Many businesses have had to quickly adapt to home working as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. In turn, the video conferencing market is growing fast, with Zoom coming out on top as one of the most popular meeting applications.
The global COVID-19 pandemic has forced businesses across the world to implement a work from home solution rapidly.
In order to host meetings and keep in touch with customers, clients and co-workers, many businesses have had to turn their attention to meeting apps.
As a result, meeting app users have grown significantly in recent weeks, with the market said to be worth $6 billion by 2026. It’s a new way of working for many, but which apps are proving the most popular?
The need for video conferencing has grown the overall market size and has therefore made space for smaller, more agile players to enter; who are in turn, stealing market share from the bigger, more established names.
The main players to date are: Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex, Google Hangouts, Go To, Adobe Connect, Meet, Zoom, Slack, UberConference and Houseparty; with Zoom currently taking up 40% of the market share, with GoTo at 20% and Cisco Webex at 12%.
So, why is Zoom leading the way?
Many businesses have suffered during the pandemic, but others have thrived, with meeting apps being one of them. Zoom, in particular, has seen a huge rise in numbers this year. Since January, the company’s stock has more than doubled, giving Zoom a market valuation of around $42 billion.
Zoom has experienced a 535% rise in downloads since January, as well as a stock market share price increase of 101% in the same period.
Zoom was founded in 2011 by Chinese-American businessman, Eric S. Yuan. Yuan was one of the key figures behind helping to build WebEx, which sold to Cisco for $3.2 billion. When he left Cisco to found Zoom, there didn’t seem to be room in the market for another new video conferencing app.
Yuan did what every product developer should do – and that was to focus on the end user. Through collaboration with developers and offering free trials, the platform gained instant traction in the marketplace.
Today, it is a trusted solution for online collaboration and home working. With 2.3 million users in 2020, it is growing at a phenomenal pace. Currently sitting at the top of the download charts, Zoom’s success lies in the fact that it’s easy to navigate, free to use for the first 40-minutes, and it is extremely mobile-friendly.
However, there is one watch-out for Zoom; research suggests that there may be potential security and stability problems involved in using such meeting apps on a regular basis. Zoom developers are yet to define the problems, but are constantly investing in improving the app’s security systems.
Video conferencing programmes are a great way to stay connected during lockdown, both professionally and personally. From a business perspective, the benefits of using video conferencing include: reducing the carbon footprint of international business, increased productivity (less time wasted), globalisation (as teams collaborate across nations), and huge cost saving opportunities.
For personal use, Zoom is great for: checking in with friends and family, keeping in touch with relatives abroad and hosting regular social events such as quizzes and gatherings.
With the spotlight firmly turned on video conferencing and online collaboration during the COVID-19 lockdown, many people are using the tools for the first time, discovering how effective they can be in doing business remotely.
Once we are through the COVID-19 lockdown it will be interesting to see how many of these new habits remain in place; how many businesses allow remote working and invest in video conferencing tools, and how many grandchildren continue talk to their grandparents via video call.