Zoom is launching its very own hosted Zoom email and calendar service, with end-to-end encryption (E2EE) between service users by default, as the video conference company continues to branch out more broadly.
The plans for a “Zoom Mail Service” were unveiled at its Zoomtopia conference on November 8. The beta release will initially only be for customers in Canada and the US on Zoom One Pro, or Zoom Standard Pro plans.
Customers will be able to self-serve with the zmail.com domain or use a custom domain if they have an account with a Zoom One Business or higher licence. Details are currently thin on the ground but the rollout looks modest in scale: The Zoom Mail Service will include 5 GB of email storage for Zoom Pro or Zoom United, 100 GB for Zoom One Business or higher for example, which will not carry many email users particularly far.
Further details for administrators on security and configuration are pending.
Zoom said in a blog that the Zoom Mail Service was “designed for small-to-medium businesses without dedicated IT resources who also have a need for enhanced privacy in their business communications, such as law firms or any business needing to share private information within their team…”
The launch was not the headline story to Zoom, which buried the proposals for its own Zoom email and calendar under the news that it would allow free or paid customers to access existing email accounts “from popular third-party email services” directly in the Zoom desktop app, to minimise desktop clutter and improve efficiency (it cited a HBR study that found users spending four hours weekly toggling between applications.)
CEO Eric Yuan said his team has “built and launched more than 1,500 features and enhancements on the Zoom platform this year, advancing the way people connect with each other, their organization, and their customers.”
The new products come as Zoom has struggled to convert free users to paying ones. It is increasingly targeting enterprise customers with its contact centre and Zoom Phone offerings. (The latter now has over four million users; in Q2 Zoom signed two 125,000+ seat Zoom Phone deals with a global bank and retailer.)
Zoom quoted a marquee customer in Dave Duvall, CIO – Technology & Operations, Warner Bros, who said: “We’ve been able to evolve with Zoom, particularly beyond meetings, with products like Zoom Phone, Zoom Rooms, and Zoom Team Chat. The whole platform has really expanded our capabilities to collaborate…”
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research said in a release: “Zoom has rapidly evolved from being a niche meetings company to a broad collaboration platform that delivers unparalleled employee and customer experience, and helps organizations address the current and future needs of work.”
Zoom may be being under-ambitious with the email launch. IT leaders are increasingly keen to consolidate tools and licenses to minimise both administrative and financial overhead. Those already paying for a Zoom Pro license may be minded to look at whether it makes sense to migrate from services like G-Suite onto Zmail. The tools, and further details to support a business case for that appear to be a long way off however.