During the first months of lockdown the world was paralyzed or dramatically slowed down physically, but not virtually. According to the latest study the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) made about the need for universalizing access to digital technologies to address the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, website traffic, and the use of applications for teleworking or distance learning, there was a tremendous increase in the use of digital solutions.
Between the first and second quarters of 2020, the use of teleworking solutions surged by 324% while distance education rose more than 60% in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico. All providers of collaboration and video conferencing platforms felt the boost.
Zoom, for instance, confirmed on August 31 it had been one of the biggest corporate winners from social distancing, as the video conferencing service reported a surge in new business in the three months to the end of July. It reported second-quarter revenue of $663.5 million, up 355% from a year earlier. Since the start of the pandemic, the platform has worked to convert the mass of free users into paying customers.
But in general usage of Zoom is impressive: it has grown from 10 million daily meeting participants per day in December 2019 to 300 million in April 2020. Also, daily active users of its mobile app are up an astonishing 1761% year-on-year and 799% over the previous quarter. New installs are up 319% over the second quarter of 2020 – which, by the way, had already been hugely successful.
Zoom told LABS that in Brazil, it saw a 31-fold growth in free users sign-up in April over January 2020, its latest regionalized public data, while the number of paying customers with more than 10 employees in the country tripled. In Mexico, over the same period, there was a 49-fold growth in free users sign-up, and the number of paying customers with more than 10 employees doubled.
Overall, Zoom has seen an increase in paying customers, according to its latest quarterly report, with approximately 370,200 clients of businesses with more than 10 employees, up approximately 458% from the same quarter last fiscal year. And its number of large customers – those generating more than $100,000 in revenue in the past year – more than doubled to 988 in the fiscal second quarter.
Google Cloud partnered up with Latin American businesses and organizations
Google Meet, in its turn, reached a peak of over 600 million video conferencing participants in a single week globally in the quarter ending in June. At the end of April, according to the company, 2 million new users were connecting to Google Meet daily, exceeding 2 billion minutes together – which equates to more than 3,800 years of meetings in a single day. And, of course, it’s not just about work: 41% of people increased the frequency of conversation with friends and family, according to the Google Customer Survey (GCS) “Vida na Quarentena” (“Life in Quarantine”)
The search-engine giant cites a slate of cases that display how its Cloud division kept Latin American businesses and organizations connected and running during the most severe periods of quarantines and lockdowns.
Before the government encouraged remote work across the country, one of Mexico’s largest insurance companies, the National Provincial Group (GNP), implemented a strict home-based policy. The company has developed a series of new procedures and practices by which 6,700 employees use Google Meet for video conferences and G Suite‘s collaboration features.
In Peru, the Judiciary sector has used Google Meet to continue operating during quarantines. Mexico’s Milenio Televisión chose Google Meet to continue broadcasting some of its main TV shows away from its studios. And in Brazil, early in the pandemic, São Paulo’s Hospital das Clínicas has partnered up with Google and Loud Voice Services to develop a voice assistant that manages appointments, exams and medicines stocks using solutions such as Dialogflow and Speech API.
With the increasing demand for these services, the company announced last June a new Google Cloud region in Santiago – the company’s second region in Latin America, after São Paulo.
Microsoft beefs up Teams
The number of calls made using Microsoft’s Teams video conferencing software surged 1,000% in March as people collaborated online due to the coronavirus pandemic. Teams users also generated more than 5 billion meeting minutes in a single day in the second quarter of 2020.
“Microsoft Teams is helping people be together, even when they are apart. It’s the only solution with meetings, calls, chat, content collaboration with Office, and business process workflows – in a secure, integrated user experience”, said Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO, during the company’s latest quarter earnings conference call.
Sixty-nine organizations have more than 100,000 users of Teams, and over 1,800 enterprises have more than 10,000 users of the platform.
Another trait of Latin Americans using Microsoft tools: in Mexico, 41% of the calls use video; in Chile, 52% do the same. These are lower rates than in Norway and the Netherlands, for example, where they reach 60%, but higher than the U.S. (38%), France (37%) and Singapore (26%). “Cultural aspect will always be relevant in how much people want to expose themselves”, Loredane Feltrin, director of Modern Workplace at Microsoft Latin America, told LABS.