Zoom Video Communications, the video-conferencing platform, is finally up and running after an hour-long outage which resulted in users being unable to join meetings on Wednesday. Downdetector, an outage tracking website showed that nearly 2,000 people reported the issue with Zoom. The company said, the glitch was most likely due to a localised internet service issue and announced that all the systems were now operational on its status Page.
In the pandemic hit the year 2020, Google’s Duo and Meet hosted over one trillion min of VC across the globe. Google, this year, added a Meet tab in Gmail account so that users can jump from an email to a VC. The Google app crossed 100 mn users daily and its DAU “had a peak of 235 mn” in the Q3 of 2020. During the peak of COVID-19 in April-May, Google Meet added 3 mn users per day. Meet calls are unlimited, for any Gmail user, till March 31, 2021.
Zoom is now planning to develop an email service and aims to release it next year, along with a calendar app, to take on giants like Google and Microsoft. Zoom Video Communication, according to media reports, has begun developing a web email service and “might offer a very early version of the product to some customers next year”. Zoom, however, did not comment on the media reports.
Zoom is lifting the 40-min time limit it has for more than three participants for free accounts during the upcoming holidays. In a blog post, Zoom said that the limit will be lifted for Hanukkah, Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year’s Day and Kwanzaa. It is worth a recall that the VC service has lifted it’s a 40-min time limit for Thanksgiving Day this year as well. Google is also letting free users host Google Meet calls that last up to 24 hrs right till March 31 next year.
Free users bills, pushed down Zoom Video Communication’s gross profit margins to 66.7%, below analysts’ estimates of 72.1%, much below then the pre-pandemic average of around 80%. Zoom’s margins would remain under pressure into 2021 as free users will continue to spike the cost. Shares of the company, which have risen about 7X this year fuelled by the meteoric rise in demand in VC for work, school or socialising due to the pandemic, fell 5% on Monday.
Zoom is set to lift the limit of 40 min for even non-paying users of its VC services on ‘Thanksgiving Day’ in the USA. The company has been made in order to let families spend more time virtually for Thanksgiving Day falling on Nov 26th. The limit, during the pandemic, has been one of the major restrictions, which forced users to restart the VC after the end of the limit. Zoom has not confirmed if the restrictions have been lifted in the rest of the world including India or not.
Tech Mahindra has announced a strategic partnership with communication-collaboration platform Huddl.ai to launch remote working solutions for global enterprises of all verticles. The solution, leveraging AI and ML, will enable remote meeting experience on VC, by using automatic speech recognition, real-time collaborative notes, and calendar recommendation engine. The partnership is a part of Tech M’s TechMNxT alliance in Silicon Valley.
Nvidia has introduced Nvidia Maxine – a new platform to enhance VC experience for users. It gives developers access to an AI-powered cloud native solution that enables adding face alignment, gaze correction, improved resolution, and even noise cancelling during a VC. With AI-based video compression tech running on NVIDIA GPUs, developers can reduce the bandwidth down to one-tenth of the bandwidth required, reducing costs and delivering smoother experience.
Google is extending its policy that lets free Google Meet users host calls for longer than 60 minutes. The policy that was earlier set to expire after Sept 30th is now extended to March 2021. Sept 30th also marks when G Suite and G Suite for Education customers will lose free access to some advanced Google Meet features – hosting meetings with up to 250 participants and ability to save meeting recordings to Google Drive. That free access is not being extended.