- RingCentral, a $18 billion company providing cloud-based messaging, video and phone services, announced the release of a new video product developed using WebRTC, the technology that powers Google Hangouts.
- “We’re a leader in unified communications as a service (UCaaS) and video’s now becoming a very important part of that,” RingCentral CEO Vlad Schmunis told Business Insider.
- The new product is significant for the company, which previously had its own proprietary software for phone calls and messaging services but relied on Zoom to host its video-calls.
- Now, the new product will shift how the market views the dynamics between RingCentral and Zoom, an industry analyst told Business Insider.
- As cities have shifted into remote work amid the coronavirus outbreak, RingCentral has found itself suddenly catering to a much larger market than its original enterprise customers, including schools, doctors and even senators.
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RingCentral, a leader in the cloud-based communications market, has been thrust into the spotlight along with a handful of other tech companies like Slack and Zoom over the past few weeks, as more and more people are increasingly forced to work from home.
And the $18 billion company is stepping up to its newfound importance with the release of a new video-conferencing feature built using Google’s Web RTC, the open-source software that powers Google Hangouts.
That’s a big step forward for the company, which previously used Zoom to power its video-chat solution while its messaging and phone services were developed using its own proprietary technology.
While the company isn’t ending its partnership with Zoom — RingCentral customers will still have the option to either host Zoom calls or RingCentral Video calls on the app — RingCentral CEO Vlad Shmunis views the move as a key move for the company.
“We’re a $1 billion revenue company and growing,” Shmunis told Business Insider. “We’re a leader in unified communications as a service (UCaaS) and video’s now becoming a very important part of that.”
Roopam Jain, an industry analyst at Frost & Sullivan, called the announcement extremely significant for the company, which had made its name as a market leader based on the strength of its voice and messaging services and its ability to tap into a market looking for high-value offerings on the cloud.
Jain views RingCentral and Zoom in a hybrid between competition and partnership, or “co-opetition,” as the industry has coined it. Although the two have been partners since 2018, Zoom shifted the companies’ dynamics with the release of its phone service, Zoom Phone. RingCentral’s new video offerings may shift the partnership’s dynamics again, Jain said.
“After this announcement, we see them as pure competitors though they may continue to partner together. The dynamics are going to change,” Jain said.
Differentiating itself from Zoom
RingCentral says its new video solution is distinct from Zoom because of its integrations with a wide range of outside tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Google’s G Suite.
The new video app is able to support over a hundred people on the call, RingCentral’s Shmunis noted, allowing a variety of different meetings to be able to take place, from classes to team meetings to one-on-one medical appointments.
So far, the product has gone through beta-testing with several different partners, including PacDental, which used the product to offer telehealth services during the COVID-19 crisis, RingCentral says.
A growing market
In a new work-from-home world, video-chat has gained even more importance — in fact, Business Insider’s interview with the RingCentral team was conducted through its new product.
Investors have taken notice of its newfound importance: RingCentral and a handful of other enterprise technology companies like Microsoft, Slack, and Zoom have all outperformed the US indices over the past few weeks. RingCentral’s stock price has grown over 21% so far in 2020.
And the RingCentral leadership team says the company has experienced a massive surge in customers and app traffic. The volume of people downloading RingCentral’s mobile app has surged by 300% on a week-by-week basis, RingCentral President and COO Anand Eswaran told Business Insider.
RingCentral already occupies a 25-30% market share — but the market for this kind of communication software has been rapidly expanding during the coronavirus crisis. Colleges and schools are using video-chat. Young office workers are holding virtual happy hours on it. Some professions are even being introduced to video-chat for the first time, Eswaran said.
“There’s a consultant of doctors in Pennsylvania who just rolled out RingCentral to offer pain management to their patients,” Eswaran said. “We are working with senators who are suddenly caught in a point where they have to work from home, and they don’t have any solution— this is not even something they’ve ever considered.”
“What’s been great to see is the impact you can have industry by industry, and person by person,” Eswaran added.