Slack has announced an expansion of one of its most popular features, which could give it a solid collision with the likes of Zoom.
At Dreamforce 2022, its parent company Salesforce’s annual conference, Slack announced that its impromptu meeting feature, Huddles, will now include support for video calling.
Designed to simulate informal office conversations, the Huddles feature is transitioning from its original audio-only format to more complete content. Users can now not only enable video, but also benefit from multi-person screen sharing, emoji reactions, and more.
eat or be eaten
The collaboration and videoconferencing software market has exploded since the transition to remote and hybrid work began. The biggest beneficiaries include companies like Zoom and Slack, as well as Microsoft and Google, both of which offer comprehensive suites of productivity software.
The challenge with the likes of Slack and Zoom not offering the same first-party capabilities as Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace is to justify the extra outlay that customers already pay for their office bundles.
In the case of Zoom, the company is expanding into new areas of the market to be able to offer customers a more comprehensive range of collaboration services, not just video conferencing. The arrival of video support for Huddles could be interpreted as a sign that Slack is at least thinking along the same lines.
However, according to the company’s chief product officer, that’s not the case.and Tech Radar Pro Before Dreamforce, Tamar Yehoshua explained that Slack was “not interested in box ticks.”
“Slack has always been customer-centric; we work closely with our customers to create what we think they need,” she said. “Customers keep telling us they need to add video to Huddles.”
When asked if Slack felt pressure to expand into new use cases given the market dynamics already described, Yehoshua suggested the company look at its performance from a different angle.
“The pressure we felt was to show a high return on investment (ROI) for Slack,” she told us. “That’s what we’re focused on: making sure that the value we create is far greater than the cost of serving.”
Whether Slack lives up to CEO Stuart Butterfield, who likes to say that the platform is “1% of the software budget that makes the other 99% more valuable,” is up to customers to decide. But richer first-party features certainly wouldn’t hurt.