Cisco boasts ‘amazing takeup’ of WebEx as locked-down users flock to video conferencing


As people around the world continue to socially distance amid coronavirus-related lockdowns, video conferencing firms are seeing a massive uptick in users — and Cisco (CSCO) is the latest beneficiary. 

Companies like Zoom (ZOOM) and Microsoft (MSFT) have already reported dramatic increases in meetings and meetings minutes on their platforms. Not to be left out, Cisco, which reported its Q3 earnings on Wednesday, said that its popular WebEx video service has exploded since social distancing orders were put in place.

“Just in the month of April, we had…500 million meeting attendees, and that equated to 25 billion meeting minutes, which was three times what we saw just two months before, so amazing takeup in this environment,” Cisco CFO Kelly Kramer told Yahoo Finance’s The First Trade this week.

Many of those users are taking advantage of Cisco’s free WebEx trials. However, Kramer said the company expects to convert those same users to paying customers in the coming quarters.  

“For the free trials, which we had big pickup on, we definitely have an assumption on how that will be monetized,” she said.

“We expect that to be a tailwind for our WebEx portfolio as our free trials end this quarter in Q4 around July timeframe we’ll start converting them over and we’ll expect that to be over the next two quarters definitely to be a tailwind behind us,” Kramer added. 

Of course Cisco isn’t the only one seeing huge increases in demand for video and chat apps. Microsoft said during its Q3 earnings report that its Teams software saw a jump from 44 million daily active users in March to 75 million in April.

Separately, Javier Soltero, Google’s general manager and VP of G Suite, said in an April blog post that the tech giant’s Meet video platform was adding more than 2 million users every day.

And Zoom, which has ridden a wave of popularity since the lockdowns started,  has been growing at an impressive clip — though not quite as fast as it originally reported.

Zoom initially reported it had 300 million daily users in April, but walked that back some by clarifying it actually conflated users with meeting participants. The difference between the two is that a single person can join multiple meetings each day and be counted as a participant each time. Daily users would indicate individual users on the platform.

Video platforms are almost certain to see a drop in usage once people are able to leave their homes and meet up in person again, as lockdowns around the world begin to ease. 

Still, enterprise customers are likely to continue subscribing to these services. Doing so will prevent companies from being caught off guard if they are forced to make their employees work from home again, in the likelihood that  a second wave of the virus hits later this year.

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