Facebook takes on Zoom in video-conferencing market

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Facebook has launched Messenger Rooms, a video-conferencing tool which is set to rival Zoom.

The social media giant says it is rolling out the solution globally. Messenger Rooms lets people create a ‘room’ to host joinable free video calls with up to 50 people, with no time limit.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a growing video communication service market and tech firms have been battling it out to introduce new remote working services or expand their existing offerings.

COVID-19-induced global lockdowns have resulted in an urgent need for remote interactions, as people across the world have been forced to limit their in-person meetings, switching instead to virtual networking sessions.

The user base of video-conferencing and online meetings platform Zoom has since grown to 300 million.

Now, social media titan Facebook has joined in.

“Facebook users globally can create a room from Messenger, and users in North America can create a room from Facebook. We’re also starting to rollout the ability to host up to 50 people in a room globally,” says Stan Chudnovsky, VP of Messenger, on the company’s blog.

“We will continue to add more features to Messenger Rooms in the coming months. We hope Messenger Rooms will enable people everywhere to stay more connected with the people they love, no matter where they might be.”

Messenger Rooms can be shared on Facebook through News Feed, Groups and Events, “so it’s easy for you to drop by whenever you want. You can choose who can see and join your room or remove people from your room and lock the room if you don’t want anyone else to join,” says Chudnovsky.

Facebook says to create a room, users must download the latest version of the Facebook and messenger mobile app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

The launch of Messenger Rooms coincides with the release of a new study on the unified communication-as-a-service (UCAAS) market, which states it will reach $60 billion by 2030.

Research firm Future Market Insights (FMI), which conducted the study, says the growth has been fuelled by the work-from-home trend due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is marking a rare occasion where business leaders, globally, have to quickly enable their workforces to work remotely for an extensive period of time. Consequently, businesses are incorporating remote work, where communication and remote work policies hold the key to meet the expectations between management and the workforce,” says FMI.

According to the study, the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to accelerate cloud adoption, not only as a technological shift, “but also as an operating model, as enterprises across the globe are recognising the limitations of their current environments and struggling with the impact of the pandemic on their businesses”.

FMI says in response to the pandemic, UCAAS solution providers are taking special measures to meet customer demand for cloud usage, due to the sudden shift to a remote-first workforce.

The study says almost 70% of CIOs agree cloud services would become a priority in 2020, and they expect to reduce on-premises workloads to 35% in 2021, compared to almost 60% in 2019.

“The unified communication as a service market is expected to grow by 1.3x during 2019-2020, and will witness an upsurge in demand amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, as remote working becomes the new norm,” says FMI.

The firm says continuous innovation in cloud communication is resulting in greater flexibility and cost-saving solutions for conferencing in enterprises.

According to the study, changing IT adoption trends and increasing deployment of cloud computing solutions are creating potential growth opportunities for the UCAAS market.

“Increasing adoption of cloud-based communication and collaboration tools such as Web-conferencing, cloud storage, unified messaging and others, due to global lockdowns, is creating potential opportunities for the UCAAS market,” says FMI.

“The rising trend of work-from-home amidst the COVID-19 pandemic will drive the market for SaaS-based applications in the coming years. Also, the integration of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, Internet of things and cognitive security will propel the UCAAS market over the decade ahead.”

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