The communication industry has witnessed a significant overhaul in recent times. An increase in internet coverage globally has led to the abandonment of old forms of communication, such as the use of Short Messaging Services (SMS) and the embracing of social media as a channel of communication between individuals. This trend has been made possible by the creative, ambitious, and innovative individuals who have taken the initiative to develop platforms that make it easier to communicate. These platforms are in the form of messaging apps that come with desirable attributes such as group chats, graphics exchange, video, and audio messages, as well as stickers or emoticons. These features have entirely revolutionized the industry to a more significant extent.
The inception of Facebook into the market back in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg formed the stepping stone to all the media platforms that we have today. Since then, platforms such as WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat, Google Hangouts, Zoom, Twitter, Viber, Skype, Telegram, LinkedIn and Tumblr have all surfaced each with its uniqueness that sets them apart from the rest. Approximately over five billion people own mobile phones with more than half being smartphones with those in significant economies leading. These statistics imply that more people engage in active communication on the internet through the various apps available. The companies owning the platforms continue to improve their platforms through regular updates to improve user experience.
Size and Potential of the Industry
The social networking sites in the US have an estimated market size of $46.0 billion in the year 2020. Its growth rate from the year 2015 to date stands at 23.3% and 14.4% in 2020(“Industry statistics,” n.d.). The spread of technology and the increase in the number of developers and creatives in the industry are the cause of this trend. Therefore, it is very right to conclude that this industry has a very high potential for growth. The growth will be fueled mainly by the expansive young population that tends to be socially active, increased 4g and 5g network coverage, and the fact that smartphones become more and more affordable.
Companies in the Industry
The companies in this industry are highly competitive. The unique features of each company are the ones that make them relevant and able to maintain competitiveness in the sector. Communication giants like Facebook enjoy market dominance based on their strength factors such as integration with websites and applications, excess of a billion active monthly users, excellent users experience, and their understanding of user’s needs and behavior. However, it has its weaknesses, which include weak CTR of advertisements, one source of revenues that is advertisements on Facebook, attitude towards users’ privacy, and inadequate protection of users’ information. LinkedIn, a product of Microsoft company is a stronghold in the professional networking sector where people have access to extensive information as regards to their professions or careers of choice. It also links employers with potential employees as the employers post vacant job posts while the employees upload the CVs. Its weakness inclines mainly on the lack of incorporation by the majority of the workers in the hiring of workers.
Zoom as a Leader in Video Conferencing
Video conferencing is another aspect of social media platforms that is in most of them, such as skype, zoom, WhatsApp, and Facebook. Zoom is a leader in this field. Founded in 2011, its main focus is in connecting businesses and organizations’ teams together in an easy to use the environment to achieve more. Its emphasis on video communications has made it an essential platform, especially in modern-day boardrooms, where meetings are held in a virtual manner at the same time, not compromising on achieving the set goals.
Zoom’s products include an easy to use and reliable cloud platform for video and audio conferencing, chat, and webinars. They can all be accessed across smartphones, desktops, laptops, tablets, and room systems. These make it a handy feature for use in classrooms, boardrooms, conference rooms, and executive offices.
Zoom faces stiff competition from companies such as skype, cisco Webex, google meet and hangout, and Microsoft teams. Despite this, Zoom boasts one million meeting participants every day. The following features make zoom stand out amongst competitors like skype: seamless video chat, access to meeting’s data and analytics, easy screen-share during a call, saving and documenting sessions using the recording feature, ability to hold brainstorming sessions with Zoom’s on-screen whiteboard feature, access to in-depth support such as live help, online chat, phone support, FAQs, help articles, and video tutorials and with Zoom’s free plan one can host up to 100 participants in a video call. The last feature is limited in other video conferencing platforms.
Law and the Industry
The main legal issue facing this industry is the lack of protection of consumer privacy data. Despite the efforts put in place to protect users’ data, cybersecurity remains a significant threat. Another issue is how vices such as humiliation and display of harmful content are enhanced through the platforms. An example is cyberbullying. Lack of proper regulation is also a vital issue.
In conclusion, despite the myriad of challenges affecting the industry, there is a vast potential for growth and development. It is exciting to think what the future holds as far as social media is concerned. It is expected that existing brands will continue to modify their products as per the market needs as well as the emergence of new trends that may take over the industry. With proper regulation from concerned government authorities, then the sector is destined to achieve much. Other factors that signifies hope for the industry include an increase in interest in coding by the young generation and widespread access to internet services across the globe. More privacy and security for data, more video features, reduced adds and an increase in premium services and platforms based on mobile phones are what to expect in the near future.
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