With the white collar world moving toward remote work due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Zoom has become the video conferencing platform of choice for many. But the recent announcement of Verizon’s acquisition of the BlueJeans Network platform might change the game.
The Covid-19 pandemic has forced more people than ever to work from home, bringing a surge in the use of videoconferencing tools. Zoom, especially, has benefited tremendously from this new remote work trend, going from 10 million users to 200 million in about three months.
However, recent security and privacy issues with the platform have discouraged several customers, including SpaceX, NASA, and the New York City Department of Education. This opens the field up for some competition from other players with stronger security features like BlueJeans Network.
Verizon Acquires BlueJeans
Verizon Business announced on April 16th that they had reached an agreement with BlueJeans Network for the acquisition of the cloud-based video conferencing and event platform. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter for approximately $400 million.
BlueJeans is not a newcomer in the video conferencing scene; it was founded in 2009.
But their sole focus on the business and enterprise segment of the market (15,000 corporate customers), with encrypted video conferencing capabilities and an exclusively paid offering, has left them lagging a bit behind competitors like Zoom.
For Verizon Business, this acquisition would expand its B2B portfolio offerings with one more way to grow the network’s revenues. Verizon is betting on the fact that more companies will adopt long-term remote work for part of their workforce.
What the Acquisition Means for the Live Streaming Market
According to a Verizon press release, “customers will benefit from a BlueJeans enterprise-grade video experience on Verizon’s high-performance global networks. In addition, the platform will be deeply integrated into Verizon’s 5G product roadmap, providing secure and real-time engagement solutions for high growth areas such as telemedicine, distance learning, and field service work.”
For BlueJeans, Verizon’s financial backing might represent an unprecedented opportunity to expand their capacity, innovate, and increase their customer base. It is possible that Verizon’s business clients will move towards BlueJeans as part of a unified communications bundle, instead of using several providers for connectivity, security, video conferencing, etc.
The main advantage of BlueJeans compared to Zoom is their enterprise-grade security features. Zoom has been hit in the past weeks with a slew of warnings and bans. For example, Google has recently banned its employees from using Zoom on their corporate laptops due to security concerns.
The Zoom app is also facing issues of security, from a lack of end-to-end encryption of meeting sessions to “zoombombing,” where uninvited guests crash meetings. As a result, Zoom has announced that they are stopping all new developments to focus on solving current security and privacy issues. In the meantime, this might be the opportunity that BlueJeans was waiting for, as businesses cannot afford to have this kind of problem when hosting their virtual events.
It is likely that BlueJeans will be more in competition with big enterprise players such as Cisco WebEx, Google Hangouts or Microsoft Teams than it will be with Zoom. The corporate market will certainly take notice of Verizon’s acquisition, but the mark Zoom has made on the general public market will prove indelible, especially if they solve their current security issues.
As we see it, this acquisition will probably mean more clients for the BlueJeans platform as far as businesses are concerned. For the general public though, it’s likely that Zoom will remain their tool of choice, mainly because it’s free to use.