Videoconferencing platforms have skyrocketed over the last nine months. Lockdowns, remote work, and quarantines have all served to boost an industry to incredible heights. Companies like Zoom were unheard of by many until the pandemic. But its year-on-year growth in July was over 350 percent! But many believe this is simply the tip of the iceberg. Remote chats have become the norm, but much more is yet to come. And many new startups invested in innovative videoconferencing tools are ready to cash in.
Analysts now predict the annual growth rate for videoconferencing platforms and tools to be around 17.5 percent through 2027. Naturally, large companies like Google, Microsoft, and even Zoom will account for a fair share of this growth. But at the same time, many other businesses are expected to emerge as well. Just as cloud computing and data warehouses have benefitted from the pandemic, so will videoconferencing tools. Thus far, these predictions look to be spot on as several such companies are seeing tremendous venture capital support. It appears that we’re witnessing only the start of what’s to come.
“There is a profound change in the world…all the experiences we can have, from in-person to online, or recorded to live, up to now almost everything in life fit neatly into one of those quadrants. The boundaries were fixed. Now all these boundaries have melted away we can rebuild every experience to be natively hybrid. This is a monumental change.” – Phil Libin, CEO, Mmhmm
New Videoconferencing Players on the Scene
Notably, many of the existing videoconferencing platforms continue to develop new features to attract users. Microsoft teams and Google have borrowed some concepts from Zoom, and vice versa. Zoom has also added new innovations like end-to-end encryption to boost cybersecurity. It has also created more immersive technologies to reduce user fatigue and boost productivity. Based on this, few expect any of these videoconferencing platforms to lose ground. But the opportunities for growth lie more in enhancing these platforms using new videoconferencing tools. With that in mind, the following are a handful of businesses introducing such innovations into the marketplace today.
- Wonder – This is a Berlin-based company that was actually meant to be for weddings and events in its original form. The founders had to pivot once the pandemic hit. In response, they created one of the most innovative videoconferencing platforms designed for larger groups. Wonder takes a different approach to videoconferencing. Instead of connecting users, it creates a shared space where large groups enter. From this, others can connect within the shared space no different than a convention or large event. Equipped with additional videoconferencing tools, Wonder has over 200,000 users and recently received an additional $11 million in funding.
- Mmhmm – This startup is the brainchild of Phil Libin, and thus, it’s not surprising this company is gaining traction. Mmhmm offers a variety of videoconferencing tools that are designed to enhance all types of video presentations. Recently, Mmhmm acquired Memix based in San Francisco. The acquisition allowed the company to enable users to apply filters to backgrounds, change the lighting, and change the screen. It too has received notable capital in recent months as well.
“We think of this less in terms of content and more about people. The core experience is about live interaction, not just repositories of stuff. We want to build a place for collaboration and communication. Interesting ways to carve up a group virtually.” – Stephane Roux, Cofounder, Wonder
- Headroom – This is an exciting new startup in the videoconferencing platforms’ sector. Headroom essentially introduces artificial intelligence and data analytics into the virtual meeting place. Through AI, presenters are able to “read the room” and know when someone is confused, annoyed or has a question. Likewise, the software offers videoconferencing tools that make note-taking easier. Its mission is to improve existing video communications using data analytics so users are better able to focus on content.
- Descript – Another one of the unique videoconferencing tools, Descript was launched by Andrew Mason, founder of Groupon. Descript’s original platform allowed easy audio editing tools. But now, the company has expanded into video editing while offering a subscription-based revenue model. Users can edit screen or streaming videos, and multiple users can collaborate and share at once. As the world moves farther toward video communications, these types of videoconferencing platforms will be key.
“Throughout COVID-19, real-time video has become the default for both private and professional interactions, and hybrid working is here to stay.” – Jenny Dreier, investor, EQT Ventures Berlin
A Merging of Physical and Virtual Worlds
When the pandemic struck, it was clear that we were poorly equipped to make a shift into a virtual existence. Without question, many have adapted to videoconferencing platforms in record time out of necessity. And the good news is that productivity for those working from home looks positive. But remote communications remain lacking in many ways, and a significant room for improvement exists. This is where the potential market for videoconferencing tools comes into play. The innovations that are emerging today reflect an essential step in the right direction.
After we are able to gain control of the pandemic, few expect things to return to work as usual. Businesses are recognizing the advantages of remote work as are employees. Likewise, videoconferencing platforms not only provide mobility and flexibility. They offer a much broader outreach for collaboration and creative innovation. Understanding this, videoconferencing tools that facilitate a hybrid new world are likely to excel. Even those with talents in adapting and using these new videoconferencing tools will represent preferred hires in the future. What began out of necessity is now expanding as a vision. Those who can envision this new hybrid world the best will undoubtedly be poised for success.
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