Zoom.us announced this week that they will be offering a number of new services targeted at small to medium enterprise customers. This announcement definitely moves them closer to a commercial offering but it seems to lack one critical thing. The zoom.us approach is still a walled garden. By that I mean that the only way to talk to someone using a Zoom product is to use a zoom product. I understand that there may be a move afoot to rectify this situation with a gateway device that would convert to standard H.263 and SIP, but nothing has been announced.
Zoom.us have also modified their terms of service. Users of the free client can now have up to 40 minute multi-party calls where they used to be unlimited. Point to point calls however, are still unlimited.
“All existing users of our service prior to Jan 25, 2013 are able to host meetings for up to 25 people with unlimited minutes till Mar 1, 2013.”
Premium clients ($9.99/month) are available for both enterprise and education customers (0.99/Month), adding management features and cloud based enhanced services.
Zoom.us has also added an API in the form of a REST interface. A smart move on their part as this will enable third party development and integration. The API will provide a way for developers to integrate the zoom functionality into their web pages.
If you want to create a video communication system that spans multiple campuses and you are not concerned with B2B, Zoom.us does have a good selection of clients and a reasonable transport. With the addition of the hybrid cloud service and the meeting-connector, firewall traversal should not be a problem as long as the appropriate outbound ports are open.
The only real road block is inter-working with the standards based, legacy video systems. If zoom can address that, they have the potential to shake up the visual communications market.