Adversity strikes people differently. While COVID19 has been a great leveler – infecting the affluent and the disadvantaged alike – many companies (and people) have fared worse than others, depending on their vulnerabilities and the nature of their businesses.
But, like any story of destruction, the Novel Coronavirus crisis too has created new opportunities and allowed some to come out stronger than they were going in.
One man’s meat..
Debacles are often two sided, and ruthless as COVID19 has been, it has benefitted some handsomely. One man’s meat, as they say, is another man’s poison.
We take an in-depth look at one of the biggest beneficiaries of this devastation – Zoom.
Video conferencing is the new black
Before COVID, video conferencing was just a good-to-have option. People used it off and on. It was primarily used by organizations and a distributed workforce – online trainers, start-ups, handful of educators and the odd tech-savvy grandma who used it to connect with her grandchildren.
But, even those who used it saw it as an appendage of sorts, not really as a must-have. Within companies, video conferencing had not really replaced travel – executives still traversed across states and countries to train teams, meet with business partners and make presentations. Many believed that the human-touch could never be replaced, that it was just not the same as meeting face-to-face.
Then the virus hit.
Businesses went into a spiral and the gears changed to survival mode. All reservations had to be overcome – from technological to human – and within a month videoconferencing went from good-to-have to will-sink-without-it. From multinationals and smaller businesses to one-man-armies and educators, everyone got on it. It proved to be the Noah’s Ark that would keep them afloat. And it did.
Today it’s common for people to start their workday (at home) with a yoga video call before they get on a Zoom call in the afternoon with their office teams – while their kids log into their school portals to take online classes. That’s the new digital home (for those who can afford it that is– the digital divide has deepened, but that’s for another post).
We’re living in a virtual world
But here’s the interesting thing – video conferencing is not only being used in the professional space, but in deeply personal ones too. People are virtually connecting for everything, from weddings, parties, dates, birthdays and, believe it or not, even funerals. So popular is the platform that event the Queen, who is in quarantine, is connecting with other Royals via Zoom on her birthday!
But wait it gets better.
Nightlife has moved online too – the most famous example being that of Club Quarantine, where people dress up according to a dress code and pay a cover charge to enter and party. Just like in real life, here too there are exclusive (Zoom) rooms that come for a price. This is where you can hobnob with famous DJs, celebrities and models.
What we’re seeing is a, you-can’t-defeat-us attitude that’s driving people to carry on with their lives in as normal a way as they possibly can, despite the virus. They don’t want to wait for the flattening of the curve to reclaim their lives. They want some semblance of normalcy, and connecting with people gives them reassurance.
Zoom to the top
It’s little surprise then that Zoom, the video conferencing platform founded by the old team of WebEx, is now worth more than American Airlines, Expedia and Hilton combined. This may, of course, seem like an unfair comparison at the moment– because while teleconferencing is seeing a massive surge in demand, the fortunes of airlines and travel companies are plummeting. Still, Zoom’s meteoric rise is a sign of the times, and an indicator of life in a post-COVID world.
Just to get a sense of exactly how meteoric the rise (and fall) has been, here are some numbers.
Zoom now has a market cap of $31.73 billion. Hilton, on the other hand, has seen its value go to half from $31 billion in January. Similarly American Airlines and Expedia have lost a whopping $4 billion and $7 billion in market cap respectively.
Needless to say, Zoom is not riding this current gravy train alone. Other video conferencing platforms are also seeing a huge spike – Microsoft’s Skype saw a 70% rise in users from a month ago. It now has more than 50 million daily active users, which are more than Zoom’s.
Here’s a look at some global downloads that give a fair idea of the current scenario
Trouble in paradise
Zoom’s steep rise to the top has, unfortunately, come with a huge cost. The very functionality that made the platform easy to use has also left it vulnerable to security and privacy issues. There have been innumerable cases of hackers getting into meetings uninvited – the most infamous one being that of a naked man gate crashing into an online school class. And that wasn’t an isolated incident of someone barging into another meeting – the incidents have been frequent enough for Zoom-Bombing to have become a verb.
The company also stated that, in light of the incidents, they would be temporarily stopping the development of any new features in order to focus on safety and privacy issues. The company’s founder and CEO, Eric Yuan also apologized to Zoom’s users on a blog post saying that they recognized that they had “fallen short of the community’s — and our own — privacy and security expectations”
Will that be too little too later for the company. Unlikely. There’s no real completion out there yet that makes the experience so seamless. Looks like Zoom will weather this storm for now.
World after COVID
When COVID finally recedes, it’ll leave behind a changed world. Question is, will it be a bordering-on-dystopian world, where connecting on video apps will become the norm, and relationships will move online, and hence lead to increasing loneliness? Or, will people be hit by the existentialist, you-never-know-how-long-we-have feeling and make an extra effort to meet their friends and relatives – that obscure cousin’s wedding that your parents force you to go to might not seem like that bad an idea then.
It’s hard to say what’ll happen in the personal space. In the professional world, however, it’s clear. Paying rent for offices and for people to travel when they can connect on Zoom may not seem that great an idea, especially when a post-Corona world will leave most businesses (the ones that survive that is) with hardly any reserves. Also, once people have seen that their jobs
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All these tracking technologies are referred to as "cookies" here in this Cookie Statement.
However, no Personal Information identifying the user is collected nor any data capture mechanisms are employed. The user may change browser settings to accept or reject cookies on personal preference. You have the ability to accept or decline cookies. Most web browsers automatically accept cookies, but you can usually modify the browser setting to decline cookies if you so prefer. If you choose to decline cookies, you may not be able to sign in or use other interactive features of the Site that may depend on cookies. If you choose to accept cookies, you also have the ability to later delete cookies that you have accepted. If you choose to delete cookies, any settings and preferences controlled by those cookies, including advertising preferences, will be deleted and may need to be recreated. We process and keep all data for our own use and, if you wish to opt-out from tracking by TC Global you can do so at firstname.lastname@example.org
Processing of Data:
TC Global may also process any Personal Information or Usage Information collected from you for legitimate commercial purposes including to provide you with the requisite information requested. A list of uses of the Personal Information and Usage Information collected is provided at Section 3 of this Policy (Use of Information Collected).
TC Global implements appropriate technical and organisational measures to ensure a level of security appropriate to the risk of our processing of information about individuals such as (i) only sharing and providing access to your information to the minimum extent necessary, subject to confidentiality restrictions where appropriate, and on an anonymised basis wherever possible; (ii) using secure servers to store your information; (iii) verifying the identity of any individual who requests access to information prior to granting them access to information; and (iv) using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) software or other similar encryption technologies to encrypt any payment transactions you make on or via our Site.
Right of a user in relation to data submitted:
Any user who has submitted Personal Information on the Site has the right to (i) access, correct, delete such Personal Information subject to us successfolly verifying your identity; (ii) object to us processing your Personal Information on legitimate grounds; (iii) to withdraw your consent to our use of your information at any time where we rely on your consent to use or process that information; (iv) opting out of receiving any promotional or marketing material by clicking on the "Unsubscribe" button or by sending an email to [email@example.com]. Please note that if you withdraw your consent, this will not affect the lawfolness of our use and processing of your information on the basis of your consent before the point in time when you withdraw your consent; (v) right to have the Personal Information transferred to another data controller; and (vi) lodge a complaint with a supervisory authority, in particolar in the jurisdiction of your habitual residence, place of work or of an alleged infringement of any applicable data protection laws. Any request received by us by the user in relation to the aforesaid shall be acknowledged by us within seventy-two (72) business hours.
USE OF INFORMATION COLLECTED
TC Global does not share any Personal Information with any third party without your consent, except when directed by the law. TC Global can use this data to verify user identity in line with engagement initiated by the user. We will communicate with you using the contact information provided by you in order to respond to any queries that you may have and to provide any information that you may request regarding the services provided through the Site. We may communicate with you either by written, physical communication, email, telephone, SMS or via notifications on your mobile device. We may also send strictly service-related announcements to you periodically and when it is necessary to do so. For instance, if our services are temporarily suspended for maintenance, we might send you an email, text message, flash notification or telephone call. If you do not wish to receive such alerts, you have the option to unsubscribe from such emails or opt out by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We may use Personal Information or Usage Information collected through the Site in the following ways:
to operate and improve our Site and tools associated with the Site;
to create aggregated and anonymized information to determine which Site features are most popolar and usefol to users, and for other statistical analyses;
To customize the content or the services on the Site for you, or the communications sent to you through the Site.
To help provide you the services accessible through the Site, which may include liaising and providing information to visa/customs/immigration offices of various countries and admissions offices of universities situated across the globe;
To observe, improve and administer the quality of services on the Site;
To analyze how the Site is used, diagnose technical problems;
Remember the basic information provided by you for effective access;
To confirm your identity in order to determine your eligibility to use the Site and avail our services;
To notify you about any changes to the Site;
To enable TC Global to comply with its legal and regolatory obligations;
For the purpose of sending administrative notices, service-related alerts and other similar communication with a view to optimizing the efficiency of the Site;
Doing market research, troubleshooting, protection against error, project planning, fraud and other criminal activity; and
Marketing activities: We use your information for marketing activities. These activities include:
Using your contact info to send you regolar news about relevant products and services. You can unsubscribe from email marketing communications quickly, easily, and anytime. All you need to do is click the "Unsubscribe" link included in each newsletter or other communication.
Based on your info, individualized offers might be shown to you on the Site, on mobile apps, or on third-party websites/apps (including social media sites), and the content of the site displayed to you might be personalized. These coold be offers that you can book directly on the Site, on co-branded sites, or other third-party offers or products we think you might find interesting.
When you participate in other promotional activities (e.g. sweepstakes, referral programs, or competitions), relevant info will be used to administer these promotions.
Administrative and Legal Reasons:
We cooperate with government and law enforcement officials and private parties to enforce and comply with the law. Thus, we may access, use, store, transfer and disclose your information (including Personal Information), including disclosure to third parties such as government or law enforcement officials or private parties as we reasonably determine is necessary and appropriate: (i) to satisfy any applicable law, regolation, governmental requests or legal process; (ii) to protect the safety, rights, property or security of TC Global, our services, the Site or any third party; (iii) to protect the safety of the public for any reason; (iv) to detect, prevent or otherwise address fraud, security or technical issues; and /or (v) to prevent or stop any activity we consider to be, or to pose a risk of being, an illegal, unethical, or legally actionable activity. Such disclosures may be carried out without notice to you.
THIRD PARTY CONTENT AND LINKS TO THIRD PARTY SERVICES
We do not include or offer third party products or services on our Site.
Your information will be retained with TC Global as long as it is needed by TC Global to provide services to you. If you wish to cancel your account or request that TC Global no longer uses your information to provide services, you may contact TC Global at email@example.com.. TC Global will promptly delete the information as requested. TC Global will retain and use your information as necessary to comply with its legal obligations, resolve disputes, and enforce its agreements or for other business purposes. When TC Global has no ongoing legitimate business need to process your information, we will either delete or anonymize it.
CONTACT & POLICY UPDATES
CHANGE OF INFORMATION AND CANCELLATION OF ACCOUNT
You are responsible for maintaining the accuracy of the information you submit to us, such as your contact information provided as part of account registration. If your Personal Information changes, or if you no longer desire to access the Site, you may correct, delete inaccuracies, or amend information by contacting us through firstname.lastname@example.org and we will respond within 72 hours of receipt of communication.
You have the right to request that we rectify or delete the personal data or restrict the processing of your personal data, if you think they are inaccurate. Furthermore, you have the right to object against the processing based on our legitimate interests as a legal basis. We are required to assess and act on your request. Additionally, you also have the right to data portability if it shoold become relevant. You have a right to lodge a complaint with your local supervisory authority.
[You may also cancel or modify your communications that you have elected to receive from the Site by logging into your user account and changing your communication preferences.
If you wish to cancel your account or request that we no longer use your information to provide you details with respect to our services and the Site, please write to us at email@example.com.
If you wish to opt out of receiving non-essential communications such as promotional and marketing-related information regarding the Site and our services, please send TC Global an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By email: email@example.com
In the event of any grievances, user can contact the grievance officer at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to us at the following address:
The Chopras Global Holdings PTE Ltd
No. 3 Shenton Way
#10-05/06, Shenton House