Zoom Launches Third-Party Apps, Multi-Purpose Games Store

Zoom has started integrating third-party applications into its video conferences, hoping to stay ahead in the post-pandemic era.

US company Zoom Video Communications said it expects its new strategy to “make meetings more engaging, more productive and actually even more fun.”

The cloud-based video communications app already has a marketplace with 1,500 applications, but the currently available options must be downloaded and added to meetings separately.

With the new update, 50 apps will be available, including the real-time polling and feedback app Dot Collector and the meeting planning app Asana.

Zoom said it is betting on a hybrid work future to keep its 300 million daily meeting participants.

But experts say the company is also looking to compete with industry rivals like Microsoft Teams.

Ross Mayfield, Zoom’s product lead for apps, told the BBC that third-party apps could be used to take notes, record action items or manage tasks.

Besides professional activities, he visualized users using apps like “video games, casual games, charades, board games, card games, things like that, as a way of playing with friends and family.”

He added that many game developers had been building games for team-building exercises and for maintaining social connectivity.

It is not yet clear how many people would continue to use Zoom and other video conferencing services, as many governments have lifted their lockdowns and employees are returning to offices.

However, Zoom CEO Eric Yuan said he is convinced that the post-pandemic world would continue to embrace a hybrid working model.

He spoke about “the second chapter of Zoom,” referring to how the company transformed “from a killer app to a platform that becomes embedded in a more useful way” in people’s lives.

The company experienced an exponential increase during the pandemic and recently announced the acquisition of Five9 for $ 14.7 billion.

Following the purchase of the cloud-based call center operator, Zoom said it expected sales to rise over 40% this year, reaching more than $ 3.7 billion.

Ben Wood, an analyst at CCS Insight, commented on Zoom’s latest move, saying the platform faced increasing competition as Microsoft Teams makes incremental improvements.

Zoom plans to add more value to the platform, and application partnerships would turn out to be a quick win that many of its users will appreciate, Mr. Wood stated.