Zoomtopia 2021 Preview | What to Expect

Robert H Tambunan

Coming up on September 13th and 14th, Zoom will be holding its fifth annual Zoomtopia user event. Like last year, the 2021 Zoomtopia will be an all-digital event, which provides attendees access to a massive amount of content during and after the event. Since its inception, Zoomtopia has been a […]

Coming up on September 13th and 14th, Zoom will be holding its fifth annual Zoomtopia user event. Like last year, the 2021 Zoomtopia will be an all-digital event, which provides attendees access to a massive amount of content during and after the event.

Since its inception, Zoomtopia has been a popular event for Zoom’s customers, but one could make the argument that this is the most important Zoomtopia to date. All signs point to an indefinite period of hybrid work. Clearly, businesses need to understand the evolution of collaboration technology to enable a smooth transition from remote work to hybrid. This will be the key theme at Zoomtopia 2021, making this a critical event in the progress of digital transformation.

Zoomtopia 2021 Preview

Below is a preview of Zoomtopia and what attendees should be on the lookout for:

  • Hybrid work best practices. While it’s easy for everyone to talk about this topic, putting it into practice is a bigger challenge and Zoomtopia has an entire track dedicated to this topic. There are the product sessions, which will include topics such as Zoom phone, Zoom rooms and others. But the event also includes a session on company culture in a hybrid environment hosted by Zoom’s Chief People Officer, Lynne Oldham. There’s also a session on how to make virtual meetings better than an in person one. A can’t miss agenda item is the analyst panel on this topic featuring me as well as fellow analysts, Craig Durr (Wainhouse), Dave Michels (Talking Pointz) and Roopam Jain (Frost and Sullivan).
  • Vertical usage. One of the big lessons from the past 18 months is that not all Zoom usage is created equal. The way a K-12 uses Zoom is different than the way financial services does, which is different than the way healthcare uses it. This year’s Zoomtopia is loaded with vertical best practices and case studies. Some of the industries being represented are K-12, higher education, healthcare, legal, government, financial services, and others. I’ve always found these types of sessions to be a useful way of learning some tips and tricks to make Zoom work better in specific environments.
  • Zoom partners. The term “collaboration” is very broad, and no single vendor can provide all things collaboration. This makes a vendor’s ability to partner crucial to create a smooth work experience. Zoom has a very strong partner ecosystem and many of them will be at Zoomtopia, including DTEN, Dropbox, Logitech, Carahsoft, Neat, Yealink and AWS.
  • The future of events. One of the byproducts of hybrid work is the rise of hybrid events. As I look at my event calendar through the remainder of the year, a few are planned in person, but the majority are virtual. It’s worth noting that all the in-person events are hybrid and will contain a digital component. Zoomtopia does have few sessions on events, which can provide guidance and best practices. More interesting is that Zoomtopia 2021 is being held on the new Zoom Events, the company’s all-in-one platform for virtual events. In addition to keynotes and sessions, Zoom Events offers an exhibit hall, industry showcase and ability to customize.
  • Collaboration security. When the pandemic started, Zoom had a handful of security issues that it quickly resolved through internal innovation, acquisitions, and some key hires, such as its CISO Jason Lee, who held key security position at Salesforce and Microsoft. Since then, Zoom has been very transparent with security and has been a leader in the industry. If security is a concern for your organization, the Zoomtopia agenda contains several sessions on this topic, including a CISO panel led by Lee.
  • Zoom Apps. The shift to application platform is a major initiative for Zoom as it looks to enable developers and third-party software vendors to build on and integrate with Zoom. There are several sessions featuring the Zoom SDK, including an interesting case study of a company called TAB Fit, that used the Video SDK to connect a global community of students and trainers for live online and in person workouts. Use cases like this can help other developers understand what’s possible and stimulate new ideas.

One topic that many people have asked me about is contact center, given that Zoom recently announced its intent to acquire Five9. While I’m sure the topic of contact center and customer experience will be an important one for the event, don’t expect to hear anything about Five9, as the company legally can’t discuss it during the acquisition process.

Lastly, Zoom is holding a two-hour briefing for financial analysts. This is an audience that has mixed opinions on Zoom. Some believe that Zoom’s best days are behind them, given that vaccines are available and many businesses are planning a return to work. One important point for financial analysts to understand is that Zoom is not a work from home company, it’s a hybrid work company and this indefinite period of mixed remote workers and in office enables Zoom to sell more products to its customer base. I’m sure Zoom CEO Eric Yuan will cover this but it’s the most misunderstood point about the company from the financial audience.

Zoom has played a key role in helping organizations maintain high levels of productivity throughout the pandemic and that won’t change post COVID-19. While there have been four Zoomtopia’s before this, the 2021 version will certainly have a different look and feel given the larger role Zoom is playing in the world today.

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