In 2020, videoconferencing gained an enterprise foothold. Now what?


Through most of 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, technology served as a lifeline for many businesses, keeping teams connected and working as offices shut down and employees set up offices at home. No technology arguably had a bigger impact on that shift than videoconferencing.

As 2021 arrives, video calls have become a part of corporate life that would have been unthinkable a year ago. Zoom — a platform previously known only to those who used it for work — became so popular that it is now a verb, used and understood commonly around the world as shorthand for a videoconference. (And “Zoombombing” became a related epithet.)

In February, as the severity of the coronavirus came sharply into view, Zoom said it had already added more new users in the first two months of 2020 than it had in all of 2019; by April it was boasting of 300 million daily meeting participants. (Even the Queen of England got involved.)

It was not the only videoconferencing platform to see unprecedented levels of growth. Not to be outdone, Microsoft in June reported that usage of its Teams platform had surpassed Zoom and it scrambled to beef up Teams with new features throughout the year.

Zoom hasn’t released updated user statistics since April, but during Microsoft’s Q1 2021 earnings call, CEO Satya Nadella said Teams had passed 115 million daily active users. (Google Meet, another popular video option, has around 100 million participants logging into meetings every day.)

Though each of the companies counts users, meetings, participants and sessions differently to highlight its own successes, the bottom line is this: videoconferencing is here to stay. That’s especially true, given that the pandemic will linger into 2021 and many employees have said they don’t plan to return to the office en masse — even when it’s safe to do so.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.





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