Microsoft Teams sees 200% increase in meeting minutes

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Microsoft says it is witnessing a surge in demand for its unified workspace platform, Microsoft Teams, reaching 44 million daily users across the globe.

With millions of people around the world impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, national lockdowns have affected how businesses operate, with major disruptions in productivity and supply chains.

The impact of COVID-19 has resulted in the growing need for remote interactions, as more companies and educational institutions move to virtual workspaces, which have seen workplace software providers such as Microsoft, Google and Zoom witness increased demand for their work-from-home services.

According to Microsoft’sWork Trend Index, Microsoft Teams reached a new daily record of 2.7 billion minutes of use in one day,representing a 200% increase from 900 million minutes on 16 March.

The tech giant’s Office 365-based collaboration platform combines workplace chat, video meetings, file storage and application integration service for business employees, students and teachers.

Colin Erasmus, modern workplace business group lead at Microsoft SA, told ITWeb that as local companies adapt to full-time remote work, more local firms are using Microsoft Teams, with local organisations using the video conferencing feature in 36% of all meetings.

“This moment in history is a turning point for how we will work and learn. The trend line we’re seeing and anticipating for increased remote working is unprecedented.  We have seen significant increase of use among local customers, as workers everywhere adjust to meeting, chatting and collaborating exclusively online,” notes Erasmus.

Microsoft Teams has 183 000 tenants in 175 countries using Teams for Education, which allows educators to connect with their students via a virtual classroom experience.

Video-conferencing software company Zoom told CNBC that in 2020 alone, it has brought in more active users so far than it did in 2019.

The company has added 2.22 million monthly active users, with over one hundred billion meeting minutes.

Google says its video-conferencing service, Google Hangouts, has witnessed demand of up to 25 times larger than what it had seen in January, adding an average of two million new daily users.

According to Microsoft, team users are turning on their video two times more often than before the COVID-19 outbreak, with total video calls on its platform growing by 1 000% in March.

Countries with the most active Microsoft Teams users are Norway and the Netherlands, which make up about 60% of all calls, including video.

In terms of video usage, people in Australia use video in meetings 57% of the time, Italy 53%, Chile 52%, Switzerland 51% and Spain 49%.

Meanwhile, people in the UK, Canada and Sweden use video 47% of the time and people in Mexico and the US use it 41% and 38% respectively. SA (36%), France (37%) Singapore (26%) and India (22 %) are among the lowest users of the video tool.

In recent months, security experts have been warning organisations of the risks posed by remote working, and Erasmus says Microsoft has put plans in place to ensure user safety. The tech giant is processing more than eight trillion security signals every day and uses them to proactively protect users from security threats.

“We know that every day,  millions of people depend on our tools to stay connected and get work done. We take that responsibility seriously.  We have a well-vetted process in place to address the increased cloud infrastructure. In addition to monitoring our systems,  we have service continuity planning for the people managing our systems, leveraging a geographically-diverse engineering workforce to support those services and location,” explains Erasmus.

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