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The Zoom Boom: How the world goes digital in the era of Coronavirus

The Zoom Boom: How the world goes digital in the era of Coronavirus

The problem with frequently recurring fantasies is that they sometimes come true. Just not as we would like or sometimes expect. You may, for example, have been dreaming of escaping everyone and everything for a short while and shutting yourself off from the world. Congratulations – this is finally possible. Staying at home for days on end however is no less a challenge as that of regular daily life. In conditions of forced self-isolation, digital platforms have become the only point of interaction with society. Not only children born of the Z generation with smartphones in their hands, we have all become Zoomers in order to get the job done.

Zoom’s video conferencing solution is perhaps the first winner of the epidemic. Located in San Jose, California, the company set several download records at once in March of this year, taking the lead of all free options available in the app store. Even now, growth continues as does the company’s capitalisation in the market. Amid other falling global markets, Zoom shares rose 63% to 29 billion USD.

The reason is simple: the program offers a stable connection for medium and large groups located in different places. In addition, there are a number of useful and easy-to-use features – from customisation themes and backgrounds to the ability to automatically transcribe conversations. When schools, universities, and offices around the world switch to telecommuting, this is exactly what they will need. And what’s more, Zoom is becoming the space for online parties, birthdays, and all that is possible to brighten up lonely evenings of social isolation and quarantine.

Of course, Zoom didn’t appear overnight. The company has been steadily gaining momentum since 2019, when it first entered the market. Back in January, it already had a significant base of business clientele who were using video conferencing to coordinate employees in different parts of the world. Actually, the gradual steady growth in the period before the pandemic helped developers better study the needs of the market, correct conceptual and technical errors, and form a concise and reliable product that literally “shot” at a critical moment.

It is worth noting that while Zoom is currently the most striking example for online connection, it is certainly not the only one. Downloads are growing for one of the oldest similar services – Webex (founded back in 1995) from Cisco. Since the beginning of the pandemic, developers of this app removed a number of restrictions in the free version, which have allowed for a sharp increase in its user base. Less interest in Webex is perhaps associated more with its position in a large array of products, and as such the company as a whole doesn’t necessarily require the same special attention from the media. Skype is in a similar situation, which has also gained favour in recent months. Though, due to an already significant base, company growth is not as impressive as that of the newcomer.

So, what do such moments teach? Frankly, nothing particularly new: the ark must be built before the flood, not when it has already started to rain. An unforeseen factor contributed to the popularisation of the application, but the need for such a solution was laid long ago. The start-up industry should not respond only to momentary requests. On the contrary, such decisions will more likely appear and disappear with lightning speed. It is much more important to research the markets and find those points where demand is stable and will grow. In this case, it is people’s need for interaction, communication, and society. This seems an ancient concept. It is, after all, the most basic of necessities. And, generally speaking, a video communication program is hardly some ingenious idea – it could well have occurred to anyone. The issue, however, is in the execution, the right marketing policy, and a combination of circumstances. But it is precisely such factors that most often influence the success stories known to the world.

The pandemic, with all its sad consequences, will end. But this app has every opportunity to become part of the culture and stay in the “first set” of users forever.

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