
“We’re taking the enterprise experience, and bringing it down to a broader level,” Yuan explained about the startup’s approach, “Then we’ll see how things evolve.”