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Zoom makes a big bet on AI with investment in Anthropic

Bynewsmagzines

May 16, 2023
Zoom makes a big bet on AI with investment in Anthropic


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Zoom is going all in on generative AI. After announcing a partnership with OpenAI in March, the enterprise communication company today said it is teaming up with AI startup Anthropic to integrate Anthropic’s Claude AI assistant into Zoom’s productivity platform. The company has also made an investment of an undisclosed amount in Google-backed Anthropic through its global investment arm.

The partnership, a part of Zoom’s federated approach to AI, comes as Microsoft continues to roll out AI-powered smarts in Teams, Google brings AI into Workspace and Salesforce focuses on Slack GPT. 

However, Zoom says it will first incorporate Claude to evolve its omnichannel contact center offerings before moving on to other segments of the platform. It did not share when or how the broader integration would be executed.

Zoom’s Contact Center is a video-first support hub that improves customer support for enterprises. It includes multiple products, including Zoom Virtual Agent and Zoom Workforce Management.

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With the Anthropic partnership, Zoom plans to integrate Claude across the entire Contact Center portfolio to build self-service features that not only improve end-user outcomes but also enable superior agent experiences. 

For instance, it will be able to understand customers’ intent from their inputs and guide them to the best solution, and provide actionable insights that managers can use to coach agents.

“Anthropic’s Constitutional AI model is primed to provide safe and responsible integrations for our next-generation innovations, beginning with the Zoom Contact Center portfolio,” said Smita Hashim, chief product officer at Zoom. “With Claude guiding agents toward trustworthy resolutions and powering self-service for end users, companies will be able to take customer relationships to another level.”

Moving ahead, Zoom Contact Center will also use Claude to provide the right resources to agents, enabling them to deliver improved customer service, a company spokesperson told VentureBeat. They added that Claude’s capabilities will be expanded across the Zoom platform — which includes Team Chat, Meetings, Phone and Whiteboard — but did not share specific details.

The federated approach

The partnership with Anthropic is Zoom’s latest move in its federated approach to AI, where it is using its own proprietary AI models along with those from leading AI companies and select customers’ own models.

“With this flexibility to incorporate multiple types of models, our goal is to provide the most value for our customers’ diverse needs. These models are also customizable, so they can be tuned to a given company’s vocabulary and scenarios for better performance,” Hashim said in a blog post.

Zoom has already been working with OpenAI for IQ, its conversational intelligence product. In fact, back in March, Zoom announced multiple AI-powered capabilities for the product with OpenAI, including the ability to generate draft messages and emails and provide summaries for chat threads. The capabilities started rolling out for select customers in April.

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