The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a massive increase in the use of video conferencing software.
Lockdown regulations and travel restrictions mean most businesses are unable to conduct their usual meetings and interactions – both internally and with clients.
There are various video conferencing software options available to businesses, the most popular of which for some time was Skype.
However, Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams are now the go-to options for many – and Microsoft has stated Teams will replace Skype for Business in 2021.
Zoom has become a big player in the video conferencing market this year, and its platform has experienced exponential growth during the pandemic.
Zoom CEO Eric S Yuan said in December that the maximum number of daily meeting participants across both its free and paid services was about 10 million.
In March, this figure surpassed 200 million daily participants, and in April it surpassed 300 million.
A daily meeting participant refers to a session within a meeting; therefore 300 million daily meeting participants does not mean 300 million different users are accessing the platform each day.
Zoom does not provide its active user statistics.
Zoom’s biggest struggle during the pandemic has not been scaling its services, however, but rather negative press regarding its security.
Online trolls were entering web meetings and disrupting them with inappropriate content – simple actions that researchers were worried could lead to more harmful attacks in the future.
Zoom has also apologized for incorrectly suggesting that Zoom meetings were capable of end-to-end encryption.
Its case has not been helped by reports that the login details of over 500,000 Zoom users have been placed on sale on the dark web.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in an earnings call that Microsoft reached 200 million meeting participants in a single day during April.
The benefit of using Teams is that is offers integration with Microsoft 365, allowing users to access, share, and edit Word docs, PowerPoint, and Excel files in real time.
Security research company Abnormal Security has discovered two types of phishing attacks which attempt to take advantage of Teams, however, by directing victims to fake Teams login pages.
Users who fall victim to the phishing attacks will have their credentials compromised, allowing attackers to gain access to files and information stored on their accounts, which could include sensitive company information.
Microsoft Teams users are encouraged to check that the URL of the login page matches “https://login.microsoftonline.com” to ensure that they are using the correct portal.
Google’s primary offering in the video conferencing market is its Meet platform.
Google claims it is adding about 3 million new Meet users every day, and recently reached over 100 million daily meeting participants.
It added that daily usage has increased 30-fold since January, and it now hosts about 3 billion minutes of video meetings each day.
Google also recently made the premium version of Meet free for anyone who has a Google account.
This means that until 30 September, users will be able to host and partake in meetings with unlimited duration.
After this date, the length of meetings on the free tier will be limited to 60 minutes – which is longer than Zoom’s offering of 40 minutes for free.
It also matches Zoom’s 100 participant support in video calls, and therefore offers a comparable alternative for large businesses.
While it is not as feature-packed as Zoom, Teams, or Meet for large business calls, everyday users will still find tremendous value in WhatsApp video call functionality.
The platform makes it quick and simple to contact colleagues or clients, and WhatsApp recently increased its video call capacity to eight people – up from four people.
Other platforms that are suited for simple video calls include Google Duo and FaceTime on iOS.