Since the COVID-19 started to spread through the entire planet, millions of people were forced to change their lifestyle with a specific and “simple” request from governments: STAY AT HOME. A lot of companies, especially in IT and Telecommunication industries, asked their employees to work from home as with the current technology we have it won’t affect the productivity.
Despite the catastrophic situation caused by this pandemic, there are 2 industries that are not suffering: food and video conferencing. I’m not going to comment the first one as it’s pretty obvious, we need food in order to survive, but the second one is actually the one which is experiencing a growth never seen before.
The necessity of working from home laid to a huge increase of video conference apps downloads during the month of March, making video conference companies to re-think the short/medium term goals. Some of them, like Zoom, decided to freeze the development and launch of new features in the market as they prefer to focus on the platform maintenance (especially on privacy and security) since the increase of users.
Let’s take a look at some data
According to a new report from appannie.com, downloads of business video conferencing apps have reached a record in March and, specifically, during the second and third week of the month they topped 62 millions downloads. As you can see in the graphic below, this is a big peck compared to the previous months where business app downloads were between 25 and 40 millions.
This impressive growth is mainly due to the massive downloads of Google’s Hangouts Meet, Microsoft Teams and Zoom from companies all over the world. Just to have an idea, have a look below at how many more times these apps have been downloaded in the US, UK, France and in Germany:
As mentioned in the beginning of the article, this is a good moment for video conference apps and they are trying to hold court sending emails promoting free webinars during which you will learn how to use the platform and run your meetings smoothly…
…but also offering 14 days of free trials or a discount in case you purchase one of the plans (normally you can choose between personal, business and enterprise) right away. These companies made also a massive use of YouTube, publishing short video tutorials, for example on:
- how a video conference app looks like
- how to set up a new account
- how to plan/schedule a meeting
- how to configure audio
- how to share the screen
This way you can get an idea on how it works even before subscribing to the webinar or you can watch the videos later in case you have doubts on how to manage a functionality.
But not all that glitters is gold…
“As of the end of December last year, the maximum number of daily meeting participants, both free and paid, was approximately 10 million. In March this year, we reached more than 200 million” declared Eric Yuan, Zoom’s CEO. Zoom has been strongly criticized in the past few weeks due to privacy issues like:
- sending user data to Facebook
- wrongly claiming the app had end-to-end encryption
- allowing meetings hosts to track attendees.
Eric Yuan apologized saying that Zoom was not designed to deal with such a massive increase of daily users. Zoom is now focusing on solving these privacy and security issues instead of launching new features on the market which it’s a wise decision if they want to recover credibility and as mentioned by Eric Yuan: “Let’s hope that the company’s culture will change from its previous ‘fast and loose’ attitude when it comes to such concerns”.