The digital awakening: from the year of crises to the year of opportunities

The digital awakening: from the year of crises to the year of opportunities

El Mercurio | The story of Eric Yuan and the success of Zoom during the pandemic underscore the impact of the global digital awakening. The surge in video conferencing not only propelled Zoom’s valuation to staggering figures but also opened up opportunities for the globalization of services, innovative telecommuting, and digital platforms that will transform the way we live and work.

By Iván Vera, founder of INNSPIRAL

In 2011, Eric Yuan left his vice presidency at Cisco Webex and founded Zoom Video, a startup aimed at popularizing the use of underutilized online video conferencing. Zoom was launched to the market in September 2012. Yuan’s vision for telecommuting began to yield results quickly. He reached 1 million users in May 2013, 10 million in June 2014, and 40 million in February 2015. In January 2017, it became a unicorn, valued at over a billion dollars. Its market valuation scaled to $16 billion when it went public in April 2019. By the end of that year, Zoom had 10 million daily users, and its market valuation had reached $19 billion. 

When the pandemic hit, humanity experienced a digital awakening. We all turned to find the best solutions for our telecommuting, telemedicine, e-commerce, and other needs. By March, Zoom already had 200 million users, and by April, it was 300 million. On October 14, Zoom’s valuation reached its peak: $144 billion. 

Was Yuan lucky? I don’t think it was luck. Yuan was prepared when the opportunity emerged. This story is exceptionally impactful. But the opportunities presenting themselves today are likely to be even more so. 

What’s truly interesting about this story is its vivid representation of humanity’s digital awakening. Billions of us realized that we can hold work meetings simultaneously with people living in various countries on different continents. Until December 2019, many of these meetings would have required participants to take international flights to be present, or they simply would not have been held due to being unfeasible. 

With telecommuting, opportunities for globalization of services that were previously conducted in person at very high costs have been made viable. Global education services are emerging on online platforms that will compete with traditional in-person formats of universities. Specialized doctors will be able to treat patients from other countries. Platforms and global communities of specialized professional services such as Data Scientists are being configured. The innovations we will see are unimaginable for most. 

Several companies like Zoom are innovating in telecommuting. These digital platforms are enabling countless global innovations in professional services. 2020 was a horrible year of health, economic, and social crises. But it was also the year that woke us up to digital life. We can make 2021 the year of transformation to digital life and innovation.

  • The digital awakening: from the year of crises to the year of opportunities

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