In a span of a few months — if not less — life was never the same for people around the world.
Suddenly, life seemed to transition from accepted reality to virtual reality.
Teams brainstorm and collaborate over video chat. And then, after a productive work day, they go online once again for a virtual happy hour. Doctors check in with their patients over online appointments. And families that have been separated due to a global crisis get together for family dinners, connected through video calls.
These are only a few of the ways people adapted to life in the virtual realm, when the real world has been disrupted by a global pandemic that is still in full swing in some places.
And the string that connects all these changes — and makes them possible in times where distance is of essence — is Zoom, the video conferencing tool that transformed from just another innovation into a necessity and accelerated the digital transformation already in effect around the world.
With people around the world coming together to willingly self-isolate in efforts to slow down the spread of COVID-19, Zoom has become an integral part of maintaining social contact and some sense of normalcy when it comes to human interaction, work, education, healthcare, and any other aspect in life that relied largely on in-person communication before the pandemic hit. Many who have the means to continue to maintain some sense of normalcy turned to a number of collaboration tools, from Slack to Microsoft Teams; but Zoom’s growth has been the most explosive.
The price of Zoom’s share has increased 72% over the course of the pandemic — doubling between early February and late March — despite the large market crashes globally. Zoom also reported that sales increased 169% in the three months of major quarantine up to $328.2 million, as the company onboarded more than 180,000 customers with more than 10 employees since January — a result that surpassed the company’s projections and expectations. As of June, Zoom has around 265,400 customers with more than 10 employees — a growth of 354 percent. It also turned a profit of $27 million in just one quarter — more than it made during the entire year prior to the pandemic.
Zoom’s true value and role in a global digital transformation is not limited to providing a stable connection for work-related calls and conferences. The product’s intuitive and easy-to-navigate interface has made it possible to adopt the technology for people with various levels of tech aptitude in order to maintain the minimum semblance of social contact throughout self-isolation — after all, all it takes to hop on a call is one easy click.
And now, Zoom has grown beyond a simple innovation geared towards workflow optimization and into a socialization tool that is essential for maintaining connections today. Schools have moved their curricula into the virtual space. Friends and families get together for “socially distant hangouts” and celebrations. Single people seek their better halves through Zoom dates. And these are only a few examples of how people have learned to leverage Zoom to improve the quality of their lives in hard times.
Zoom’s basic model allows people to connect for free if the duration of the call is under 40 minutes, making the product not just easy to use, but affordable to rely on. Individual and corporate clients — accounting for the “meat” of the company’s profit — pay a monthly fee of $19.99 per meeting host and get access to a Zoom “room” that can “fit” as many as 1,000 people for a single call.
The team behind the global tech phenomenon have improved the tool to not just make it easy to navigate, but also fun to use: Zoom offers a library of creative backdrops that are further pushing the boundaries of digital transformation and solidifying the idea of a “virtual reality” when the true reality out there that has been put on hold due to the global health crisis. On Zoom, users can take a call from the beach, or a European city they have always wanted to visit, or a dream apartment they hope to live in one day when the world wins the battle with COVID-19. And the library grows day to day, serving as a creative outlet for users’ self-expression and a tool to assert individuality in times where there is a lack of outlets to do so.
Zoom’s push for global digital transformation has definitely been accelerated by the circumstances; but the truth is, it’s a logical continuation of a large-scale change that has been developing gradually prior to the pandemic: globalization.
With Zoom — under the wing of the crisis — slowly removing traditional barriers to communication and growth such as distance and time difference, we are slowly stepping into an age of a tech-driven world that knows no physical boundaries that hampered development in the past. Now and in the future, there will be no “local teams” — instead, we will see the rise of globally dispersed, diverse collaborations between the best experts from all over the world. Educational programs will reach those who never had the opportunity to travel and cross large distances for academic programs, generating more equality and accessibility of major opportunities.
And all these changes that have happened over the course of the pandemic aren’t going anywhere; instead, they will propel into the future and persist through time, redefining what we perceive as “normal” and helping create a more globally connected, equal, productive, and safe world driven by technological advancement.
Written By: Gary Fowler, Co-Founder & CEO of GSDVS