How Zoom is winning the video war
Zoom has announced it expects sales to rise 40 per cent in 2021. That’s not quite the stratospheric growth it experienced as Covid-19 hit in 2020, but it’s a strong indication that companies and individuals think the new normal is going to include a lot of video calling, and that – for many – the choice of a video partner is Zoom.
How did Zoom steal a march on competitors?
As with all history, being in the right place at the right time is all important. Zoom had a strong video product and could put all its focus into that core offering. Other video platforms were available but were part of larger ecosystems. Companies, meanwhile, had started to look at ‘best of breed’ solutions being more effective than large monolithic systems that did everything, but not everything well.
Who was the competition?
For businesses, the prime ready solutions were Cisco’s Webex and Microsoft Teams (which has video capabilities baked in). Google’s Meet was almost ready to go, and Google made sure it hurried it out the door when it saw what was going on. But Zoom was more agile than the enterprise models and by the time Google had its product finalised, Zoom had already become the go-to verb for video calling. To Google was still to look something up in a search engine.
But nearly a year on, surely big tech has caught up?
It hardly matters. Zoom focused on its single product, and took advantage of a massive amount of incidental advertising (on the news, around the office etc) to establish itself as the default video calling application. People were using Zoom for work and play, and it was totally free unless you wanted your call to last more than 40 minutes. If there was any doubt that consumers were taking privacy seriously, Houseparty (a video chat aimed at social users) sank from view after a few headlines questioning its security. And an undercurrent of suspicion about Google’s activities might have been a factor in its inability to topple Zoom from prosumer dominance.
So it’s Zoom forever?
Doubtfully. Most likely Zoom will either be bought, eclipsed or both. With hybrid working emerging as a general feature of future office work and a dependence on video calling becoming a likelihood, everyone will want to be able to video calling. Social networks and productivity suites might have the slimmest odds but don’t rule out a cross-platform solution, similar to calling network to network on a mobile phone.
Ericsson: 5G will be fastest adopted mobile generation in hi
Ericsson’s June Mobility Report projects that nearly 600 million 5G subscriptions will be active by the end of 2021, making it the fastest adopted mobile generation in history.
The longer range forecast is for around 3.5 billion 5G subscriptions and 60 per cent 5G population coverage globally by the end of 2026.
China, the US, Korea, Japan and the GCC (Gulf states) will lead deployment, with Europe lagging behind. The latter got off to a slower start and has been mired in infrastructure battles over the provenance of hardware.
North East Asia is expected to lead 5G deployment with an estimated 1.4 billion subscriptions by 2026, while North America is expected to account for the highest 5G subscription penetration.
Key findings of the Ericsson Mobility Report, June 2021
5G remains on track to become the fastest adopted mobile generation in history with subscriptions increasing at a rate of about a million per day
China, North America and the Gulf Cooperation Council markets are leading the way on subscriber numbers, while Europe is off to a slow start
5G subscriptions with a 5G-capable device grew by 70 million during the first quarter of 2021 and are forecast to reach 580 million by the end of 2021
5G ready for 'advanced use cases'
Fredrik Jejdling, executive vice president and head of networks, Ericsson, said, “We are in the next phase of 5G, with accelerating roll-outs and coverage expansion in pioneer markets such as China, the USA and South Korea. Now is the time for advanced use cases to start materialising and deliver on the promise of 5G. Businesses and societies are also preparing for a post-pandemic world, with 5G-powered digitalization playing a critical role.”
Photo credit: Ericsson