In a short span of time since it inundated the world, COVID-19 has changed the way we live, think and work as well as socialise. Overnight offices became deserted workplaces. The home became the new workplace and remote working the new norm. Conferencing solutions, once restricted to specific business and call center use now occupy center stage. Hodusoft’s audio conferencing software saw a quantum leap in demand during the quarantine period. The software industry, as a whole, experienced a boom time. Live chat saw an uptick of 194%, webinars gained 226%, antivirus leap to 357% in demand, mobile app development saw an increase by 366% and web conferencing rose by 500%. Demand has levelled off but it has not reached saturation point for conferencing. If anything, apprehensions in several areas such as education could see a fresh spurt.
Video conferencing apps lead the app pack with downloads touching 26 million, a 90% increase from the pre-COVID-19 times. Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams and Zoom Cloud Meetings led the charge with Zoom at the top. In this scenario Hodusoft, a less known player, saw an increase in demand thanks to some aggressive marketing and awareness campaigns. Audio conferencing, they claim, is far better, though slightly limited, when compared to video conferencing, especially in third world countries where limited internet bandwidth creates bottlenecks for video in business applications. Some users were pleasantly surprised at the functionality, ease of use and audio quality of Hodusoft’s audio conferencing solution. They had tried out video conferencing beforehand, claimed the company’s representative Mr Kartik Khambati and then decided to go with Hodusoft.
WFH a new abbreviation
WFH or work from home is the new abbreviation and this situation is going to endure even after COVID 19 peters out. WFH gives rise to other similar situations such as teach from home, learn from home, deliver telemedicine services from home and even catering from home, all of which are likely to fuel the use of audio conferencing software. Notable users will be business, governance and education, key areas in which Hodusoft is concentrating in order to help specific segments continue operations or even enhance services. Cisco Webex, for example now hosts more than 4 million meetings each day across the world. Hodusoft plays on a smaller scale but its conferencing solutions have seen a quantum jump in usage. This is mainly due to the fact that they offer hosted solutions that can be up and running in less than an hour and the extreme ease of use besides rich functionality. It becomes work as usual for home based employees who do not miss the office work method all that much according to a brief phone survey by Hodusoft.
Audio conferencing has its advantages
One new customer of Hodusoft reportedly chose audio conferencing after experiencing issues with free video conferencing solutions. The audio quality, claimed the owner of the medium scale enterprise with a presence in several countries, is less than acceptable whereas pure audio conferencing software delivers crystal clear audio. “We have employees in remote areas where internet speed and bandwidth are low and this proved no hindrance to seamless communications,” said Hodusoft’s client. This is understandable since poor audio means a speaker has to repeat himself several times and that is decidedly frustrating.
- Unlike free offerings or video conferencing solutions, audio conferencing can handle hundreds of concurrent users without drop in call quality.
- Calls are recorded for future reference and as proof if and when required.
- Customer service and customer experience improves as a direct outcome of improved audio clarity during calls and conferences.
Ease of use is important
Hodusoft’s user interface is intuitive. Even someone who has never used conferencing before can become familiar and operate it routinely in just one hour. Smita, a middle level executive in a company must handle conversations with juniors and also coordinate with her bosses. A telephone would be frustrating but conferencing means many issues are resolved at one go, according to her, instead of numerous phone calls it would take. COVID-19 changed the work situation and way of working. She and others along with her had no chance to learn the software and be trained. It was chosen by the company and they had access to Hodusoft’s helpline. “Fortunately, it was so easy to use I did not have to call for help,” said Smita. Despite all employees working from home quality of work has not suffered, collaboration continues and customer services continue without interruption.
A spike in demand ahead
For now there is a lull said Hodusoft’s executive. This is because most businesses have already transitioned to conferencing as a way of working. One promising sector is education. For now everything is suspended but education will need to resume. COVID-19 will always lurk and it is likely that many schools and colleges will not run regular classrooms. There simply is not sufficient space for distancing and to accommodate all students in a class. Typically, there are 50 students in one class. These institutions will have no recourse but to shift to remote education. June is expected to bring a spike in new customers when educational institutions commence a fresh term.
Hodusoft has seen a sharp uptick in new customers and its development team is working at a feverish space to make improvements to meet emerging demand. It is considering offering WebRTC conferencing that will allow audio-video chat and conferencing.
While COVID-19 has laid waste the economic landscape, everything is not quite as grim. Conferencing thrives and Hodusoft has found new energy to forge ahead and join the big boys.
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