Zoom: Boom or Bust?
What’s the future of Zoom? As the UK Government’s ease COVID-19 restrictions, there’s one question on our mind regarding the future of communications. Will Zoom bloom or is Zoom doomed?
We promise that’s it for Zoom related puns.
Staying ahead of the curve
Zoom has become a household name in the last 2-years as businesses sought to plug the communications gap that was left when we transitioned to working from home. The company took the world by storm, rising to meet the needs of organisations and individuals across the world. Schools. Families. Businesses. Social clubs. Concerts. Zoom became the go-to for video conferencing. Zoom’s massive growth in profits reflects this jump in demand. In 2019, Zoom Video Communications made £11.5m in pre-tax profit. In 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic started, the company reported a whopping £476m in pre-tax profit.
Its growth has been phenomenal. In fact, Zoom is currently supporting close to 300m daily participants. But will the end of lockdown see an end to Zoom’s heyday?
Eric Yuan, who founded Zoom in 2011, doesn’t think so. And whilst Yuan admits Zoom won’t see the same level of growth the company enjoyed in 2020, the company looks set to push onwards. In fact, Zoom has just announced the acquisition of Five9, a customer service software developer. The deal is worth £10.7bn and reflects a change in Zoom’s strategy moving into a post-pandemic world.
Yuan is trying to keep Zoom ahead of the curve. Zoom will have to adapt its strategy in order to stay relevant and useful in a post-pandemic world. The acquisition of Five9 isn’t the only change Zoom has made in recent days. Zoom already supports 3rd-party app integration via the Zoom Marketplace. Yuan wants to push this feature further, in order to position Zoom as not only a platform for meeting, but a tool for increased productivity, including app integrations that offer analytics, mailing, voice recording, and much more. Some familiar apps Zoom supports includes Microsoft Teams, HubSpot, Eventbrite, and Otter.io.
The future of Zoom hinges on the future of offices
Let’s look at the reality of the situation. The UK government wants the UK to return to its offices and resume ‘business-as-normal' as soon as possible. The UK is not alone. But many workers now prefer working from home to the lengthy, expensive and tiring office commute. Working from home, or a balanced approach of office and home working, could become the new ‘normal’. This means Zoom, and its competitors, may still have a chance, and this is exactly what Yuan is hinging on.
The Chair of Natwest has said he doesn’t believe London’s office culture will ever be the same post-pandemic. In the past, over 2,500 staff would walk through the head office doors in the morning, 5 days a week, and nearly every week of the year. He believes that most staff won’t want to spend 5 days in the office, opting to take a hybrid approach and work from home a few days a week.
There are reports of some office workers demanding a higher salary or improved company benefits if they are to return to office working. Working from home could very well be the ‘new normal’.
But the Southwest may not follow London’s lead. The Southwest’s housing market saw record growth as people flocked to the countryside in the wake of the pandemic and working from home. Whilst people in the Southwest are keen to return to something resembling their pre-covid social lives, they may not be so keen to return to the office.
There’s been a dramatic change in attitude towards video conferencing since the start of the pandemic. Zoom has played a significant role in this.
Before 2019, video conferencing was seen as a bit of a hassle and not as effective as in-person meetings. There were concerns about video and sound quality, though video conferencing has been at a high quality for many years. Plus, organisations wanted their workforce in an office, where they could keep an eye on day-to-day operations. But this isn’t the case anymore.
This attitude towards video conferencing has changed considerably over the space of a year. The pandemic has acted as a catalyst, spurring rapid developments in the quality of online conferencing. Organisations have now woken up to the benefits of software like Zoom. Instead of having to meet in-person, which is costly, time-consuming, and frustrating, organisations can conduct their business online. Less time commuting equals more time working.
So, even when much of the country returns to office life, BCNS predicts that Zoom will be a staple ingredient. Although it is not the best communications platform (Microsoft Teams provides a more-rounded platform for businesses and it's the one we use at BCNS), Zoom provides a good way for businesses to communicate internally and externally.
That being said, the future of zoom hinges entirely on whether we return to offices, and the way of life pre-pandemic. Humans are social creatures. We like to congregate in-person. And the hierarchy within the corporate world tend to favour in-person meetings. It could spell trouble for Zoom if business leaders push for a return to the office, and a return to in-person meetings. Only time will tell.
If you’re thinking about your company’s internal and external communications strategy, get in contact with BCNS. We help our clients streamline and improve their communications, providing effective solutions to deliver results for their clients, partners, and employees. Perhaps we can help you too. Get in touch.