This is the second blog in the series Disruptive Forces: The Leaders Speak.
Profile: Eric Yuan is the Founder and CEO of Zoom Video Communications. Prior to founding Zoom, Eric was Corporate Vice President of Engineering at Cisco, where he was responsible for Cisco’s collaboration software development.
Eric’s backstory: As one of the founding engineers and vice president of engineering at WebEx, Eric was the heart and soul of the WebEx product from 1997 to 2011. Eric proudly grew the WebEx team from 10 engineers to more than 800 worldwide, and contributed to revenue growth from $0 to more than $800M. Eric is a named inventor on 10 issued and 21 pending patents in real time collaboration. Eric is a graduate of the Stanford University Executive Program.
I would like to thank Zoom CEO Eric Yuan for participating in this next series on Disruptive Forces in AV/IT.
CM: Eric, thank you very much for your participation. Please tell us about your personal journey with Zoom.
EY: I have always been passionate about video communications. Starting from when my girlfriend (now my wife) and I were studying at separate colleges; I wished there was a better way than telephone calls to communicate with her. This lead to my helping to found WebEx in 1997. WebEx is a great company, but over time I began to want to create a new platform, one that seamlessly combines HD video conferencing, simple web meetings, and group chat. I knew I needed to hire the best of the best and start an agile company — Zoom — to make this happen. It has been amazing to see our company grow from 5 software engineers working in one room to over 90 employees in two countries, and 20,000 businesses and 25 million participants Zooming.
CM: Can you give us your perspective on the current state of AV/IT convergence?
EY: Remember when AV meant setting up a projector screen or tuning a microphone and IT meant troubleshooting your PC? Everything is connected now. This requires IT and AV professionals to take a step back, take a hard look at their infrastructure, and determine how they can best meet the needs of their company or university with integrated solutions that allow for communication and collaboration. Specifically, your organization’s network is the most important tool you have because it will soon be part of every meeting, class session, and project.
CM: How do you see cloud-driven strategies as being beneficial for your partners as well as the enterprise?
EY: The cloud is all about value. Instead of spending tens of thousands of dollars per end-point to get high quality video conferencing, customers can use their existing devices or put together affordable room systems such as ZoomPresence to connect to the cloud for the same, high quality experience. The cloud is also more scalable. Need to add more accounts, more rooms, more participants? The Zoom cloud can handle that no problem.
CM: With the escalating usage of mobile devices as well as BYOD programs in the enterprise, how do you see your application(s) fitting within that structure?
EY: We are at the forefront of BYOD and mobile video collaboration. From the moment we started to develop Zoom in 2011, we created it to work as well on the devices people already have in their pocket, particularly iOS and Android devices, as it does on H.323/SIP room systems and desktop computers. This is in contrast to most other services on the market who started as desktop or room systems, and then tried to create mobile apps as an afterthought, resulting in clunky, not user-friendly mobile experiences.
We didn’t want some unsatisfactory, skim milk version of Zoom running on mobile, so we gave our mobile platform most of the features of our desktop version, such as scheduling, screen sharing, co-annotation, chat, and optimized video and audio quality. We are continuing to innovate our mobile app to provide the best experiences for our on-the-go customers.
CM: Any last words for your partners as well as the rest of the industry?
EY: We at Zoom are so excited to be leading the video collaboration industry into the future, but we know we don’t do it alone. We have developed strong partnerships with hardware and SSO providers to provide more comprehensive meeting solutions, with resellers to build their portfolios and increase their sales, and with companies using Zoom for API and mobile SDK to create strong infrastructures for their video communications. We are always interested in developing new relationships so we can propel each other forward, all the while making better products for our customers.
Part III coming next week.