Time-saving tech for business: Zoom leaders connect in London

Zoomtopia Leaders Connect: London brought together time-saving business tech experts, Formula 1 celebrities, and futurists.
29 November 2023

Venue with a view: Zoom’s Leaders Connect event in London provided a great perspective on enterprise adoption of time-saving business tech. Image: JT/TechHQ.

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A speaker line-up featuring time-saving business tech leaders, Formula 1 celebrities, and futurists will never disappoint. And TechHQ made sure to take a front-row seat at the invite-only Zoomtopia Leaders Connect event in London, UK, to find out how companies can get ahead using a growing ecosystem of enterprise apps and hardware.

What is Zoom?

Zoom’s popularity rocketed when the business world went big on remote working. “Let’s have a meeting,” quickly became, “Let’s Zoom.” And while the tech firm – headquartered in San Jose, California, US – is immensely proud of its status as a verb, there’s much more to Zoom beyond enabling video telephony.

“Zoom is meetings, but Zoom as a platform has expanded a lot,” Smita Hashim, Chief Product Officer at the firm, told the media at a press briefing ahead of her Zoomtopia Leaders Connect: London keynote.

Today, Zoom is active in supporting flexible workspaces, employee engagement, contact center operations, and remote maintenance using augmented reality – to give just a few examples of time-saving business tech solutions available to enterprises.

Also, while it’s of little surprise to learn that Zoom has – like almost every other enterprise software provider – introduced gen AI into its suite of tools, the fact that it provides those features at no additional cost to paying users is a differentiator.

Hashim points out that you don’t need to engage large AI models for all tasks. And the federated architecture, which includes algorithms from OpenAI, Anthropic, Meta, and Zoom’s own designs, makes it more cost-effective – picking the best solution for a given request.

Reflecting on time-saving business tech solutions enabled using gen AI, one of the most useful to organizations is the ability of large language models (LLMs) to provide meeting summaries and generate a list of actions.

Zoom users have this feature, which means that attendees can fully engage with what’s happening in the meeting, rather than being distracted by having to make notes. The summaries are so popular that in-person attendees routinely hit the join button even when no one is dialing in, to enable the digital productivity features – which include presentation coaching – for everyone in the room.

Fans of stoic philosophy will recall that we have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak, and modern business tools such as AI-enabled meeting coaching let you put that to the test. Apps record ratios of talking to listening, speech rate, and tone – to list just some of the user feedback that’s available.

Having a record of events gives team members who couldn’t attend the means to quickly catch up on what happened, without having to listen back to the online discussion in full. Plus, staff wanting to prepare for a call can instruct the AI companion to summarize not just one, but a whole series of meetings to get up to speed on projects and understand how customer relationships are progressing.

Also, if you’ve been on holiday for a week and return to hundreds of chat messages, the AI companion can summarize the list of unread items for you – another tick for time-saving business tech. “Zoom team chat is one of the jewels in our platform,” Hashim told the audience in her keynote.

In just 18 months, the company – known for its online meetings, but delivering on many more fronts – has added 600 features to its product suite. Having translated captions generated in real-time means that conversations can flow much more naturally, overcoming language barriers. And smart recordings include chapters, based on key meeting events, making it easier to look back through those files.

Time-saving business tech for contact centers

The fact that so many sales calls happen on Zoom speaks to why the company launched an omnichannel contact center product, and – as the presenters explained – it builds on the AI assistant capabilities that we’ve just discussed.

On TechHQ, we’ve written about how customer experience (CX) plus employee experience (EX) equals business growth, and the point was made again in London about how CX and EX go hand in hand.

Speaking in the first of the afternoon’s panel sessions, Oru Mohiuddin – Senior Research Manager at IDC, a market intelligence provider – reminded the audience that contact centers can’t have happy customers without happy agents. And AI summaries can help with that.

“When calls get transferred from agent to agent, having a call summary in real-time has a multiplier effect on customer and agent experience,” said Hashim. “I want users to have high expectations and to push us to do more.”

Time-saving business tech, including tools provided by Zoom, give Formula 1 teams the edge.

Driving secure messaging and fan engagement: Zoom is an innovation partner of Oracle Red Bull Racing. Jack Harington (left) – Senior Partnership Manager at Oracle Red Bull Racing – and motor racing legend David Coulthard explained how time-saving business tech makes a difference in Formula 1. Image credit: JT/TechHQ.

And on the topic of high expectations, it was fascinating to hear about how communications platforms drive the pinnacle of motorsport – Formula 1. Invited to participate in the discussion were Jack Harington, Senior Partnership Manager at Oracle Red Bull Racing, and motor racing legend David Coulthard – a multiple Grand Prix winner, broadcaster, and businessman.

In a video accompanying the Zoomtopia Leaders Connect: London session, Christian Horner – Team Principal of Oracle Red Bull Racing – told viewers that fast and secure messaging will always be critical to race day success. And with 21 out of 22 wins to their name in this year’s Formula 1 championship, Oracle Red Bull Racing knows all about success.

Zoom’s partnership with Red Bull Racing is more than just a branding exercise. The Formula 1 team uses the communication platform to enable live conversations between crew at the track and staff based in the operations room. “Red Bull is pretty picky about how it picks its innovation partners,” Harington told attendees.

Regulations restrict the number of team personnel to 60 people over the race weekend, and so teams have parallel operations back at the factory to advise on strategy and other technical matters. And it says a lot that Oracle Red Bull Racing chose Zoom above other solutions for its in-the-loop decision-making.

Another reason for why the combination works well is the events platform. Harington comments that Red Bull has become one of the most followed sports teams in the world. And the 2023 F1 championship winners want to engage with those fans.

Running member experiences using Zoom Events – which can handle events of all kinds: in-person, virtual or hybrid – gives Red Bull the chance to make fans loyal by giving back to them. Zoom uses the platform to host its annual Zoomtopia developer conference.

The time-saving business tech firm wants to be a working example of how to create an effective hybrid workplace, and makes great use of the solutions that it and its partners have developed.

Today, companies want flexible workplaces that are modular and can be reconfigured. And in the exhibit area were examples of Zoom Room solutions from DTEN, Jabra, Logitech, Neat, and Poly.

Speaking with the Jabra team, features include multiple cameras for 180-degree views, physical whiteboard integration (making it easy for remote attendees to see written text and drawings), and sound boundary settings.

Zoom has an intelligent director feature that adds TV production touches so that attendees joining remotely feel part of the action alongside in-person colleagues. And engagement segues nicely to another one of the big themes at the London show.

Earlier this year, Zoom acquired Workvivo – an employee communication and engagement platform – and the tool has been integrated into the Zoom client. Gideon Pridor, Head of Marketing at Workvivo, pointed to some big customers such as Virgin. All 40 companies in the Virgin Group – a total of 60,000 employees – now use WorkView, including Richard Branson himself.

Pridor makes the point that it’s not practical for enterprises to bring 60,000 people together physically, but employee engagement platforms let you do that digitally. It’s another example of time-saving business tech, in this case one that bridges office staff, hybrid workers, and those on the road, as well as front line workers. The tool was designed with mobile in mind right from the beginning.

CEO’s can cut out intermediaries and reach out directly to staff to feel the pulse of their organization. Modern employee engagement tools are a practical way for executive teams to develop a company culture, bring people closer to the business, and strengthen companies.

Preparing for the future – a guide

Given how unpredictable the future can be, the question becomes how best can companies prepare? The sudden success of generative AI has taken firms by surprise. And perhaps one tip – based on the last talk of the day by Sophie Hackford, a futurist – is to keep an open mind.

Sophie Hackford, a futurist, on-stage at Zoomtopia Leaders Connect: London.

Global AI perspective: futurist Sophie Hackford commented on how the world itself is becoming a computer, and highlighted opportunities for human-machine teaming. Image credit: JT/TechHQ.

“Tech is never its past,” she told the audience. “It’s something that’s all around us.” Hackford points out that computers are no longer just giant calculators and are starting to act more like the human brain. In fact, the world itself is fast becoming a computer. Warehouses are automated, vehicles can drive themselves (to a degree), and satellites create data that’s designed for machines – such as hyperspectral imaging – rather than being accessible to the human eye.

Hackford notes that we are weaving computational landscapes, which include us through wearable devices. The natural world shouldn’t be forgotten too, as researchers provide a glimpse into fascinating topics such as fungal computing.

“Pea roots listen for the sound of water to guide their roots,” she adds.

With so much to puzzle, everyone needs more time – and time-saving business tech such as Zoom’s productivity tools can buy some of that back for all of us.