Social distancing and Stay-At-Home/Shelter-In-Place Orders have made video conferencing a more-than-likely permanent feature of most workplaces. Various industries have met the challenge of a workforce operating predominantly from home in innovative ways over the last several months, and chief among those new ways of interacting is the Zoom call. In December 2019, Zoom’s daily users numbered in the 10 million range; by April 9, there were now 200 million. Whether you’ve been invited to a Zoom, set up a Zoom, or just heard about Zoom, it is clear that Zoom is now a part of our culture and it shows no signs of going anywhere anytime soon.
There are a number of reasons why Zoom has risen to the top as the must-have video chat app. Not only does Zoom use the “freemium” model, meaning that there is a free version available to users who don’t need premium features, but it is known for its reliability and simplicity. It is also accessible on on almost any device. Add in slick features such as the ability to apply an Instagram-like filter to one’s appearance, the undeniably fun option to use a “virtual” background, and the chance to share a user’s screen, and you’re also looking at an app possessing a coolness that its competitors lack.
Zoom took advantage very early on to stake out its territory. For instance, in early March, the California-based technology firm announced free Zoom group video chats with no time limits for all students from kindergarten to 12th grade in the United States, Japan and Italy. For those schools and school systems that took advantage of the offer, the expectation is that they will continue to use Zoom for remote learning purposes well into the future beyond COVID-19, to assist students when they are home sick or traveling. Zoom’s savvy business move not only locks Zoom in as an indispensable tool in the education world, it also solidifies the relationship between the app and its very young users that are now being asked to learn and navigate Zoom in order to access their learning.
Zoom similarly engaged in a very deliberate and forward-thinking way with the legal industry, which likely represents a significant market share. In our survey of all 50 states, more than half were using Zoom exclusively in at least one court system, and in over 70% of the states using Zoom, it was the only identified video conferencing tool for the entire state’s courts. For instance, here in Texas, Zoom secured a contract with the State’s Office of Court Administration to be the provider of choice for all legal proceedings and a license was made available to all State of Texas judges. Even though there were a number of video conferencing tools available before the pandemic took hold in the United States, by establishing itself as the preferred means for video conferencing in the court system, Zoom has made itself an essential tool for law offices everywhere and if the past is any indicator, that brand loyalty will stay with lawyers well beyond the end of the current situation.
What will further cement the relationship between lawyers and Zoom is the fact that Zoom will be the first time most judges, lawyers, and legal personnel will have participated in a video conference. The legal industry is notoriously slow to adapt to new technology, but COVID-19 has forced the profession to adapt quickly to a new way of doing things with Zoom paving the way. In doing so, Zoom will become the de facto choice for these newly minted video conferencing navigators well beyond the reaches of the pandemic.