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Wither the Online Conference Services post-COVID?

Microsoft’s Team seems to be the favourite online conference carrier (author’s note, we tried it and found it a challenge for a micro body like ours with limited IT experience, but for more sophisticated users it’s probably great). On the other hand the original leader, Zoom’s looming challenges now appear worrying. Although it has overcome the hacking, the company simply may not be prepared for the pivot it needs to make to remain relevant in a post-pandemic environment. There’s no doubt that the “new normal” will outlive the pandemic, but already many are returning to their offices for at least part of the week. Large events will eventually return, even if more business interactions will remain virtual. Is Zoom ready for this? Many are arguing that the company may be forced to make a big move to position itself for its next phase – whenever that may be.

Meanwhile, AfricaWorks, the co-working office space company akin to the US-based ‘WeWork’, has announced it will open 30 new spaces across the continent in the next 3 years. The hot-desk startup will enter into a 2nd round of fundraising to finance its expansion following the successful raising of €3.5m in 2019. AfricaWorks already has spaces in Abidjan, Accra, Cape Town, Dakar, Lagos and Nairobi. It is looking to expand to France, the UK, Dubai, Morocco, Egypt, Senegal and Tanzania by the end of next year. It believes there will be a growing demand for flexible office solutions post-COVID.

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Alastair Tempest

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