Sci-Tech

How did video chat explode in 2020 between innovation and democratization of practices?

It’s an image that is widespread on social networks and growing in people’s minds: Zoom’s market capitalization is equivalent to that of the 15 largest airlines combined. That said, Zoom’s sales quadrupled for the second straight quarter in 2020 (numbers released for the third quarter of 2020), making its founder one of the 100 richest people in the world.

Video chat or video conferencing has exploded in 2020, as evidenced by the record number of video calls on WhatsApp on New Years Eve.

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Video conferencing is rampant with the pandemic

Companies that may have had to cope with successive bottlenecks by teleworking their employees and moving to a general dematerialization of exchanges. “Our employees are spread over three continents. Video conferencing meetings are part of our daily lives and are necessary to work together despite the distance. In 2020, another form of virtual meeting saw the light of day with teleworking: coffee breaks were virtualized, including sports lessons; We organized online cooking classes, meditation sessions, but also video conferences on the subject of wellbeing and dozens of solidarity events. Online meetings have multiplied and are now the only way to build and maintain a bond with colleagues. “Explains Justine, CSR at a large French technology company specializing in online advertising.

The practice also extends to personal interactions. Video chat, which is already growing on the exchanges, is replacing face-to-face conversation while restaurants and bars are closed, while the restrictions associated with the health crisis restrict courtesy visits, New Year’s kisses to grandparents, or aperitifs at home. And in that hollow physical social relationship, new actors do well, as evokes Alexandre, a transportation executive. “During my imprisonment, I used the house party application a lot to make aperitifs with my friends. and use the games on offer like The Drawn is a winner to encourage conversations with others. Plus, the notifications let you see who’s online and have fun ending up in other groups. “

Others preferred the multiplayer video game as a privileged environment to keep in touch with their circle of friends. The success of a game like Among Us during Lockdowns (an online variant of the werewolves game in which the characters perform tasks in the ship) testifies to the search for space for exchange and relaxation through avatars connected to audio. Unless it’s strictly video conferencing, the concept is the same: “Playing among us was, beyond the joy of the playful aspect of the game, above all an opportunity to discuss and keep in touch close friends I couldn’t see because of Covid. Instead of making a video with Zoom or Google Meet, we opted for a video game that we linked to Discord for audio, ”says Thomas, a business school student.

Video conferencing tools in the race for innovation

As the Wall Street Journal reminds us, Zoom and Microsoft teams are leading the way in video conferencing, improving their functionality and the security of video calls. In 2020, Zoom therefore launched “Zoom for Home”, a device that was specially developed for video conferences. Consists of a 27-inch touchscreen and developed in collaboration with DTEN, but also two other tools: ZoomOn (an online event marketplace) and Zapps, with which third-party applications can be integrated.

Image: Zoom

Same momentum with the other major publishers of video conferencing software. Microsoft has added a group viewing mode called “Together Mode”, which gives the feeling of being in the same room and watching a video together. For its part, Google Meet has added the whiteboard functionality to work on the same surface at the same time, as well as a blur mode in the background of users and the ability to add Google Meet backgrounds.

In addition to these editors for video conferencing software, other players start themselves or experience the same acceleration effect. The Wall Street Journal is reminiscent of Gather and Sophya.AI, who mix virtual rooms with video conferences. Mmhmm ​​Inc., which has raised more than $ 35 million, positions itself on condensing the experience during video conferencing.

In France innovation is unbeatable. For example, we can mention companies like Plezi who launched Saloon, an event virtualization platform during initial containment, or even BigBoss, a B2B premium event company that recently launched Proximum 365, publisher of the Vimeet solution , a technological platform for the digitization of individual events.

2021 thus promises a year full of innovations in the field of video conferencing.

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