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How Zoom became a verb during COVID-19
by Paul Davenport Paul Davenport on

When the world stayed home this past spring and summer, everyone from CEOs to first graders turned to Zoom to stay connected.

As a result, “Zoom” has graduated to verb-status, supplanting “hop on a video call” in much the same way we tend to “Google” topics regardless of the search engine.

But what has made Zoom the global default for voice and video, especially at a time when the market for unified communications solutions has never been more robust?

Despite having to sprint to resolve some security issues that came to light as a result of an unprecedented traffic surge at the start of the pandemic, Zoom has proven reliable at scale (surprising even it’s own developers) while still being easy enough for digital newbies to get the hang of. But there are a few critical differentiators between Zoom and other voice and video solutions that have set Zoom on a different path than they had originally intended in a post-COVID world – namely, serving far more than just a business audience.

It’s familiar: Despite many competing enterprise voice and video solutions beefing up their solutions over the course of the pandemic to serve a business audience, Zoom was the default tool for real-time collaboration when the world unexpectedly “went home” last spring. Even if companies have turned to larger collaboration suites like Teams to connect users as enterprises got comfortable with the “new normal” in the past few months, there’s already a built-in and broad familiarity among non-business users. Much of this familiarity can be attributed to the next point.

It’s a “freemium” solution: Users don’t have to pay to access Zoom’s full suite of capabilities; they just have to pay if they want to hold meetings longer than 40 minutes. Even then, there are plenty of workarounds, but for users who are just getting their feet wet with video conferencing for the first time, there’s very little barrier to entry with Zoom.

Almost too simple to deploy: This next point is where Zoom excels as a broad consumer solution, but may give enterprise decision makers pause, as all a user needs to do to gain hosting capabilities is enter an email address. Other solutions (like Teams) purposefully put a few more steps in place, partly as a security measure but mostly because their video capabilities are bundled together with other tools to make them optimal for business-level collaboration. So while Zoom lessens the learning curve for video conferencing in the broadest sense, this may actually be a knock against the service from an enterprise perspective.

It’s leaders are transparent: While there are entire publications dedicated to predicting the next move of industry giants like Google and Microsoft, Zoom (which, admittedly, has a much more specific scope of services vs. the aforementioned tech behemoths) has been an open book about their challenges and next steps throughout the pandemic. They’ve also been quick to respond and address issues with the platform throughout the pandemic, never letting the unforeseen get the best of them. As a result, people trust Zoom as a company, which is much more than most tech companies can claim (see Facebook).

Despite all of these conditions coming together to elevate Zoom to the role of “essential infrastructure” during the pandemic, the market for unified communication solutions continues to evolve as the demand for more performant tools has never been higher. With many anticipating that enterprise decentralization will be kicked into high gear going forward as a result of the pandemic, established collaboration tools and disruptors are bound to emerge with new solutions tailored to the needs of specific users – especially in the enterprise space.

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Filed Under: industry insights

Tags: SaaS, UCaaS, unified communications, collaboration, voip, video chat, voice and video, video conference, video call, zoom

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