Slowly, but steadily, the age of the video call has arrived. Just as the Jetsons promised in 1962 that videophones would be part of work and everyday life sometime in the future, we are now carrying video phones in our pockets, and teams scattered around the globe can talk face to face through PCs and conference room systems. While at present, we attribute all this to the deadly coronavirus that has disrupted just about every industry on earth, giving rise to new workplace trends like work-from-home and social distancing, there is no second thought the demand for video conferencing apps will continue to surge in the foreseeable future.
According to a new report from App Annie, business conferencing apps have been experiencing record progress in consequence. Between March 14 and 21, video conferencing apps for business were downloaded 62m times as more employees made the transition to working from home.
Read more: 6 Tips to Create an Effective WFH Model
The trend is here to stay, and video chatting and collaboration is bound to see a massive surge in the coming months, as CXOs around the world have attempted to adapt to social distancing rules by having employees work from home. More so, with most schools either closed completely or offering as much of a curriculum as they can via the internet. In these situations, the appeal of a video chat option is apparent.
Services like FaceTime, Google Hangouts, Skype, and Zoom have existed for years, but the changing business scenario and advanced technology features is forcing people into the world of video-chatting. These days, most devices with a front-facing camera also have excellent microphones, tuned to let users video chat without worrying about headsets or desk mics. The ability to simply join a call and start talking has unexpectedly become even more convenient, at times, than talking on a phone.
According to App Annie, Zoom Cloud Meetings was the top app downloaded in the first two weeks of March, which the major chunk of downloads coming from the US and UK.
Earlier in March, Google announced that it is aiding the coronavirus relief effort by making premium Hangouts Meet features available for free to all G Suite customers. According to the company, hundreds of thousands of students in Hong Kong and Vietnam are already using Hangouts Meet video conferencing and Google Classroom to “join classes and continue their schooling remotely from home” amid coronavirus-related closures.
“We want to help businesses and schools impacted by Covid-19 stay connected: starting this week, we’ll roll out free access to our advanced Hangouts Meet video-conferencing capabilities through July 1, 2020 to all G Suite customers globally Google CEO Sundar Pichai tweeted.
House party, another video calling app rose from 24,795 per day on February 15 to 6,51,694 on March 25. Other video calling apps have also seen a major increase in the number of downloads and daily users. Snapchat has also increased its app engagement time between March 1 and March 14, App Annie has stated.
Microsoft also reportedly announced that its Microsoft Teams chat and conferencing app between March 11 and March 18 gained over 12 million daily users, which according to the company was a whopping 38% jump from its usual user base.
The surge in business app downloads across Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store during that week was 45% up from the number of apps downloaded during the previous week, App Annie report shows. As senior insights analyst at App Annie, Lexi Sydow explains in a blog post, “As people face uncertain timelines for the length of social isolation, video conferencing apps have the potential to vastly influence our daily habits — breaking down geological barriers and fostering the ability to work and socialize relatively seamlessly.”
Sydow adds, “It is an unprecedented time for the world and an incredibly dynamic time for mobile that may continue to reshape our habits.”
In a separate report, analysts at Frost & Sullivan observed, how video conferencing solutions is becoming the lifeblood of companies and educational institutions. With offices closed and travel being restricted, cloud meetings have kept companies from falling apart and have helped them minimize the business impact. The analysts particularly focused on Zoom’s growth that experienced a massive spike in its user base, adding more monthly active users in the first quarter of 2020 than in all of 2019.
At a time when economies and businesses are functioning at their bare minimum, video conferencing apps will continue to be a critical priority and serve as a cost-effective route for business differentiation across industry verticals. With possibilities that the lockdown be extended in many parts of the world, we might get to see more businesses, including the SMBs joining the mobile video platforms in the times to come, making it a new business norm.