Zoom looks to transcend AI hype with Companion

Collaboration and comms technology firm makes further addition to comms platform to help improve collaboration and productivity through generative AI-powered assistant

Just days after it released the Notes workspace product to create and collaborate on before, during and after meetings, Zoom Video Communications has bolstered further users’ conferencing options by including its generative artificial intelligence (AI) digital assistant Zoom AI Companion, formerly known as Zoom IQ, at no additional cost for customers with the paid services in their user accounts.

And as it was making this enhancement to the collaboration platform, the company also announced that Zoom IQ for Sales, its conversational intelligence software, would be renamed Zoom Revenue Accelerator.

Zoom AI Companion is said to reinforce the company’s vision to deliver “limitless” human connection on one platform, empowering people by increasing their productivity, enhancing their skills and improving team effectiveness.

Zoom’s approach to AI is to deliver high-quality results and lower costs by dynamically incorporating its own large language models (LLMs), along with third-party models such as Meta Llama 2, OpenAI and Anthropic. Zoom does not use any customer audio, video, chat, screen sharing, attachments, or other communications-like customer content – such as poll results, whiteboards, or reactions – to train its own or third-party artificial intelligence models.

AI Companion is turned off by default, so account owners and administrators control whether to enable these AI features for their accounts. Zoom provides administrators and users control and visibility when AI features are being used or activated. Zoom believes it is taking a leadership position by putting its customers’ privacy needs first and enabling them to use AI Companion and its capabilities with confidence.

Based on this approach, described as unique, Zoom AI Companion is intended to deliver real-time digital assistant capabilities to help users improve productivity and work together more effectively. Zoom said customers could expect to see AI Companion throughout the entire platform, with additional features on the roadmap.

With Zoom Meetings, users can watch recordings through highlights and smart chapters, and review summaries and next steps, so they can catch up on a missed meeting. In a meeting, if enabled by the meeting host, attendees can catch up without disrupting the meeting flow by discreetly submitting questions via the in-meeting AI Companion side panel to receive an AI-generated answer on what they missed.

Zoom Whiteboard users will get help from AI Companion with generating and categorising ideas, and by spring 2024, users will be able to use their whiteboard content to generate images and populate whiteboard templates.

Since introducing generative AI in early June, Zoom said “thousands of companies have benefited from free trials of Team Chat compose and Meeting summary”. From autumn 2023, Zoom plans to “significantly” expand its generative AI offering across the platform with the launch of AI Companion.

“We are transcending the hype in generative AI by delivering tangible products and disrupting the industry’s pricing model, making it easy for businesses and people like you and me to leverage generative AI’s full benefits in our day-to-day work,” said Smita Hashim, chief product officer at Zoom.

“We were founded on doing what’s right for our customers, and we firmly believe that offering Zoom AI Companion at no additional cost to our paid Zoom user accounts delivers tremendous value as we all navigate the challenges facing us today,” added Hashim. “We are excited to see our customers and users start using AI Companion and about our strong roadmap for further innovation underpinned by a commitment to responsible AI.”

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