What do you think of competition? What sets you apart? What do you have to say about competition from India, more specifically JioMeet?
We have been dealing with competition since 2011, when the company was founded. We have had to deal with very large incumbents in the marketplace from an early timeframe. We view competition as a good thing. It only spurs us to focus on what we can controlour innovation and our ability to deliver happiness to our customers.
It takes a lot for us to deliver Zoom in the way it is: a very easy to use, high quality, video collaboration service. And as I mentioned, the architecture is very important. The know-how around the globally distributed network that we have, even the user interface, the simplicity, the feature set, etc. These are all things that we agonise over and have agonised over in our development. And really take feedback from our customers to heartboth our free customers all the way to our paid customers.
I would say there is no one thing that makes Zoom special. I think it is a combination of all of that and an intensely focussed and driven employee base that really cares for its customer and its community. And I think that has helped us up to this point address competitive threats, and it will help us going forward.
About JioMeet, to be honest, I havent looked at the product. But I will say the factors that help us compete, you know, historically are going to be the factors that help us compete going forward, we are focussed on delivering a very secure, very reliable, and very easy to use product. And that we are going to focus on what we can control.
Having said that competition just makes you more hungry. There should be no difference to how that impacts Zoom today as it has impacted Zoom years before as well and all along.
There is speculation about Zoom being a Chinese company. Could you tell us something about its origins?
I will just say that Zoom is not a Chinese company. We are listed on the Nasdaq and our headquarters are here in San Jose. Our founder [Yuan] may be ethnically Chinese, but hes an American citizen. He's been in this country since 1997. His three kids go to the local schools. His life has largely been American by choice.
We were set up with the intention to provide workplace collaboration services, for businesses, and with the view that, if we can provide video conferencing or video collaboration services to enterprises. That would be sort of the holy grail for us. At the end of December, we had around 10 million daily meeting participants. And by the end of April we had 300 million daily meeting participants, and that has been the significant shift during the pandemic.
A lot of it are schools. Education has always had a big value for our company. Erics core passion in education, but it's also our employees core passion. We did a ground-up survey of our employees and education was one of the top three initiatives. So, it made sense when the pandemic hit, to offer countries across the world, the opportunity to have free service for schools.
I think I noticed the difference when we offered K through 12 services for free in the U.S. Suddenly everybody knew about Zoom. We started to get a lot of different use-cases that we had probably not anticipated, because largely we are focussed on enterprises. And the challenge we face going forward is how do we embrace and continue to allow to flourish these various use-cases.
Zoom was made for the enterprise, but individuals took to it in droves. Did problems such as Zoombombing and the like crop up because it wasnt being used the way it was envisaged to be?
Zoom was originally developed for enterprise use and has been confidently selected for complete deployment by a large number of institutions globally, following security reviews of our user, network, and datacentre layers. However, we saw more participation from standalone users, who have been using the platform to connect to their family, friends, and colleagues; increased usage by schools to continue the education processes, etc. A lot of such users are unaware of various security measures one should adopt while on a virtual platform, leading to issues like meeting bombing.
Zoom has recently launched the latest version, Zoom 5.0, that delivers one of our most advanced security enhancements to date with support for AES 256-bit GCM encryption, which provides added protection for meeting data and greater resistance to tampering. The version provides users with features like reporting a user, new encryption icon, and enhanced data centre information which allows more flexibility and security to users.
Let us talk about end-to-end encryption (E2EE) and endless speculation about whether it would be offered to free users. How do you end the speculation?
Well, let me end it right now. We are in the development process for end-to-end encryption. We have already announced that were going to have a limited beta. And then we are going to continue working on rolling out this product through the end of the year. It will be the first end-to-end encryption feature available on video collaboration. Its very hard to do and then it will be the first. What were trying to accomplish is to have in Zoom formats or Zoom scale I want to be very clear that it will be available for all customers across the platform, both paid and free. Were still working out the details, but we will probably deploy some sort of a one-time risk-based authentication for free users that use E2EE.
But at the end of the day, it is extremely important that we provide an opportunity for our customers to have communications that they believe are private and secure. I want to just make sure that youre aware that today even without E2EE, when our customers are using the application and are on the parts of the application that are controlled by Zoom, they have AES 256-bit GCM encryption, which is industry leading today.
All Zoom users will continue to use AES 256 GCM transport encryption as the default encryption, while E2EE will be an optional feature. This is because it limits some meeting functionality, such as the ability to include traditional PSTN phone lines or SIP/H.323 hardware conference room systems. Hosts will toggle E2EE on or off on a per-meeting basis. And account administrators can enable and disable E2EE at the account and group level.
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