The pandemic has greatly popularized meetings via video calling on applications such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams. Many have had to adapt quickly to the new trend and the idea that holding meetings is entirely possible if its participants are in remote locations is the standard at the moment. But in addition to becoming a means of facilitating business communication, Zoom has also made it easier for friends to organize their virtual, fun hours in which they would put coffee mugs in front of them pretending to talk to each other in a coffee shop or each would play, e.g. online slot at some of the casinos with no deposit bonuses cataloged here pretending to do so with their friend sitting next to him, as well as for families to stay in touch while the coronavirus caused us to be separated. Whatever the reason for using it was, Zoom was suddenly everywhere.
A clear proof of the increase in the use of Zoom is that, according to statistics, in this period last year, it dominated the list of the most downloaded applications for both iPhone and Android users. In a one-year period, from 2019 to 2023, Zoom’s market cap increased from $ 18.8 billion to $ 44.5 billion. It is so popular that it was in second place, just below TikTok, as the most downloaded application in the world during 2023. That very year, in the spring, Zoom gained close to 20 million new mobile users and many of those downloads were by users who did it for the first time. Zoom’s mobile app is installed about 3.7 times more than Skype and 8.6 times more than Google Hangouts.
Why have business people started using Zoom more often than Microsoft’s Skype and Google’s Hangouts? Here are five reasons:
- Simplicity. Video conferencing often requires downloading special software, as well as additional time to understand how to set them up. Zoom, on the other hand, is fairly easy to use. Just click on the Zoom link in the invitation email and your meeting will start automatically. If you do not have the Zoom application installed, you will be prompted to download and install it. It is quick and easy, which allows people who do not have a lot of knowledge about technology to cope.
- Availability. You can use it on any device, on your laptop, desktop computer, iPad, iPhone, or Android device. This means that almost anyone can use it, anywhere. Of course, this is also a valuable lesson for any company. The more your customers can use your service or buy your products, the better. The reason Zoom has just gained popularity is that everyone can use it, regardless of the device they use.
- Affordability. Zoom is free. And not just for organizing video meetings; this is true for many additional video conferencing services. Although many platforms now offer free versions to help companies because their workforce suddenly works from home, Zoom does not offer its services for free, and then charges for additional features. As a result, millions of people use Zoom in truly creative ways to stay connected both for work and personal reasons.
- Reliability. Speaking of those millions of people, Zoom has done extremely well considering the increase in usage over time. Sure, there were and still are a few flaws, but when compared to the amount of data that needs to be processed to enable real-time video meetings, it is actually pretty impressive that the app does not jam.
- Fun. Zoom is actually quite fun. For example, instead of organizing a meeting where everyone sees the inside of your kitchen, you can add your own wallpaper so that it looks like you are on the beach or in outer space. Zoom also has a built-in beauty filter, and it is a good idea to look nice during a meeting. You may think that these types of functions are not necessary and you would be right. They are not. But they are fun, and in the circumstances Zoom became popular, everyone wanted to have at least a little fun.
Facebook’s Most Ambitious Project – Free Horizon Workrooms App
However, trends are changing rapidly and it can easily happen that a video call meeting becomes an outdated technology. This is exactly how Facebook thinks, strongly imposing new changes. Facebook recently unveiled a free Horizon Workrooms app designed for users of Oculus Quest 2 VR glasses. The app, which is currently in beta, is Facebook’s most ambitious project to date and enables group meetings in virtual reality.
The app provides a figure of 16 participants with VR goggles housed in virtual conference rooms, and each participant is represented by an avatar that has a display as an upper-body hovering above a virtual chair at a common table. The application supports up to 50 participants in a single meeting where the rest of them can join via video call. Meeting participants with VR glasses can use their hands and fingers for gestures, and the mouths of their avatars can move, giving the impression that they are speaking. A virtual panel located in front of the meeting participants allows them to share photos and view presentations.
The application for organizing virtual meetings uses a combination of hand tracking and a special method of using sound known as “spatial audio” and creates the impression that the sound is coming from a certain direction. The utilization of sound also uses the elimination of all background sounds that could interfere with communication during the meeting.
Facebook’s New Attempt to Popularize the Virtual World
This is not the first time Facebook has worked with its subsidiary Oculus to popularize virtual reality. Oculus Rooms and Facebook Spaces were first launched in 2016 and 2017, enabling smaller groups to socialize in virtual reality. Both applications were shut down during October 2019, but as early as the following year, intensive work on a virtual social world called Horizons was announced. The Horizon Workrooms app is just the product of a big project from which more interesting things are expected in the coming years.
Facebook wants to popularize virtual reality, but one of the barriers to its wider application is the high price of newer models of VR glasses, which are the only ones currently allowed to participate in virtual meetings. It is also necessary to accustom people to the frequent use of this form of interaction, but in practice, it has been shown that the use of virtual reality has not yet gained the necessary popularity. Part of the problem is related to the ergonomics of the VR glasses model. Oculus Quest 2 VR glasses used for in-app meetings can weigh up to just over a pound and this can be a burden when meetings are held over extended periods of time.