Cloud News

The 10 Biggest Cloud Computing News Stories Of 2020 (So Far)

Donna Goodison

CRN breaks down the top cloud news midway through the year—from coronavirus-fueled cloud spending to cloud leaders decrying racial injustice to the explosion of cloud-based videoconferencing.

4. Explosion Of Cloud-Based Videoconferencing

The use of cloud-based videoconferencing—think Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, Zoom, Amazon Chime, Slack and Cisco Webex—has exploded during the coronavirus pandemic due to stay-at-home advisories that mandate working and learning from home and the closures of nonessential businesses.

Microsoft Teams now has more than 75 million daily active users, the cloud provider reported during a third-quarter earnings call in April, up from 44 million reported on March 19. Microsoft this month expanded Teams to a 49-person gallery from the previous maximum of nine visible participants, bringing it in line with Zoom.

AWS CEO Andy Jassy said the use of videoconferencing by AWS employees during the pandemic has changed AWS’ thinking about its hiring and how meetings will evolve once more employees return to its offices.

“For a long time … we really wanted to ... hire people in locations where we had critical mass because it was easier for them to have the right career path and interact with their teammates more effectively and to have job mobility in a different way,” Jassy said this month. “How effectively we've all worked in a videoconferencing environment has changed our view on where we hire people and whether it's OK to have smaller numbers of people in more locations.”

Videoconferencing also has proved to be more inclusive for meetings, leveling the playing field because “everybody just gets a square,” Jassy said.

“A lot of people who normally don't get to participate as visibly are able to do so,” he said.

AWS and parent company use Amazon Chime for videcoonferencing and online meetings. As part of a new multiyear deal unveiled this month, Slack will integrate Amazon Chime SDK (software development kit) to power video, audio and screen-sharing capabilities for its workplace messaging and collaboration platform. And AWS will extend the use of Slack to its own employees.

Slack added a record 90,000 new free and paid customers in the first quarter for a total of 750,000, it said this month.

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