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Amazon, Facebook, and Google today announced Zoom video calls are coming to their smart displays in a shift that could shake up how people receive video calls and interact with AI assistants. This is the first non-native video offering for Facebook Portal and Google Nest products. Currently, Facebook Portal users have to make calls using Messenger or WhatsApp, and Google Nest users are only able to make calls with Duo and Meet. Zoom is also one of the first non-native video call services for Amazon smart displays — the Amazon Echo Show got Skype calls in 2018.
Zoom video calls will be available on Portal devices in September and on the Amazon Echo Show and a range of Assistant-enabled smart displays by the end of the year, a Zoom spokesperson told VentureBeat.
Bringing Zoom to smart displays could leverage the video calling service’s recent rapid growth and the fact that smart displays are already in millions of homes. Zoom has grown rapidly as the global pandemic forced many to work from home. In April, Zoom’s daily meeting participants hit 300 million, up from just 10 million in December. (Unlike daily active users, “meeting participants” can count the same user more than once.)
Today’s news follows last month’s launch of the Zoom for Home brand, which focuses on bringing Zoom to devices like smart displays. Zoom Room Appliances, hardware Zoom sells for controlling video calls in a workplace setting, launched last year.
Successors to the smart speaker, typical smart displays have a video camera, screen, microphone array, and an AI assistant that responds to queries with voice or visuals that appear on the display. Canalys estimated that 6.3 million smart display units shipped worldwide in Q3 2019.
With more people working from home, the Zoom integration continues to blur the line between enterprise services and AI assistants marketed primarily for getting things done at home and on the go. Prior to the pandemic, Amazon and Facebook debuted enterprise versions of their smart speakers or displays, with the launch of Amazon for Business in 2017 and a Workplace from Facebook integration last fall. Alongside Zoom, Facebook is opening Portal, Portal+, and Portal Mini devices to BlueJeans, GoToMeeting, and Webex.
Microsoft has not released a smart display but is attempting to pivot AI assistant Cortana to do more in the workplace. As part of that effort, Microsoft killed off third-party Cortana skills earlier this year and last fall launched Cortana in Microsoft 365 apps like Outlook to do things like read people’s emails and schedule meetings.
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