Think bigger: creating new possibilities in retail, manufacturing, and other industries

“Think bigger.” That’s our motto, and it permeates everything we do — from large-scale product announcements to exploring new use cases across verticals to the genesis of our platform.

Zoom was started by our founder and CEO, Eric S. Yuan, as an app based on love. He wanted to connect with his then-long-distance girlfriend (now wife!), and he wanted a simple, reliable way to build that bond.

Since then, Zoom has evolved into a comprehensive unified communications platform — video, voice, contact center, developer tools, and more — that isn’t just for use in a traditional office setting. It can be used in retail stores, on manufacturing floors, in classrooms, in the field, you name it.

That’s exactly what these vertical Zoomtopia sessions explored — all the ways we can think bigger and use the Zoom platform to accomplish a lot more.

The art of the possible

At Zoom, we’re all about the art of the possible — and that’s what our emerging verticals keynote explored in depth. What are the meaningful benefits we can create with this technology? How do we think bigger to improve the employee experience, elevate customer engagement, and accelerate operational transformation?

I answered those questions with a simple equation: platform + value = use cases that drive meaningful benefits. 

That equation informs this next wave of vertical strategy. We’re focused on creating value through the strategic application of our technology. That equation is going to be the key to using Zoom to help enhance retail customer services, drive supply chain efficiencies for logistics companies, reduce time to market for manufacturers, increase on-campus safety for students, and more. 

“But how do you break barriers so you can look at new options?” posed our CTO, Brendan Ittleson, who joined the keynote to speak to the impact of our developer platform on these verticals. “This platform can help make these ideas a reality, as it lets you bring the Zoom tech you need into an environment and marry it with your product and vision. That way you can focus on the vision, and not have to worry about the communications infrastructure,” added Brendan. 

Here are a few ways we’re already seeing how Zoom can help turn our customers’ dreams into reality:

  • Education: 
    • Campus safety: While our platform simplifies remote and hybrid learning, it can also play an essential role in student safety. Zoom Phone has features that create real-time emergency notifications, while Zoom Rooms can be used to deploy video-enabled emergency centers across campus.
    • New student experiences: A prime example of thinking bigger in action? Arizona State University (ASU), who built a “Zoom innovation lab” that expands the campus experience beyond the classroom. The initiative sparked the creation of the “ASUniverse,” a digital twin of the entire ASU campus where avatars can click on digital kiosks in classrooms and then talk to a live person over Zoom.
  • Healthcare: Our friends at OhmniLabs joined our keynote to show how we can bring healthcare to life through a video-enabled telehealth robot. Tra Vu, OhmniLabs’ COO, joined us through the robot’s screen, telling us how they leveraged the Zoom developer platform to create a robot that can be used in healthcare, manufacturing, retail, and other industries.  
  • Government: In addition to agency or ministry communications, our platform can help support video-enabled courtrooms, new services for constituents and communities, and search-and-rescue operations — all new use cases we’re exploring for our government customers. 
  • Financial services: We want to equip financial services institutions with the ability to provide a menu of options for customers. From video-based ATMs to on-demand loan officers and tellers to mobile banking, we want to explore the ways we can make the entire customer journey seamless from start to finish. 
    • Insurance: During an emergency or weather event, a claims adjuster can use video-enabled drones to conduct remote damage inspection.
  • Manufacturing: Enhance product development with real-time whiteboarding, chat, live translation, and more. You can also streamline operations through hardware such as RealWear headsets, which is a hands-free, voice-enabled solution for remote repair and maintenance. For example, Walmart Mexico is standardizing distribution center processes with RealWear’s Zoom-enabled headsets.
  • Media and broadcasting: Multiple integrations support media and broadcasting on Zoom: 
    • IzzyCast by TroikaTronix allows remote media servers to exchange video, audio, and data across the world using Zoom’s Video SDK, powering both broadcast and performance-art use cases. 
    • Office Hours Global, a nonprofit focused on worldwide media education, has built an automated production system on top of Zoom’s Liminal Apps to produce nearly 1,000 episodes of their daily Q&A show. 
    • CANVAS from Immersive Design Studios has built an integration that sent Zoom participants and interactions to the main stage of Zoomtopia this year. 
    • The SPX Graphics App uses the Zoom Apps Layers API to create contextual imagery with reactive animations, bringing broadcast-quality graphics directly into the Zoom experience. 

Analysts’ perspectives on the applications of UCaaS 

I was joined by Irwin Lazar, president and principal analyst at Metrigy, and Zeus Kerravala, founder and principal analyst at ZK Research, for our industry analyst session to discuss how you can mix elements of our platform with partner capabilities to unearth new use cases and extend traditional benefits. 

Irwin and Zeus chatted about how the UCaaS industry has evolved to get us to this point, speaking to the role this technology can play in different scenarios and how it can create impactful outcomes.

“It’s not just a set of features, it’s a set of capabilities that I can build into a client, apps, or devices so that I can work or act however I want,” Zeus said.

The new reality of retail

Our own Charlie Thomlinson, retail industry sales lead in Australia/New Zealand, and Jared Allen, technical sales architect, were joined by Shane Lenton, CIO at Cue Clothing, to reflect on the current retail trends we’re seeing. What started as a pivot to video in the face of COVID-19 has now resulted in a seamless and comprehensive virtual buying experience that’s remaining a post-pandemic preference — an approach that Cue Clothing adopted even before COVID.

Shane explained the origin story of Cue Clothing’s video commerce initiative: a shopping trip with his wife. When she wanted to go into the city to refresh her wardrobe, he thought, “there’s got to be a better way than driving into the city, finding a parking spot, what have you.” From there, he set out to turn this idea into a reality, which led him to Zoom. Using our platform to connect team members and customers virtually and augmenting those interactions with the Brauz booking engine for secure transactions, Shane’s adoption of an end-to-end platform helped Cue Clothing remain resilient and profitable during lockdown and beyond. 

Supporting safety and speed on the factory floor

For our manufacturing session, I hopped on with Rama Oruganti, chief product officer at RealWear, and Jay Mcardle, senior director of product management at HP-Poly, to talk through how video-enabled hardware devices can elevate manufacturing operations, improve quality and safety, reduce time-to-market, and more. 

Both spoke to how video-enabled technology has served as a linchpin for manufacturing organizations. As Rama noted, “[It’s important to] retain and share knowledge when the global workforce is fragmented but needs real-time interactions, and we’re addressing that challenge through partners like Zoom. Minimize travel and maximize real-time knowledge-sharing.”

Jay added, “We’ve seen a number of manufacturing transformations. People come to us and say ‘I need to be able to show my customers what their showrooms are going to look like, so how do I do that virtually and in an immersive experience?’ We provide the technology that helps enable that.”

Meet your people where they are 

Whether you’re innovating for a retail or manufacturing organization, or trying to provide new services to students or your community, it’s important to meet your people where they are. These sessions highlighted what’s possible when you identify the communication channels that your people prefer and provide them with opportunities for genuine connection. From there, additional benefits such as customer loyalty, employee engagement, and operational efficiency come naturally. 

Check out all the emerging vertical Zoomtopia 2022 sessions in our on-demand library.

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