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Zoom released AI Companion for free to Zoom customers with paid accounts.
Zoom AI Companion became available on Sept. 5 to draft messages in Team Chat and generate summaries in Meetings. Zoom AI Companion in Meetings can also summarize topics discussed during the meeting without interrupting it and parse cloud recordings into highlights, summaries and next steps.
The video conferencing vendor also unveiled several other AI Companion capabilities that will be released in spring 2024, according to Zoom.
A virtual assistant for meetings
One new Zoom AI Companion capability helps users prep for meetings by gathering germane materials from Zoom and third-party apps.
This tool will help team members save time because they won't have to sift through various apps and file types, according to Raul Castanon, an analyst at S&P Global Market Intelligence's 451 Research.
Raul CastanonAnalyst, S&P Global Market Intelligence's 451 Research
"A feature that could prove particularly useful is pre-meeting preparation, which will surface relevant content including emails, chats, documents and third-party apps, helping users prepare for an upcoming meeting," Castanon said. "If these capabilities are executed as expected, they could be impactful for knowledge workers' productivity."
More support for meetings
Other new tools will assist users during and after meetings.
With AI Companion's in-meeting real-time support, Zoom users can present queries to AI Companion in real time during a meeting to go over main points and use AI Companion to compose responses to team members. Meeting participants can also address a problem raised during the meeting by filing a ticket to tech support.
After the meeting, users can rely on AI Companion for meeting summarization and outlining a to-do list in Team Chat or a third-party application.
Real-time speaking guide
AI Companion will also be able to give meeting participants advice on their speaking skills. Users can receive real-time feedback on their presence in meetings and tips on how they can improve their public speaking and conversation abilities.
Such guidance tools are variations of features already available in Zoom Revenue Accelerator, which offers a virtual coach for onboarding and training new sales team members, according to Castanon. These capabilities are also commonly used by contact center vendors to support agents, he added. However, with Zoom AI Companion for Meetings, the guidance relates to interacting with peers.
"It should provide meeting participants and presenters with real-time feedback on their participation, such as whether they are actively participating or quiet during meetings, interrupting other participants, or talking too fast, so they can adapt their presentation in real time," Castanon said.
It's also uncommon to have such capabilities available during a meeting, he added.
"In the case of real-time collaboration [meetings], it is a novelty," Castanon said.
The meeting tools are particularly useful, ZK Research analyst Zeus Kerravala said.
"I also like the pre- and post-meeting capabilities as people are generally not very strong in those areas," he said. "Some companies have that A-type person that does the pre- and post-meeting prep for the team. AI Companion can act as that for everyone."
Compared with competitor Microsoft Teams, Zoom has a more intuitive user interface, according to Kerravala.
"Microsoft Teams remains the most difficult collaboration tool, where Zoom excels at being easy to use," Kerravala said.
Mary Reines is a news writer covering customer experience and unified communications for TechTarget Editorial. Before TechTarget, Reines was arts editor at the Marblehead Reporter.