The growing popularity of Zoom in Bangladesh during COVID-19
Publish- May 10, 2020, 09:00 PM
Md. Ishtiak Hossain - UNB Staff writer
Update- May 10, 2020, 09:03 PM
Zoom, currently the world’s most popular video calling service, has become a household name in many parts of the globe including Bangladesh during the pandemic of COVID-19.
Since so many people have been working from home due to the lockdown, people and organizations around the world have been holding virtual meetings via Zoom for professional, educational and even for personal communication purposes - and the scenario is no different in Bangladesh as well.
The video calling system has taken the world by storm for sure, but in the presence of giants like Microsoft with Skype, Google with Hangouts and Duo, Cisco with Webex, Apple with FaceTime, Facebook with its Messenger and WhatsApp video calling service and a lot of other platforms that are available online - questions are surfacing around, about the growing popularity of Zoom.
“Well, Zoom certainly has its reasons behind its popularity”, says Tanisha Ahmed, an English medium school teacher in the capital. “Since the beginning of the lockdown, we have been holding virtual classes with our students via Zoom. It is easy, simple, convenient, technically more improved with HD video and audio than other available platforms and most importantly, it has the option to put everyone in a single frame, as it has the capability to cater more people at once in both phone and computer.”
It seems like the platform has received a great number of other users during the COVID-19 lockdown in Bangladesh. Aside from distance learning and online classroom activities in educational institutes, many organizations including both government and non-government officials have been holding video conferences through Zoom meetings.
“I was worried whether I would be able to join my office or not, during the lockdown - since all the transportation services have been shelved and I do not own any personal vehicle. Besides, I was not comfortable going out during this contagious period of time. Thanks to Zoom, now I am granted to perform my office responsibilities from my home and attend important meetings without escaping any deadlines,” Isfaque Rahman, an executive at a multinational company at Gulshan in the capital, told UNB.
Like Isfaque, many employees of several organizations are regularly performing their official meetings in both smartphone and laptop or desktop, as the video calling service is easily compatible with almost every device and can host up to 100 participants and uninterrupted, free of cost service for 40 minutes. Along with that, it offers other video conferencing features such as screen sharing, personal or group chatting, providing virtual background and more.
The growing, ongoing popularity has surely increased the revenue of the video calling service. From 10 million global and regular users in December 2019, the company now has an incredible total of 190 million regular users in April 2020, thanks to the present circumstances - reports Times of India.
Zoom Video Communications, Inc. (Zoom) was launched in 2013 by Eric Yuan, a Chinese American businessman. Having the profound experience of working as an engineer and executive in Cisco Webex, Eric conceptualized a new smartphone-friendly video conferencing system to Cisco authority. His idea was rejected, and Yuan left Cisco to found Zoom which was built on the ideology to provide audio-visual and online chat services through a cloud-based peer-to-peer software platform, which can be used for teleconferencing, telecommuting, distance learning, social interactions, telemedicine and more services.
American communications technology company headquartered in San Jose, California had always aimed at something which was a missed opportunity for other platforms - the quality of video in the calls. While other companies were more focused on the audio quality than the video experience while providing video calling service for the customers, Zoom prioritized on the video through providing High Definition video quality in the video calling which led it to its success.
Besides the video quality and free services, Zoom also got the success for its easy compatibility with almost every browser such as Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari and more - alongside with its availability in both Google Playstore and Apple’s Appstore. Zoom also uses a very limited amount of data at a time, so it works well even in slow or weak internet connections, thus providing a smoother experience for its users.
All these ‘user-friendly’ natures, which were very much missing in other services - Zoom reached at 1 Billion USD valuation within 2017, just within four years of its launching.
However, recently some security and privacy issues had been floating around in many countries such as intruders appearing in video meetings and showing unusual, inappropriate contents. Along with the issue which is labelled as ‘Zoom-bombing’, countries like India, Germany and Taiwan have marked the application as ‘not safe’.
However, BBC reports that the Zoom authority has taken increased security measures aiming at the free users of its platform, which has started being implemented from May 9. A new level of encryption will also be introduced across the platform from May 30, which Zoom says will "provide increased protection for meeting data and resistance against tampering".
As technology is constantly evolving with having both positive and negative sides of the coin - services like Zoom is making lives easier in terms of connectivity for a developing nation like Bangladesh for sure, with its affordable features during the crucial period of the coronavirus pandemic.