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Zoom Connector takes video conferencing service to Cisco hardware

Zoom is offering its cloud-based video conferencing service on Cisco hardware through its integration app, Zoom Connector. Zoom's service competes with Cisco WebEx.

In an attempt to expand in the large enterprise market, Zoom Video Communications Inc. recently added support for Cisco room systems in Zoom Connector, the company's integration tool for third-party video conferencing gear.

The move, announced last week, is significant because it gets Zoom's cloud-based conferencing service in front of the customer base of one of the largest video infrastructure vendors.

"[Zoom] is growing rapidly, but we haven't seen them all that much yet in the larger enterprise market," said Irwin Lazar, an analyst at Nemertes Research, based in Mokena, Ill. "This gives Zoom the ability to go to customers with an easier means of connecting their existing video systems."

Zoom has positioned itself as a provider of cloud-based video meetings that can run on companies' existing hardware. In May, the company announced that Zoom Connector would provide integration with Polycom video room systems.

The latest integration would position Zoom against Cisco's online meeting software, WebEx. "If Zoom can come in at a lower price than Webex, with similar ease-of-use, they have a chance to win over some of those Cisco customers," Lazar said.

Using Zoom Connector

Deploying Zoom Connector on Cisco hardware involves a self-service setup though a Zoom web application, said Simon Booth, lead project engineer at Zoom, based in San Jose, Calif. After installing Connector, people can start using Zoom services.

The process for joining a Zoom-powered meeting depends on the type of Cisco hardware, Booth said. For example, users of Cisco TelePresence Touch 10 -- a tablet-size desktop display for video conferencing -- only have to press a meeting button and then a join button to attend a prescheduled meeting. But if a person starts a meeting spontaneously, then the user would have to search through a directory to find it.

With Zoom Connector, companies can use Zoom services on Cisco SX, DX and MX series room systems, Booth said. Connector does not support the CTS, IX or MXP systems.

Zoom Connector costs $41.58 per month, per conferencing system. Zoom's video conferencing service starts at $12.49 per month for meetings of up to 100 people. 

Zoom provides high-quality video and audio to a mobile device, desktop or conference room system. The company has 650,000 paying and nonpaying users -- mainly in the education and tech space. 

The company raised $100 million in its latest round of funding, bringing Zoom's valuation to $1 billion. Investment firm Sequoia Capital led the funding, which also included Emergence Capital, AME Cloud Ventures and Qualcomm Ventures.

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