IT Voice: Before we dive into the world of Zoom, tell us a little about your journey into the tech industry?
Vishal: My experience in the tech industry spans over 20 years, marked by diverse roles and experiences. Currently serving as the Channel Head for India & SAARC at Zoom, I spearhead the management of new and existing channel partners for Zoom in India, and my primary responsibility is to expand our partner ecosystem in the region. In this role, I engage closely with indirect sales, value-added resellers, service providers, and independent software vendors (ISVs), guiding them on how to leverage Zoom’s platform for business growth. Prior to joining Zoom, I was at Cisco Systems. During my 17-year tenure there, I held key positions such as Partner Account Manager and Manager for Channels & Service Sales in the India & SAARC region.
My academic background encompasses a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Information Technology from the University of Technology, Sydney, which provided me with a strong foundation for navigating the complexities of the tech industry. Throughout my career, I’ve been passionate about the channel business, recognizing its pivotal role in scaling partner relationships and fostering collaborative growth. With these experiences and insights, I now contribute to driving strategic partnerships at Zoom, ensuring our platform reaches and empowers businesses across India and SAARC.
IT Voice: Share some specific examples of how Zoom is supporting its channel partners to help them build a profitable business?
Vishal: At Zoomtopia 2023, Zoom unveiled the next evolution of the Zoom Up Partner Program — a holistic partner development and reward model which will be available to all partner types. This 2.0 version of the Zoom Up Partner Program is scheduled to launch in early 2024 and will include:
- Revamped Partner Levels: To better align rewards with the level of investment partners make in Zoom, Zoom Up will launch three new levels: “Silver,” “Gold,” and “Platinum.”
- Silver: Partners can easily onboard to the Zoom Up program with the completion of the Foundation’s accreditations in just a few hours of training.
- Gold: They can then move up to the “Gold” level with a demonstration of knowledge depth within one product by achieving a product competency.
- Platinum: At the highest tier of the program, Partners achieve the “Platinum” level by proving knowledge and skills across the Zoom portfolio by obtaining multiple product competencies, a demonstration of both breadth and depth of expertise.
- Existing partners will automatically transition to their corresponding level at launch and will immediately have the opportunity to move up the levels.
- Rewards for Partner Investment: This evolution of the Zoom Up Partner Program will provide significantly greater rewards in terms of profitability, access to resources, and Zoom investments. Partner rewards are tiered in accordance with the Zoom Up level achieved, which provides in-kind, stackable benefits aligned to both partners’ investment and performance — the epitome of a true Zoom-and-partner value exchange.
Zoom has also unlocked new partner benefits and resources, such as the Partner Customer Success Program and the Partner Support Program, empowering our partners with control of the customer support relationship and allowing a faster time to resolution, overall improving the customer/partner experience. The Partner Licensing (NFR) Program provides them with comprehensive collections of internal-use licenses, so partners can readily utilize Zoom’s solutions and effectively demonstrate them to customers.
IT Voice: Could you elaborate on the role of the partner ecosystem in shaping Zoom’s evolution into an all-in-one intelligent collaboration platform, and how it has made connecting easier, more immersive, and more dynamic for businesses and individuals?
Vishal: Zoom’s diverse partner network is core to Zoom’s foundation and plays a critical role in delivering exceptional solutions and opportunities to customers around the world. Providing a simple yet comprehensive journey for partners to elevate their practices is vital to the success of Zoom, its partners, and its customers. Our partners that sell or refer Zoom, as well as partners that we innovate with (technology partnerships, ISVs, etc.), are critical as Zoom continues to grow as a platform. Zoom is a solution that drives change, and change requires management — partners can assist customers with those changes. The Zoom Up Partner Program is centered around empowering partners to grow their practice alongside Zoom, providing the highest level of solution and service for their customers, and achieving greater rewards and profitability.
IT Voice: How are ISV partners leveraging Zoom’s API and SDK to create applications and products, and what advantages does this offer to Zoom’s users?
Vishal: In addition to the previously mentioned customer use cases, like Olive Living, Cypeer, and BrightCHAMPS, Zoom helped Shyft scale 10x by encouraging global users to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Shyft was empowered to create a more intuitive and reliable video experience on its platform while expanding to new markets with Zoom. Skylark Drones has recently integrated Zoom Video SDK with their Drone Software Platform, Drone Mission Ops, bringing forth a new level of connectivity between the skies and the screen.
AccioJobs, an edtech startup, is revolutionising the way engineering students learn and upskill by integrating Zoom’s Meeting SDK and Video SDK into their product. Zoom has proven to be a game-changer for AccioJob, enabling the startup to improve both the student experience and its business bottom line.
IT Voice: Can you provide some insights into the ways developers are utilizing the solutions and tools available through the Zoom Developer Platform to enhance the Zoom experience for users?
Vishal: With Zoom’s Developer Platform, developers are equipped to reimagine their own app or platform’s user experience by integrating Zoom’s core video and audio technology seamlessly. This enables them to craft white-label, video-based applications that cater to diverse verticals and use cases while retaining their unique branding and native user interfaces. Additionally, developers have the flexibility to embed either specific components or entire Zoom Meetings and Webinar experiences directly into their applications, platforms, or services. This integration capability enables a seamless and immersive user experience, enhancing engagement and satisfaction.
Zoom’s offering encompasses three key developer solutions: the Video SDK, Meeting SDK, and an extensive suite of APIs, with a focus on building and embedding functionalities. The Video SDK provides developers with essential tools, enabling them to create cross-platform video-based apps tailored to specific industries and user requirements. On the other hand, the Meeting SDK, already adopted by sectors such as education, healthcare, and banking, allows developers to extend the simplicity, reliability, and global familiarity of Zoom to their customers.
Furthermore, through Zoom Apps, developers can effortlessly incorporate their preferred applications into Zoom Meetings and Webinars, addressing unique requirements, enhancing user satisfaction, and ultimately contributing to the expansion of businesses. By leveraging these solutions, developers are crafting multi-platform applications that address unique user needs, enhancing overall satisfaction and contributing significantly to business expansion.
The flexibility and capabilities offered by the Zoom Developer Platform empower developers to create customized, seamless, and enriching experiences for users across various industries.
IT Voice: In what ways is Zoom working to drive innovation for its channel partners, and how does this benefit the broader collaboration ecosystem?
Vishal: India is a strategic market for Zoom, and Zoom is committed to the region. We see great opportunity in the communications and collaboration space, and will continue to support the growing enterprise and SMB segments, across multiple industries including banking, healthcare, and education, as well as government and citizen services. In an ever-changing work landscape, effective collaboration and communication tools remain important. We recognize that business leaders in India encounter fresh challenges daily, such as managing hybrid work models, enhancing engagement among customers and employees, harnessing generative AI for empowerment, or simplifying IT solutions. Customer expectations are also evolving. Today, customers expect seamless, personalized, engaging interactions across all touchpoints. With teams more dispersed than ever, creating connected workflows is important for businesses to deliver satisfaction to both customers and agents.
Our latest innovations announced at Zoomtopia demonstrate our commitment to evolving our platform in ways that empower limitless human connection, solve real business problems, and strengthen customer relationships. At its core, Zoom is an all-in-one collaboration platform that makes connecting easier, more immersive, and more dynamic. The Zoom platform was built for all kinds of work — not just remote work. We support businesses of all sizes around the world that span the workforce, from fully in-office, fully remote, and hybrid to structured hybrid. The platform is designed to support limitless connections through flexible solutions that meet people where they are.
Zoom’s speed of innovation meets the modern pace of business, stays ahead of customers’ evolving needs, and delivers exceptional customer experiences. We believe that our customer-first approach and our rapid product innovation are increasingly offering that single pane of glass that businesses and employees want and need.
IT Voice: What does the future channel roadmap and plans for Zoom look like, and how will these plans continue to redefine collaboration and support your partners?
Vishal: In India and SAARC, our partners include Rahi Systems, Tata Teleservices, Savex Technologies, and TechUnited Solutions. We continue to expand our reach with the appointment of Inflow Technologies as our distributor for the SAARC region. Zoom is committed to supporting our partners and working together to drive continued momentum and growth in the region.
It’s not just Meetings that keep our employees connected and efficient — it’s Team Chat, Zoom Rooms, Zoom Events, and other AI-powered solutions on our platform. Zoom is focused on delivering limitless human connection on one platform, and generative AI is a key component of that. We are transcending the hype in generative AI by delivering tangible products, and we have a strong roadmap for further innovation underpinned by a commitment to responsible AI. Products and features like Zoom Intelligent Director, Zoom Whiteboard, and Workspace Reservation are just a few examples of how Zoom is leading the way in modern work, and we’ll continue to innovate and execute our robust roadmap as businesses navigate this new environment.
When we announced Zoom AI Companion, the company’s generative AI assistant, in September 2023, it debuted with Smart Recording, meeting summary, in-meeting questions, and Team Chat compose. Since then, we’ve launched a new Whiteboard capability to help generate ideas on a digital whiteboard and organize them into categories so teams can get to work faster, and expanded the availability of Meeting and Team Chat thread summarization capabilities to Zoom higher education and healthcare customers. Both AI Companion meeting summary and in-meeting questions capabilities will support a total of 32 new languages, including Hindi, Tamil and Telugu, in preview. Providing the best value to our customers across our platform is core to our mission, which is why we made AI Companion available at no additional cost with the paid services assigned to eligible Zoom user accounts (may not be available for all regions or industry verticals). Zoom AI Companion has already reached a milestone less than two months after its launch, with more than 125,000 accounts using AI Companion, which have generated more than one million meeting summaries. Zoom also announced further enhancements to existing capabilities for AI Companion. We continue to introduce new AI capabilities at Zoom speed, so more of our customers can get the most out of Zoom’s AI innovations.
All of our product innovation has a unified goal: to help streamline the workday through effective communication and collaboration tools. We’re committed to evolving our platform in ways that empower limitless human connection and solve real business problems, and we are excited for Zoom’s future as we continue to enable seamless workflows and empower modern collaboration with new products and features. We aim to deliver an experience that enables a new kind of productivity — one that brings the best tools and applications for modern, engaging collaboration into one destination.