Image: Aternity

Zoom may have the hype, the cool backgrounds, and the sexy name, but Microsoft Teams quietly surpassed Zoom users during the week of May 4. As of June 14, 2020, Microsoft Teams grew 894% and Zoom grew 677% from its base use during the week of Feb. 17, according to Aternity data.

Aternity has been taking a close look at the world of remote work, the new normal, and just released the fourth volume (The Emergence of Collaboration App Sprawl) of its Global Remote Work Productivity research series, which looked closely at how leading collaboration tools were used and shared, incentivized by the new normal of many switching from in-office to working from home (WFH). Initially assumed a short-term solution, in the weeks and months after COVID-19 sent staff to WFH, companies have made what the report refers to as the employee digital experience become a long-term technology investment.

SEE: Life after lockdown: Your office job will never be the same–here’s what to expect (cover story PDF) (TechRepublic)

And, yes, Skype makes an appearance and provides a comparative to Microsoft Teams, too. Between the survey period of Feb 17 to June 14, Skype for Business Usage declined from 76% to 45%. Meanwhile, Teams usage grew from 11% to 34%.

Image: Aternity

But don’t discount Skype, because collaboration tools are used predominantly for direct person-to-person interaction, and Skype’s audio and video calls accounted for 97% of all interaction for a single week mid-June.

Just last week, Teams and Skype were made interoperable. Teams or Skype users wanting to collaborate together directly–whether though, message, call or video chat–can now do so.

Highlights of the report

Nonwork-related web browsing by employees dropped sharply in late April as employees became less preoccupied about the COVID-19 outbreak: 38% of total application use time goes to Microsoft Office with 46% growth in Outlook usage, between Feb. 17 and June 14.

Image: Aternity

SEE: COVID-19: A guide and checklist for restarting your business (TechRepublic Premium)

Competition heats up

During the pandemic, Microsoft Teams continued to make strides, features that drew more users, such as hosting meetings, creating teams and channels. File sharing is a key part of remote collaboration, and Microsoft Teams refined and made the ability for colleagues to work together easier. The key has been to work effectively while telecommuting. Microsoft Teams added a two-click Snapchat filter and ease in adding third-party cloud services.

Cisco’s work-collaboration platform Webex tripled its volume in use in April and credited employees who were WFH, and was the highlight of last week’s Cisco Live 2020. The tripling in volume is represented by 500 million participants generating 25 billion meeting minutes.

In May, Microsoft Teams grew more versatility and TechRepublic cited some of the best Microsoft Teams apps geared to those working remotely:

  • GitHub

  • Adobe Creative Cloud

  • Polly for Microsoft Teams

  • Google Analytics

  • Salesforce

  • Power BI

  • MailClark

  • App Studio

  • Health Hero

  • Choose-your-own project management software

Zoom moved to be more appealing to users, and took one of its premium account services, E2EE, (end to end encryption) and offered it to all account users.

Earlier this month, Aruba unveiled multiple artificial intelligence (AI)-powered solutions designed to accommodate the return of telecommuters to the office. The solutions included contact and location tracing, contactless, visitor management, video and AI-based health monitoring. Tools for working at home (for telecommuters and those who may be hybrid employees) include remote access points, and virtual intranet access.