Zoom had unprecedented success in 2020, no one can deny that even if there were serious issues with privacy as the number of people working remotely increased. However, with the privacy issue settled, San Jose, Calif.-based Zoom started focusing on its platform and developed its business.

However, if the principle focus for enterprises was on video calling from the desktop, Zoom Phone has been gaining ground too. In fact, this week the company announced that it has sold one million Zoom Phone seats around the world.

If you have not come across it before, it is not surprising given that most enterprises turn to Zoom for video communication and collaboration. Zoom Phone, though, is a simple cloud-calling solution designed for Zoom users who want to set up quick calls without video. If you do not want all the bells and whistles of in-depth meetings you can launch a quick VoIP call instead.

Zoom Phone also offers enterprise-grade features such as centralized management, contact center integration, and global call routing rolled into a user experience with a simplified pricing for straightforward global implementation. It is clearly working too as Zoom Phone has now penetrated 44 countries and territories while the company continues to add new features, including Nomadic E911, SMS and business app integrations to Salesforce, Microsoft Teams, and Google G-Suite. It also offers call center integrations with Five9, Genesys, InContact, Talkdesk, and Twilio

Traditional telephony can be complicated and costly involving expensive hardware and multiple carriers. Zoom phone, however, is designed for all kinds of companies including small and midsize businesses to use and deploy. It has all the advanced capabilities large multinational organizations require to support global users.

Zoom made it into Gartner’s Leaders’ quadrant for UC-as-a-service last year. Gartner noted that for organizations already using Zoom Meetings, Zoom Phone Basic is available at no additional charge (without PSTN access). This is a major attraction for organizations looking to add telephony from a single vendor cost-effectively.

Despite the Zoom Phone service being relatively new, it offers a 99.999% availability SLA target. Customers generally praise Zoom Meetings for its ease of use, service reliability, and pace of innovation and enhancement.

However, Gartner also points out that organizations currently using on-premises solutions and seeking a UCaaS provider with an advanced set of telephony features may find gaps.

Microsoft Gives Teams Video Conferencing Added Appeal

But if Zoom has been basking in the limelight since the pandemic started and its audience figures for video and phone calling exploded, Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft has always had a response with Teams and this week is no different.

Over the past year, vendors have been vying with each other in an increasingly competitive market to provide the best video and virtual conference experience. Over the year, Microsoft has improved several of its features like the number of people that can attend a conference virtually, or the number of people in a video call, both areas it had been trailing in at the beginning of 2020.

This week, it improved the experience of those meetings with the announcement that Dynamic View is on the way. With Dynamic View, speakers and presentation videos that are the same size will be viewable at the same time.

More to the point, Teams users will also be able to share content side by side on their screen during video calls. This means that in a business meeting multiple participants, it will be easy to present slides or watch a live together.

Originally unveiled in July last year the new Dynamic View will be available to all Microsoft Teams users in March. The new feature builds on the Together Mode which was also launched last year. By using AI segmentation, Together Mode in Teams placed meeting participants within a shared background, the idea being to make it look more like participants are in the same room together.  Microsoft also confirmed that extensions on its live events limit are now available until June 30 2121, as virtual events continue amid the pandemic.

Zoho Offers WhatsApp Alternative

While the big digital workplace vendors in the US have dominated the headlines as enterprises look to develop virtual workplaces, Zoho, the Indian SaaS company is coming back at them with another new app called Arattai. Zoho’s founder Sridhar Vembu explained on Twitter that it is currently being tested in a ‘friends and family version’.  

Our Arattai team asked me to not talk about our instant messaging app yet but since it is already being talked about 😂, I guess I can talk too.

This is a friends-and-family trial release. We will do a formal launch in a few weeks. We have a lot more in store. Stay tuned!

— Sridhar Vembu (@svembu) January 10, 2021

According to Vembu, Arattai, which is Tamil for chit-chat, is likely to be rolled out in a few weeks and comes when there are new question marks over WhatsApp and its new privacy policies. Earlier this month, WhatsApp updated its privacy policy indicating that it would now share data with Facebook. According to the new terms and conditions: “WhatsApp receives information from, and shares information with, the other Facebook Companies. We may use the information we receive from them, and they may use the information we share with them, to help operate”. The information it says it may share includes:

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  • Your account registration information.
  • Transaction data.
  • Information on how you interact with others.
  • Your IP address.

Zoho claims that Arattai will not share data without the user’s consent. "We did a beta trial, but we will have an end-to-end encryption in the final launch. We are getting enormous product feedback in the last few days and making changes. The full launch will happen within six months", Singh told the India-based news service ETNOWNEWS.

Arattai is not the only app that is out there. There are already reports that encrypted messaging apps Signal and Telegram are seeing huge upticks in downloads from Apple and Google’s app stores. It remains to be seen whether Facebook backs down on this, but for the moment it really does seem to have shot itself in the foot.

Match My Email for Salesforce Adds Microsoft 365 Data Integration

Elsewhere New York-based Match My Email (MME) for Salesforce has released a new module of its data integration service for Microsoft 365. MME now offers automated calendar sync together with its email integration app for users of Salesforce and Office 365.

An ISVForce partner, Match My Email transforms Salesforce from a static CRM based on manual data entry into a dynamic data-driven CRM that automatically captures customer and user behavior in the cloud.

MME is also the alternative to Einstein Activity Capture because it permanently uploads email and calendar data into a Salesforce ORG for future reference or reporting purposes. MME is estimated to save users hours of time per month entering, accessing and sharing customer data. The new calendar sync module is pure cloud technology. The Match My Email cloud connects directly to Office 365 through its API and copies email and calendar data automatically into Salesforce records.

While Salesforce is a hugely powerful tool, according to MME, many people misunderstand the product to be a stagnant database that needs to be updated manually. Rather than work out of Salesforce, individuals toggle between multiple apps, chiefly their email client, lamenting the need to record information into the CRM. This wastes time and undermines the value of Salesforce. MME turns Salesforce into a dynamic database that is updated automatically with email traffic.

Dable Content Discovery Platform Raises $12m

Finally this week, South Korea based, content discovery platform developer Dable has announced that it has raised $12 million. According to the company the money will be used to continue its expansion in Asia, before entering the European countries and the United States markets.

The Series C round was led by South Korean venture capital firm SV Investment. Other participants included KB Investment and K2 Investment, as well as returning investor Kakao Ventures, a subsidiary of Kakao Corporation, one of South Korea’s largest internet firms.

Dable (the name is a combination of “data” and “able”) currently serves more than 2,500 media outlets in South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia. It has subsidiaries in Taiwan, which accounts for 70% of its overseas sales, and Indonesia. The Series C brings Dable’s total funding so far to $20.5 million.


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