Zoom makes its first major product updates since its blockbuster IPO as it takes on competitors like Microsoft

eric yuan zoom ceoZoom CEO Eric Yuan.Reuters/Carlo Allegri

  • On Tuesday, hot video conferencing company Zoom introduced its first major set of product updates since its IPO in April.
  • The company partnered with Poly to introduce Zoom Rooms Appliances, a device for conference rooms that comes with a camera, microphone, a speaker, and its software so users can easily start a video meeting.
  • Zoom also introduced new updates to Zoom Meetings, its flagship video conferencing service, that can help it take on competitors like Microsoft.
  • Read more on the Business Insider homepage.

Zoom, the popular and buzzy videoconferencing startup, just introduced its first major set of product updates since it went public in April.

These updates, announced Tuesday at the company's Zoomtopia user conference, include a new hardware appliance and updates to its flagship product Zoom Meetings.

Head of products Oded Gal says that these updates show that Zoom is moving away from simply providing video meetings - the kind made famous by companies like Cisco's WebEx and even Google Hangouts - and more towards providing more ways to make meetings easier.

"We really want to be ahead of the game," Gal told Business Insider. "Initially we were successful because our product is so reliable and high quality. Now we're saying we're moving beyond that. We're adding more and more capabilities using next-generation technology to make the meeting more seamless than it is today."

Zoom introduced at the event Zoom Rooms Appliances, which are appliances such that users can simply turn on a device, connect it to a screen, and start a meeting. Zoom partnered with Poly, an audio and video communications company, to build this appliance.

These appliances come with a camera, a microphone, and a speaker. Users can also manage these devices remotely. Gal says that when Zoom first introduced Zoom Rooms, its software for conference room videoconferencing systems, users found that it was sometimes too complicated, and wanted one device that combined everything. Facebook, Cisco, and Google all offer similarly-integrated video conferencing devices.

"It comes right off the bat with our software installed with a controller that is part of that system and you're ready to go," Gal said. "This Is a huge enhancement and we now provide more capabilities of our customers."

'It showcases our pace of innovation'

In addition, Zoom is adding several new features to its flagship Zoom Meetings app. It will now have live transcription to make it easier for users to follow what's being said in a meeting. Users can also now take notes in Zoom itself, or annotate the transcript of a meeting. This is especially helpful for international users, Gal says.

"We also hear it's hard for international teams," Gal said. "English is not their native language. They want additional text that shows on top of the actual words that are being said."

Users can also upload a presentation as the background of a slide and present it, as if they were presenting in person.

Read more: The CEO of Zoom lays out its next big priority after its first earnings report as a public company blows away Wall Street expectations

In March, Microsoft also announced similar captioning and presentation features to its messaging and collaboration app, Microsoft Teams. However, Gal says that Zoom stands out because competitors are not as focused on video communication products as Zoom is. For competitors, he says, it's only one aspect of what they do.

"It showcases our pace of innovation," Gal said. "We are not a company where video communication is just one aspect of our product line. This is what we do. We are focused on that...When you are using our platform, you will feel like you're using the best video communication platform out there."

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