“Zoom, just one look and then my heart went boom. Suddenly and we were on the moon.” so sang Fat Larry’s Band in the opening of their iconic ballad.
It’s safe to assume that the Philadelphia R&B group were crooning over something a little more romantic than video conferencing. But their 1982 hit sounds more relevant than ever. Video conferencing is keeping business, family life and friendships alive during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Fair enough, its reach hasn’t yet stretched beyond our planet, but video conferencing is eliminating boundaries culturally-embedded into all of our professional and personal relationships.
Zoom, Microsoft 365 Teams, WhatsApp, Google’s Meet, Skype and other platforms have all seen huge spikes in users since the global pandemic has halted society as we know it. From a daily use of around 10 million, Zoom soared to an incredible 200 million per day in March. It left the other platforms playing an urgent game of catch up and when Zoom’s privacy and security flaws became more apparent, the competition was quick to ramp up their offerings.
Google made its Meet app free to all users and with up to 100 users at once, is well positioned to attract a corporate audience. Facebook-owned WhatsApp has doubled users on a single call from 4 to 8 to meet the greater needs of families and friends trying to stay connected.
What will all this mean beyond lockdown? Will we return to prioritising in-person meetings and conferences above the virtual alternative? It is now hard to imagine a return to normal.
As a whole, we have become more tech savvy, confident in the use of video conferencing and shed our awkwardness of talking via screens. We have actually had no choice but to overcome, and humanity – as it always has – adapted. Coronavirus has caused the corporate world, business owners and employees to rethink.
Video conferencing is efficient, more economically viable and also more environmentally friendly. “All at once there was no turnin’ back,” Fat Larry’s Band continued. Those guys were really onto something.