SINGAPORE (Apr 17): From San Francisco to Sydney and Singapore, the commute for office workers these days is from the bedroom to wherever they can use their laptop. Companies, governments and schools around the world have sent employees and students home to prevent infections and to work or study in the largest work-from-home experiment in history as the coronavirus pandemic enters its fourth month. The main enabler of work-from-home and stay-at-home trend is Zoom Video Communications, a videoconferencing software firm whose daily active user base ballooned over 20-fold from 10 million in December to over 200 million in late March. Viral adoption has turned Zoom into a verb, so these days we Zoom someone just like we Google something.

Will Zoom redefine how we communicate in the post-Pandemic world the way landline phones changed how people communicated after World War II or the way mobile phones became ubiquitous in the late 1990s? Or will the intense scrutiny that has followed Zoom’s ubiquity eventually derail it?

Zoom’s software connects people through video, voice, chat and content sharing, and enables face-to- face video experiences with colleagues, business partners, friends and family. While WhatsApp video, Skype or FaceTime can instantly link you with anyone, you cannot attend a yoga class on WhatsApp video or a board meeting on FaceTime. What makes Zoom different is that it is a professional software that can easily be scaled from two users to thousands joining virtual corporate meetings that can be recorded and shared. “Working and studying from home requires software that works anywhere and enables collaboration,” notes James Wang at asset management firm Ark Invest in New York.

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