With the unprecedented and brutal changes to the working environment wrought by the spread of Covid-19, it is fair to assume that all predictions for the growth of the video conferencing market need urgently to be revisited.
As an opportunity, this particular technology sector is set to provide fertile ground for startups and existing operators to grow their user bases, as more and more of us choose, or are required, to work from home.
Zoom, one of the best-known providers in the space, has demonstrated both the soaring value-proposition of the video conferencing products it and others offer, as well as the huge impact the Covid-19 global lock down is having on the segment. The company added 2.22 million monthly active users so far in 2020, while in 2019 it added 1.99 million.
The performance of Zoom's share price bears out the reality that a practice that may have hitherto been considered the reserve of a small fraction of the global workforce (and looked upon with acute suspicion by management generally), is slowly transitioning into an indispensable part of a modern professional's business toolkit.
The longer lock down provisions remain in place around the world, and we're not yet seeing much aggression in this regard in the US market, the more entrenched these practices will become and the more the technology will necessarily improve.
Are we witnessing the advent of an accelerated drive away from centralised enterprise operations towards business models designed to gravitate around a far smaller, much cheaper nucleus of operations in any one or a number of locations around the world? Is this potentially the beginning of the end for the 'traditional' office space and a new challenge to the value-proposition of commercial real estate?
With Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, GoToMeeting and so many other providers of video conferencing software (which only gets better, more intuitive and more useful) banking on this new working reality, we can expect further challenges to accepted norms in the management of human resources too.
At Hassans International Law Firm, we remain open for #BusinessAsUnusual, having invested in the technology we need to continue to service our clients and partners while a significant proportion of our team work from home.