Asia’s “Zoom Boom” Aligns With New Remote Worker Needs

Keypoint Intelligence’s research shows challenges around collaboration and file access



Christine Dunne


The economy is not all doom and gloom. In fact, some Asian economies are seeing a “Zoom boom” in which the demand for communication technologies like screens and laptops are driving economic growth—fueled by new at-home worker requirements and use of online meeting platforms like Zoom.


Asian countries are among the largest manufacturers of laptops, communication equipment, and other electronics. In Q3 2020, China (2.7%), Japan (9.0%), South Korea (1.9%), and Vietnam (2.6%) all saw GDP growth year-over-year in contrast with recessions earlier this year related to the coronavirus.


Fresh Keypoint Intelligence data supports the notion of a “Zoom boom”, with many IT decision makers reporting new work-from-home challenges around communication and teamwork. For instance, at-home workers are requiring ways to access work materials, collaborate with colleagues, as well as support customers and colleagues.


As a result of more employees working from home, which would you describe as your most difficult challenges
supporting your new working from home employees?
Source: IT Decision Maker Office Survey – US (Keypoint Intelligence, November 2020)


In the United States, these kinds of concerns are especially prevalent among large businesses (those with 250 or more employees), potentially reflecting the greater complexity of business processes, colleague networks, and customer bases. In the Western European version of the study, however, employee collaboration was by far the biggest challenge among the smallest of organizations (51%) (those with 1 to 49 employees).


We are starting to see evidence of the Zoom boom and demand stemming from remote work in the financial results of some of the Japanese manufacturers we track. For example, from April 1 through September 30, Ricoh saw strong demand for its Work Together, Anywhere solution package in Europe—with 1,400 units ordered valued at ¥2.4 billion (about €19.5 million) and 5,300 units in the sales pipeline worth ¥16 billion (about €130 million).


Ricoh also reported “solid” DocuWare demand in Europe during this period, thanks to expanded teleworking—with cloud contracts surging 40% year-over-year. Sharp, meanwhile, publicized higher year-over-year sales of panels for PCs, tablets, and smartphones from July 1 to September 30—a mix of equipment needed by today’s remote workers.


While the print technology businesses haven’t necessarily fared as well, they are recovering to a large extent—especially when it comes to products for home environments, including A4 and inkjet devices. As vendors improve their print offerings for home workers; expand further into new areas of remote work technology for improved collaboration, cloud connectivity, and security; and reimagine and reinvent office solutions, the opportunity for success becomes even greater.


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