Companies adopt video conferencing apps to cope with lockdown

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Video calling apps are alleviating the burden of crisis

The United States, now unfortunately the epicentre of the ongoing pandemic with 150,000+ cases at the time of publishing this article(LiveScience), has enforced movement restrictions across the continental United States. Such draconian protocols have forced many offices in the country to jumpstart the adoption of video conferences with video calling apps to operate remotely and allow its employees to exercise “work from home” or “remote work” safely to delay the spread of COVID-19 infections among them.

This drastic change has made many work places to adopt video conference technolgies and apps for the first time ever. To mitigate difficulties associated while adopting this method of communication, apps such as GoToWebinar have made this transition occur effortlessly by guiding those who are in need to continue their operations without having to being shut down entirely and fall victim to this crisis.

According to Inc, LogMeIn, the company responsible for GoToWebinar apps, has provided emergency remote work kits at free of cost for three months to newer customers. These kits are to be provided proactively to Non Governmental Organizations, Schools, and Health Care Institutions. Proactivity could be one of the main reasons for its rising popularity. It even made its way to the top 3rd and 4th position for apps on android in the weekly ranking charts of business category in March in United states.

Data gathered from App Ape suggests that some of the most used video conferencing applications to arise from this grim situation are Google Hangouts Meet which has seen 1200% rise in weekly trend radar ranking, followed by Zoom Cloud Meetings, standing at 1100%. Finally, GoToWebinar and GoToMeeting, both are now leading around 400% and 300% respectively. The last remaining app in the chart is a document scanning app that is most probably used in conjunction with these above video calling applications.

Comparing Top 4 Video Conferencing Apps

Zoom is exponentially increasing in popularity, whereas Hangouts Meet and the two GoToWebinar apps are approaching linear pace of growth. Although the above graph might suggest otherwise, an essential factor to look out for is the number of users on Zoom. There are millions of users on Zoom compared to few hundread thousands upto a million users on other apps.This enormous gap makes Hangouts Meet and other two GoToWebinar apps look as if they are not seeing any real growth in weekly active users (WAU).

However, the sharp rise in weekly usage becomes much more apparent for other apps as well. The data from the above graph of WAU/possession ratio shows the percentage of how often these apps are being activated per week. Weekly usage percentage has skyrocketed for Zoom which was greater than 60% in weekly usage and next comes Google Hangouts Meet, at nearly 40% weekly usage and less than 30% of uasage growth combined for the both GoToWebinar apps.

Hangouts Meet vs Zoom

Google Hangouts Meet comes free with G Suite subscription accounts. Assuming that majority of those American companies are subscribed to G Suite email accounts for their internal communications, Hangouts Meet is simply the way to go forward by utilizing an already existing service free of charge rather than spending additional cost on a new subscription based video conferencing app.

According to AndroidCentral, Google Hangouts Meet starts from $6/mo for basic plan, for rest of the Gmail users. And it provides features such as share screen, sending files through chat and comes with few downsides such as messy dashboard and capability to host fewer participants when compared to Zoom.

Hangouts Meet also appears to be on an exponential growth during the month of March. It gained surplus of 300K+ users for Week over Week (WoW) user growth in the last week of March alone. Apparently, many users seem to be using it as a facilitator of remote working to exercise social distancing safely.

On the other hand, according to App Ape, Zoom has gained 4.5 Million+ WOW users growth which has set off it exponential growth. Zoom appears to have the highest number of users for a video conferecing app in United States at the moment with 1st position in WOW growth, and 2nd in Weekly trend radar ranking chart only behind Google Hangouts Meet.

Although free accounts are available in Zoom, Call-in access costs extra. It starts from $15/mo but has few advantages over Hangouts Meet. It can connect to conferencing equipment, works with all operating systems inclusing Linux, and can host up to 500 people (AndroidCentral).

Another reason for such an enormous rise might due to its recent changes made around improving security. ZOOM has removed “login via facebook” as it was believed to be collecting and sending data to various IP’s around the world. In anticipation of huge influx of users, Zoom promised security improvements which is believed to have led to a raised awareness about the app and its overall growth (ThreatPost). Accessibility, features, and security can be argued to be the main reasons for making Zoom reach such popularity over any other video calling apps currently present in the market.

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