Sensor Tower on Thursday said that the Zoom conferencing app was the most downloaded app across the world in April 2020 with the app having an 60 times growth from April 2019. The company engaged in providing market intelligence and insights on the global app economy said in its report that the Zoom app registered over 131 million installations. Additionally, the report highlighted that Google Meet and Microsoft Teams were also among the most downloaded apps in April. Google Meet is said to have emerged as the third most downloaded app on the App Store while Microsoft Teams took the fourth spot. In its combined list of downloads across App Store and Google Play, Sensor Tower said that Zoom occupies the top spot while Google Meet emerges in eighth with Microsoft Teams taking the 10th spot.
Further, the report said that the country with most downloads of the Zoom app was India with the country registering 18.2% of the total downloads of the Zoom app. The video conferencing apps have certainly gained in popularity in India and around the globe due to the COVID-19 lockdowns. App Annie in a report in March said that the people have turned to video conferencing apps not just for business cases but also for personal use. Several video conferencing apps including Zoom offer a dial-in number that enables participants to join the conference calls by calling the specified number.
However, certain apps require the hosts to subscribe to their “audio conferencing plans” for the dial-in numbers to be toll-free. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in its advisory on Monday asked the citizens to exercise caution while calling the dial-in numbers as they could experience “bill shocks.” Crucially, several countries including India have also issued an advisory highlighting that the Zoom app is not a “safe platform” for users especially for official purposes. With certain apps requiring hosts to subscribe to additional plans and with the government issuing advisory on the popular app, there’s certainly room for a local provider to enter the space.
JioMeet Would Address Issues Found on Other Apps
Reliance Industries on April 30 announced its financial performance for its fourth quarter and year ended March 31, 2020 with the company specifically highlighting that its Jio Platforms would launch JioMeet.
The company said that it would soon launch its video conferencing platform JioMeet and that the platform would work on “any device.”
Pankaj Pawar, senior VP at Reliance Jio, said in the earnings call that the JioMeet platform would address the security issues found on other other apps.
“There are a whole lot of solutions which started moving in, within the space of video conferencing and a couple of them - they got challenged for the security issues, some of them they thought they were completely enterprise friendly but not as much friendly for consumers,” Pawar said.
The JioMeet platform is said to be designed to solve three primary use cases including use in education, healthcare and enterprise customers.
“These are the unique cases where the workflows get designed and during those workflows the unique ecosystems and communities come together and that is what we are looking for,” Pawar said.
Reliance in its investor presentation highlighted that the JioMeet would present itself as an integrated component within Jio eEducation platform. The JioMeet is said to enable students and teachers to attend virtual classrooms with the ability of participants to record class sessions.
The platform would also be a crucial component within Jio eHealth platform where users can consult with doctors virtually.
“This is a unique need of the market right now, but I think we're looking at it that whatever we're building, it is primarily for the societal need right now, but over a period, this has the potential to serve wider community of health care industry at large,” Pawar said.
Reliance Banks on “Simple, Smart and Secure” Mantra
Pawar said that the JioMeet would promise to be a “simple, smart, secure” solution that can be used by any user.
“We were making sure that we are building platforms which can take care of our current needs or the societal needs [and] at the same time some of these platforms are going to become extremely powerful growth engines as we go forward in our journey,” Pawar said.
It remains to be seen if JioMeet can present itself as a strong alternative to Zoom or other video conferencing apps available in the market. Tech giants including Google and Microsoft have also been pushing more features to its video conferencing apps in a bid to lure more users onto its platforms.
In April, Google announced that the premium features on Google Meet would be free for everyone. The Google Meet platform is said to have grown 30 times since January with the platform adding three million new users everyday. Further, the company said that the Google Meet platform hosts 100 million participants each single day.
App Annie in its report in March highlighted that the social networking apps become “stickier” as more people use it.
“Social networking apps tend to benefit greatly from the network effect, where the value for a user increases as more of their friends and family use the app,” App Annie said.
Further, the report said that video conferencing apps have the ability to reshape the habits of people.
“As people face uncertain timelines for the length of social isolation, video conferencing apps have the potential to vastly influence our daily habits — breaking down geological barriers and fostering the ability to work and socialize relatively seamlessly,” App Annie said.
Transparency Market Research said that the video conferencing market will have a global valuation of US$16 billion by the end of 2030. The global video conferencing market had a valuation of US$6 billion in 2019 indicating that the market will expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9% between 2020 to 2030. The Asia Pacific region which includes India is said to be “at the forefront of global demand” of video conferencing apps.
For now, Jio seems to have its task cut out with its JioMeet solution. While there is a room for an additional player to enter the market now, its future prospect lies in the “network effect.” If Jio can battle the tech giants and present itself as a strong candidate, it could grab a huge pie of the video conferencing market.