The Boom in Zoom-like services

Google’s video conferencing tool, Meet, is taking on new features that rival services are popularly known for.

Reuters reported last week that besides Meet’s ‘ahead-of-schedule’ integration with Google’s email service GMail, other functionalities will be added later in the month, that resemble what rival Zoom offers. Notably, this is the 16-call-participants grid layout, Zoom is famous for.

Other features will include improved video quality in dim lighting and background noise filtering. Google VP, Javier Soltero also said the free version of Google’s video conferencing service, Hangouts, lacks security and meeting control features. These features however, are available with Meet.

Paid features for Meet like large group video calls, are free till September. Google has announced that Meet was adding 2 million new users per day, with more than 100 million education users across 150 countries.

The long run

We know that video conferencing services, and collaboration platforms are picking up due to the pandemic. There are several news reports about this, as well. But to what extent is this demand impacting other industries, and especially the telco service provider segment, which enables delivery of these online services?

Reuters has reported telco shares surprisingly, are performing dismally despite there being a boom in Internet usage. EITN picked up this news which highlighted how difficult it is for telcos to monetise from a fixed pricing structure, and an estimated revenue loss of USD25 billion for the telco segment, from roaming services.

There is some light at end of tunnel however, as telcos like Verizon are applying the strategy of adding B2B applications to their offerings.

Not just for office workers and educators

Video conferencing apps which are facing phenomenal demand, is what Verizon is betting on, as they entered into a definitive agreement to acquire an enterprise-grade video conferencing and event platform, Blue Jeans.

The deal estimated to be less than USD500 million, is expected to close in June this year.

Verizon’s press release states that customers will benefit from an enterprise-grade video experience on Verizon’s high-performance global networks. It alluded to providing secure and real-time engagement solutions for other high-growth areas like telemedicine, distance learning and field service work.

Up till now, the reported benefits of video conferencing has gravitated towards benefits for office workers and educators who now have to work from home during the pandemic.

There are certainly other areas that can tap into the virtual communications and collaboration capabilities of video conference platforms. We expect more areas besides telemedicine and field service will emerge, if the suitable devices required to enable workers in those areas, become available as well.