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Zoom announces AI-based collaboration smart companion

Conferencing and communications company uses OpenAI technologies to offer what it claims will be a unique federated approach to artificial intelligence based on flexibility

In the latest expansion of its product portfolio, and in particular its smart companion, which has recently seen sales analysis functionality added to its core, Zoom Video Communications has added to the feature set of its Zoom IQ offering to support worker collaboration using OpenAI, and bolster what it calls its federated approach to artificial intelligence (AI) based on flexibility.

Putting the launch into context, the company said that in today’s work environment, workers find it increasingly difficult to balance workday priorities between emails, team chats, meetings and project management tasks. It added that teams are also looking for ways to better co-create effectively in real-time.

“Zoom has long built AI solutions into our products to empower customers to be more productive,” said Zoom chief product officer Smita Hashim. “We are excited to bring many more capabilities with new large language models. Our unique approach to AI will give customers the flexibility they want and help significantly improve collaboration and customer relations.”

Zoom’s federated approach to AI is based on using its own proprietary AI models, those from leading AI companies – such as OpenAI – and selecting customers’ own models.

With this flexibility to incorporate multiple types of models, Zoom said its goal is to provide the most value for its customers’ diverse needs with models that can also be customised to perform better for a customer, based on their vocabulary and requirements. The result of the integration is said to be the ability to unlock people’s potential by summarising chat threads, organising ideas, drafting content for chats, emails and whiteboard sessions, and creating meeting agendas.

Zoom IQ email compose functionality is designed to harness the power of generative AI so users can get email draft suggestions in response to the conversational context from prior Zoom Meetings, Zoom Phone calls and email threads. It will be available initially in Zoom IQ for Sales.

A Zoom IQ meeting summary facility will allow users to generate a summary, capture next steps, and share via Team Chat, Zoom Calendar and email without recording the conversation, meaning those who didn’t attend will no longer have to sit through lengthy recordings. 

Read more about the new normal of work

As it was making its IQ expansion, Zoom also announced it had enhanced other products to make teamwork more meaningful and strengthen customer relationships.

The former Zoom Spots, now Zoom Huddles, is a video-enabled virtual coworking space designed to foster ad-hoc discussions and relationship building, to replicate the “working alongside” aspect of an open office and encourage free-form video-first conversations.

Soon to be available in beta, Intelligent Director uses multiple cameras in a Zoom Room to determine the best angle of the individuals in the room to display within the meeting and provide what is claimed to be a “best-in-class” experience for remote participants.

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