Zoom announced Wednesday the general availability of the Zoom Apps feature within its meeting solution, according to a release. The updates are designed to improve productivity and collaboration "as the world embraces hybrid work," said CEO Eric Yuan.
The collaboration software provider said the apps feature lets users embed third-party apps within Zoom Meetings. Asana, Dropbox and SurveyMonkey are among the first software tool providers to deploy their apps within the Zoom platform.
The Zoom Apps capability differs from the previously existing Zoom App marketplace, the company told CIO Dive in an email. Zoom Apps let users enable third-party apps within Zoom Meetings, whereas the Zoom App Marketplace integrates Zoom into third-party apps.
In the hybrid work era, employers can be expected to support employees operating from anywhere, and under flexible time. The tools needed to support this framework confront the issue of context switching.
Workers lose productivity — to the tune of six work hours every week — while switching back and forth between digital apps, according to one estimate. For 44% of employees, siloed digital tools are making it difficult to determine if work is being duplicated, and nearly half say the effort leads to mistakes on the job.
Amid a complex tool ecosystem, IT workers are overwhelmed. Remote worker management sits atop their most pressing challenges, alongside device management and cost of remote work solutions.
The changing work landscape has caused a tussle for the protagonist role as the leading workplace tech tool. Many vendors have added features to centralize communications sprawl and stand out from the competitors. Slack, for one, got to work on becoming a workflow and conversation integration in the aftermath of its acquisition by Salesforce. Slack launched an external communication capability amid the push to replace email last year.
Other vendors followed suit. In June, Microsoft added features onto its Teams product to "chat, meet, collaborate on apps, share, and co-author documents in real-time."
The push to embed and integrate goes all the way up to operating systems. Windows 11, the most recent major operating system upgrade from Microsoft, embedded a Teams chat window right on the taskbar.
Zoom Apps will help the company "maintain its place as the core home for where today's employees work, even when they go back to the office part-time," said Carrie Marshall, CEO and founder of Talk Social to Me.
"It was important that Zoom take this step to maintain its position as more than a simple video tool," said Marshall in an email. "In my view, it's a direct attack on Microsoft Teams."