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Coronavirus Boosts Cloud Meetings, Team Collaboration: Page 2 of 2
A Closer Look at China, the Most Affected Region
The cloud video conferencing service options that are increasingly attracting demand in China include Tencent WeChat Work and Meeting, Alibaba DingTalk, Huawei Welink, and Bytedance Feishu. These easy-to-use tools have come a long way in addressing remote working and distance learning needs. The weekly downloads of these business-oriented conferencing applications have skyrocketed since Jan. 2020. To enable uninterrupted working and learning experiences, China’s conferencing and team collaboration providers have taken the following initiatives:
- China Telecom – China Telecom provides free conferencing services through its Tianyi Cloud Conference to governments, medical institutions, and all parties that are directly working at controlling the spread of coronavirus. China Telecom also provides free webcast services to schools and universities in Hubei.
- Alibaba – DingTalk became the third most downloaded free iOS app and has a user base of 10 million company accounts (200 million users) as of Feb. 2020, according to App Annie. The free version of DingTalk had limited features such as limited participant voice and video conferencing, emails, and chats. However, with the growing demand for the app, DingTalk added more features such as contacts management, attendance, cloud drive, group streaming, and task coordination, among others. Additionally, an increasing number of users from the education community, including 600,000 teachers in 20,000 primary and secondary schools, covering over 50 million students, are also using DingTalk to conduct online classes. Owing to the significant increase in web traffic over the past month, DingTalk has fortified its back-end infrastructure by adding 12,000 servers, which prevents the app from crashing.
- Tencent – WeChat Work and Tencent Meeting are ranked among the top five most downloaded apps in China, according to App Annie. WeChat Work’s user base comprises 2.5 million enterprises (60 million corporate users). Backed by the surge in demand, Tencent increased the maximum number of attendees on the video call to 300; it also offers free telemedicine and virtual classroom services to hospitals and schools, respectively.
- ByteDance – The company recently announced that it is offering Feishu, a workplace collaboration platform, free of charge to Chinese enterprises, even after the termination of NCOV. The benefits include unlimited audio and video conferences, online document and form creation, real-time voice communication, and remote collaboration functions such as 100G of cloud storage space per user.
- Other free video conferencing services such as Huawei WeLink are also being used at workplaces and virtual classrooms across multiple grades.
China is also demonstrating increased usage of meetings and streaming services across workplaces and schools. As a result of the outbreak, easy-to-use video conferencing tools, such as WeChat Work and DingTalk, have experienced significant spikes in adoption. While these tools were particularly designed for corporate use, both Alibaba and Tencent are attempting to capture market share in the education sector by launching a suite of new and free features specifically targeted at education. While several learning management platforms such as iTutorGroup, ClassIn, and VIPkid have sprung into action, it’s the scalability, ease of use, and cost-free nature of the workplace-centric collaboration applications such as DingTalk and WeChat that appeal to the masses.
How to Be Proactive
More responses from other cloud meetings and team collaboration providers are sure to come; these are only some of the companies that are promptly monitoring and taking steps to respond to the coronavirus outbreak. In the meantime, Frost & Sullivan highly recommends more businesses operating in affected countries and regions of the world to:
- Allow more employees to work remotely
- Provide cloud meetings and team collaboration services to support workers
- Evaluate cloud meetings and team collaboration providers based on quality, reliability, scalability, feature set, and cost-effectiveness.
- Use online broadcasting tools in replacement of live events in affected regions
- Avoid panic while helping to educate individuals for prevention.
When it comes to enterprise communications and collaboration providers, Frost & Sullivan hopes more and more companies to:
- Enrich their freemium offering, especially in affected areas
- Enhance the reliability and scalability of their solutions and offerings
- Provide concrete help to key affected verticals such as healthcare and education
- Enhance their webcasting and online broadcasting tools in order to emulate as much as possible the value created by face-to-face events (quick contact sharing, fast frictionless networking, fast and short meetings, LinkedIn, and other social networks integration, etc.)
- Think outside of the box, in general, to help businesses avoid disruption and productivity loss.
This article has been written with the collaboration of Frost & Sullivan colleagues Vaishno Srinivasan and Leonardo Sampieri from the Connected Work team.