Videoconferencing in Latin America: Recording in Progress

Zoom is the most used platform in the world, followed by Microsoft Teams and Google Meet. On average, 10 million minutes are consumed every day in Latin America.

Videoconferencing in Latin America: Recording in Progress
Video Calling in Mexico during the Pandemic. Photo: UNAM

"Recording in progress" is the phrase that has become familiar to millions of users in the last four semesters, due to the unprecedented increase in the use of videoconferencing applications; "this paradigm is unlikely to change, so they are here to stay".

Luis Ángel Hurtado Razo, an academic at the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences (FCPyS) of the UNAM, stated the above and assured us that this application of the Chinese company Zoom is one of the most requested at a global level.

"The confinement allowed this company to be the one that grew the most in the offer of video calls that existed on the planet. So much was the requirement that others such as Facebook also offered this service, but they did not prosper, which generated that this platform was the number one worldwide, and to date, it continues", he pointed out.

The also head of the National Study "How do Mexicans use social networks?" recalled: that from February to March 2020 Zoom went from approximately 100 thousand users to one million. "By the end of that same year, there were already more than 100 million active accounts of said application."

"This revolutionized the communication industry. Zoom was not in the popular sector, it was very rare for this platform to be used, the boom will occur precisely when the World Health Organization made the pandemic official, then the different organizations and institutions sought ways to continue producing or generating knowledge remotely because the quarantine was inevitable," he added.

According to Zoom for Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean, by 2022, Mexicans will be consuming an average of three million minutes per day and, in general, Latin America will be consuming 10 million minutes per day.

In addition, the report Businesses at Work 2022 by the specialized U.S. company Okta, revealed that its increase proved to be constant. "Zoom recorded an impressive 42 percent year-over-year increase, even after its 195 percent growth in 2020."

He added: "The video conferencing company continues to reach new users around the world, is among the top five apps ranked by several customers, and is also the fastest growing in Asia-Pacific, ranked by unique users, at the start of 2022."

Characteristics of videoconferencing

For the FCPyS professor-researcher, it was the most viable option for many educational and business institutions, as well as the government sector, because it authorized the free use of its software with a demo version of 40 to 50 minutes.

"Unlike other video call applications that already existed as such for years, Zoom will be one of the first that will allow the connection of more than 50 people remotely. This changed teleworking because then only software was required, since before hardware was also needed, i.e. a device that allowed people to connect remotely, which made it costly," he explained.

Also, its interface is one of the most important elements because it is easy to access: by simply sending a link, the user can connect without the need to have the application. Another element, he said, is that this platform runs in at least 56 languages, a feature that others did not have at the beginning.

Videoconferencing in Mexico

Mexican families, said Luis Ángel Hurtado, could not afford to spend on a platform, nor could businesses or educational centers, so we resorted to the use of Zoom, which made it easier for many teachers and the educational community, in general, to continue working; let's remember the profile of several of our students, who experienced the economic devastation of losing a direct source of income.

We conducted three studies during the pandemic to find out how many people were using video calling platforms: in June 2020 Zoom was the leading group calling application, 89 percent of Mexicans were using it for work, education, and socializing; and 11 percent were split between Microsoft Teams and Google Meet, he reported.

"I don't think they have changed these statistics much, because Zoom has been adapting and perfecting its software, and has improved the combat against hacks and data theft that was so questioned in the beginning. COVID-19 and these applications are also here to stay, many people will continue to use them and they will continue to be the preference in Mexico and part of the world".