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A Breakout Moment for Remote Work and Study Technology

2 min read
Mar 10, 2020
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Anyone coming to work last Friday already felt the word “crisis” hanging in the air among the real, or imagined, COVID-19 viruses. Then came news of an oil price war. Stocks are falling fast and with them the hopes of many businesses. It's hard to find any bright spots in what has been a gloomy start to the year. Remote work and study technology, however, are one of a few segments that have found their moment to shine.

Zoom Video Communications produces software for remote work of all kinds, from video conferences to chat and phone systems. CEO Eric Yuan recently boasted of Zoom's goal to make video communications technology better than face-to-face interactions.

Founded in the US in 2011, Zoom gained unicorn status, a $1 billion valuation, in 2017. Since its IPO last March, Zoom's stock is up almost 200%. The timing couldn't be better for its products. Air pollution and climate-changing emissions are causing stress for both workers and employers. Working from home and not taking that next business trip across the globe both offer relief. Zoom's software proposes to let you do just that.

Mandatory remote work due to the coronavirus outbreak is just one more reason to give such software a try. Indeed, Zoom stock is one of the few not to have lost value since the start of the year. Zoom is not alone. Alibaba's DingTalk and Tencent's Ketang have also surged in popularity.

DingTalk jumped into the spotlight when millions of Chinese students were forced to stay home in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. Although software like Zoom also offers educational features, Chinese schools naturally turned to the locally developed DingTalk and Ketang. It's unclear just what effects this change will have on students' results. Though it seems likely that experimentation in online education will continue even after Chinese students return to classrooms.

As employers and educators reach to new tech for solutions to urgent problems, workers and students might wake up to a new reality as the current crisis fades into the past.

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