• Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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BusinessDay

Boom time for these mobile apps as coronavirus shuts people indoors

Zoom

As millions of people around the world are forced to shut themselves indoors to avoid contracting or spreading the pandemic coronavirus, three teleconference apps and a movie streaming app (Netflix) are seeing massive appreciation in market valuation.

The teleconferencing mobile apps, Zoom, Slack and Microsoft Teams have all seen huge jumps in the number of downloads. In the first week of January the three apps attracted a combined 1.4 million new users across the App Store and Google Play, the figure has since jumped to a record 6.7 million in the first week of March, according to Sensor Tower, an app analytics firm.

Video streaming service, Netflix is also experiencing a lot of downloads particularly in countries with significant exposure to the coronavirus. Data from Sensor Tower show that the streaming service hit a 60 percent increase in installations in Italy which has the second-largest number of cases of the virus globally. Netflix downloads saw a 30 percent rise in Spain last week compared to the previous week.

Since the outbreak assumed global proportions and earning a pandemic tag from the World Health Organisation (WHO) millions of companies around the world have closed shop and asked their workers to work remotely.

“We are targeting 100% working from home for all Carbon staff to minimise the likelihood of infection,” Chijioke Dozie, co-founder and CEO of Carbon informed its customers in an email sent out on Wednesday. “However, our support team will still be available 24/7 but via emails and social media only.”

It also meant that these companies have to rely heavily on remote conferencing tools.

These services range from video conferencing apps such as Zoom and Google Hangouts Meet to cutting edge tools inspired by “Star Wars” to make remote work more manageable. In Nigeria, companies like Paga and Carbon which also asked its workers to work from home have resorted to these conference apps to ensure every member of their team is on the same page.

Among the conferencing apps, Zoom has been particularly outstanding. On Wednesday, the market capitalisation reached $31.5 billion. The company’s stock has risen up 58 percent from March 13.

Despite the surge, Kelly Steckelberg, the chief finance officer of Zoom said it is too early to call.

“For Q4, we did not see any impact [to our business results] directly related to coronavirus. As a reminder, we have definitely seen an uptick in usage. But a lot of that is on the free side,” he said.

On Tuesday downloads for Slack hit more than 38 percent for the first time.

Researchers at AppAnnie also confirmed seeing a massive spike in downloads of remote working apps since February.