Service Provider Cloud

COVID-19 accelerates race to the cloud – report

It's a well-known development that cloud-based products and services have become increasingly popular during 2020, as businesses have been forced to find ways to support remote workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A new report has now illustrated just how much more is being spent on services such as Slack and Zoom compared to traditional on-premises services.

Birds of a feather: The coronavirus pandemic has seen cloud collaboration and video calling tools soar.  (Source: Kenrick Mills on Unsplash)
Birds of a feather: The coronavirus pandemic has seen cloud collaboration and video calling tools soar.
(Source: Kenrick Mills on Unsplash)

According to data from Synergy Research Group for the second quarter of this year, spending on unified communications or collaboration tools increased by 7% from the second quarter of 2019, reaching over $12 billion.

"Most notably, spending on hosted and cloud solutions grew by 18% while spending on on-premise products declined by 18%," the report said.

Jeremy Duke, Synergy Research Group's founder and chief analyst, said a steady migration away from on-premises products and towards cloud solutions had already been evident in the collaboration services market.

"COVID-19 and the sudden radical change in working practices has resulted in an acceleration of that transition," he said.

"CIOs need to find ways of maintaining communications and productivity in a world where remote working is the new norm and offices are sparsely populated. This is a world for which hosted and cloud solutions are perfectly suited."

The report found that Zoom, Twilio, Vonage and Slack all now feature in the top-ten ranking of collaboration vendors.

Slack and Microsoft Teams are leaders in team-based tools, while Zoom and Cisco Webex dominate in conferencing and Twilio and Vonage are leading cloud communications platforms.

Zooming up
Indeed, Zoom has been the oft-cited winner of the pandemic: The company recently reported that its revenues jumped by 355% year-on-year in the second quarter, to $663.5 million.

Also worth noting is that Vonage won the Most Innovative Business Cloud Service category in the 2020 Leading Lights Awards.

The company was recognized for its Vonage Communications Platform, which gives developers and enterprises the tools to create customized, real-time conversations across messaging and voice channels.

Operators have also been documenting the leading technology trends that have featured during the pandemic.

For example, in a commissioned online survey, conducted by Opinion Matters on behalf of BT and mobile arm EE, more than half of respondents said they had been using technology more often since COVID-19 had shut workplaces across the country.

The survey found that Zoom users on EE's network increased fivefold during lockdown compared to earlier in 2020.

Want to know more about cloud-native networks and NFV? Check out our dedicated cloud-native networks and NFV content channel here on Light Reading.

Virgin Media, the UK's largest cable operator, also disclosed that broadband customers have been downloading an extra 3.4 gigabytes of data per day on average compared to the download levels seen in February 2020.

However, more old-fashioned methods of staying in touch are not being abandoned: The BT/EE survey found that the phone call is still the favored way for "loved ones" to keep in touch. There was a 90% increase in calls lasting over five minutes compared to February.

Synergy Research also said that IP telephony, videoconferencing, on-premises email and content management remain popular on-premises products.

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— Anne Morris, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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