After the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing fear about contracting the virus, many companies and businesses turned to remote work to protect their employees.
Then governments around the world started implementing lockdown measures to curb the spread of the virus. This forced many to turn to technology as an alternative since physical access to businesses, schools, churches among others was banned.
In Nigeria, the lockdown lasted about a month and saw many adopt the new norm of using digital technology for remote work.
Video conferencing, among other categories of apps, came to the rescue, as companies, schools and worship centres turned to them to continue working remotely even while stuck at home.
Examining the period of the lockdown, we ranked the top 5 apps that were popularly used for remote work. The ranking is based on the amount of added users, revenue generated, daily usage and surveyed users comments.
With remote work driving the boom of video conferencing apps, Zoom was one of the biggest winners. During the early days of adoption, the company deployed millions of licences to meet the increasing demand for video call services.
Although several concerns relating to privacy and security surfaced, the company still recorded a very impressive Q1 across the board. The company reported a stunning sequential growth as usage grew by over 200% compared to the last quarter. Customer base also grew by 354% year on year.
In the last 4 month, the number of daily participants on Zoom has grown from 10 million to more than 300 million. Zoom’s revenue also rose by 169% to $328 million driven by new customers who accounted for about 71% of the increase.
Also, the revenue growth rate for APAC and EMEA which includes Nigeria was 246%. The regions accounted for about 25% of Zoom’s total revenue. Of the 10 random workers surveyed, 8 out of them used Zoom for remote work during the lockdown.
2. Microsoft Teams
Similar to Zoom, Microsoft Teams also enjoyed a major boost in usage due to remote working. In March, video calls on the platform grew by over 1000% with a new daily record of 2.7 billion meeting minutes.
The customer base grew in demand to about 75 million users. Microsoft’s Revenue in Productivity and Business Processes which includes Microsoft Teams increased by 15% to $11.7 billion.
However, Microsoft Teams’ huge increase in usage didn’t translate much into revenue because Microsoft offered free trials to a large number of new customers. Of the 10 random workers surveyed, 6 out of them had used Microsoft teams at least once for work-related purposes during the lockdown.
After the world went remote, tens of thousands of new organizations and millions of new users adopted Slack. The average time spent connected on the platform increased from about nine hours to well over 10 hours per day.
In its Q1 report, Slack reported one of the strongest quarter with over 90,000 new free and paid organizations. This brought the total number of organisations using Slack to more than 750,000.
The company also added a significant 12,000 in net new paid customers, bringing the total to more than 122,000. For the paid users, average time spent actively using Slack each day increased from just under 90 minutes at the end of Q4 to over 120 minutes per day at the end of Q1.
Revenue for the quarter was $202 million, up 50% year on year. The revenue could have been higher but most of the new users used slack on the free plan. Of the 10 random workers surveyed, 8 out of them had used Slack for remote work during the lockdown.
Although Whatsapp may be more of a social platform for hanging out with friends and family, it is also used for business. During the lockdown, business especially SMEs turned to WhatsApp to auction their goods and services.
That’s not all, the platform is also used by companies. Damilade, an employee of a music company said that they used WhatsApp as the primary source of communication in the company.
With over 1.5 billion users in 180 countries, WhatsApp is the most popular messaging app in the world. The platform has about 1 billion daily users. It has 3 million users of WhatsApp Business, 2 billion minutes spent making WhatsApp voice and video calls per day and 55 million WhatsApp video calls made per day, lasting 340 million minutes in total.
WhatsApp would have ranked higher with these numbers but the changes caused by the lockdown was smaller compared to those listed above especially under remote working.
5. Google Meet (G Suite)
Like other teleconferencing tools, Google Meet saw its fair share of boom in demand during the lockdown. Daily usage of the video platform during the period was up 25X as more companies opted to use its services.
The platform’s day-over-day growth also exceeded 60% as Google made the advanced feature in Google Meet free to all G Suite customers globally. With the service being free, the revenue generated reduced but Google still gained from customers paying for the G Suite package.
Another tool from the G Suite that is gaining much traction is Google calendar which made it easier to schedule calls and virtual meetings during the lockdown. Of the 10 random workers surveyed, 7 out of them had used Google Meet for remote work at least once during the lockdown, 6 said they have used google calendar in scheduling Virtual meetings.
Get the best of Africa’s daily tech to your inbox – first thing every morning.
Join the community now!