The channel angle with this offering is really aimed at the Master Agent channel, as it is targeted at smaller customers.
Last fall, Zoom Video Communications introduced Zoom Rooms Appliances, their first purpose-built, turnkey appliance endpoints designed to make it easier to build out a full solution around Zoom Rooms. Today, they are extending that into a true Hardware-as-a-Service [HaaS] model with Zoom Hardware as a Service, which provides a choice of validating vendor hardware options. The channel angle here is limited to Zoom’s Master Agent channel however, since the offering is a simple turnkey one rather than the type of solution an integrator or Pro/AV reseller would deploy.
“We are announcing the launch of the Zoom HaaS program,” said Jeff Smith, Head of Zoom Rooms at Zoom Video Communications. “It enables customers to deploy Zoom Rooms and hardware easier than ever, and both gets around upfront costs and concerns about being locked in with a specific hardware vendor.”
Smith emphasized that while Zoom handles the financing here, compared to the appliances where financing was offering by the hardware vendor or another partner, Zoom Rooms Appliances isn’t just a financing program.
“In addition to the financing, there is a lot of integration,” he said. “The shipment status is now updated in the Zoom web portal. In addition, when you go to install the device, the device is now uniquely identified in your account so it can be installed in minutes.
“At the end of the three year commitment you ship them back without needing to depreciate them, and can either just return them or elect to get a new device.” Smith added.
Zoom Hardware as a Service bundles the pricing for the Zoom software and the hardware into a single invoice. DTEN, Neat, Poly, and Yealink are the vendors supported through the offering. Zoom provides all the support, as well as professional or managed services, if the customer is interested in those.
With Zoom providing all the services and support, their reseller and integrator partners will likely see little opportunity here for them – and they’d be right. It’s not purely a direct play for Zoom, as there is an opportunity for their Master Agent channel. But because Zoom Rooms Appliances is aimed at the SMB audience, especially the smaller part, and because it’s a pure turnkey offering for that space, it’s not likely to appeal to the higher value-add partners.
“For those kinds of channel partners who engage with us, there’s a lot of space in larger rooms that isn’t covered by our HaaS portfolio,” Smith said. “We go to market directly with this or through our master agent program because it is aimed directly at small and medium spaces.”
Down the line, Smith indicated that Zoom may well come up with as-a-Service offerings more suited to integrators and Pro/AV resellers.
“We are getting our feet wet with this,” he said. “Partners looking for high value- add will partner well with us.”