Take videoconferencing giant Zoom, which utilizes both on-premise infrastructure and public cloud in order to keep up with increased demand. At the end of its fiscal second quarter in August 2020, it reported a 355 percent increase in revenue compared to the same period in 2019. In just a few short months it has come to dominate both the work-from-home economy and remote education, achieving nearly 150 million monthly active users.
“I hope this crisis can be over very, very soon, but one thing I know for sure is that companies will learn this is the way to work,” Zoom CEO Eric Yuan told the Associated Press in March – months before most companies were willing to admit he was right. “I am pretty sure almost every company will be thinking about it and say, ‘Hey, maybe working from home makes sense.’”
A New Home School
Although Zoom is the enterprise that most exemplifies the work-from-home economy, it’s not alone in its need for rapid scalability. One industry, in particular, is teeming with companies that have a similar appetite for sudden growth: education.
As school districts and universities scrambled this summer to launch effective and safe back-to-school plans that included online and hybrid solutions, ed-tech companies like Kaltura, a video platform and solutions company, found itself in an extraordinary growth scenario.
“We have seen a tremendous uptake in usage both in new and existing clients,” said Jeff Rubenstein, vice president of product strategy for Kaltura’s education business. “We are also seeing new parts of the market emerge, like K-12, that had almost no tech capacity before the pandemic.”
During the first days of the U.S. response to COVID-19, Rubenstein received a nervous call from the chief information officer at an American university who asked: “If we increase our usage by tenfold, are we OK?”
Rubenstein didn’t hesitate; he knew Kaltura could handle that and more.
“We can run on-premise, but everyone wants cloud at this point. And with the cloud … our architecture is very scalable,” he said. “We basically have clusters that spit up new clusters when there is new demand … Video is very demanding on resources in terms of compute, storage and bandwidth, so from our early days we built a very flexible architecture that makes scalability easy.”
Kaltura supports three modes of video delivery: on-demand, real-time communications and live-broadcast. Its users need instant access without latency. Rubenstein credits the company’s cloud-powered content delivery network with making seamless delivery possible. It tracks usage geographically and caches regularly requested videos for fast access. This eases stress on the main servers and ensures quick delivery to the teacher or student.
Traditional brick-and-mortar companies are looking for digitally-based solutions to survive and grow during the pandemic. In ed-tech, companies like Kaltura are hoping to use the influx of new data and users to move beyond their pre-pandemic role as a supplemental piece to traditional delivery models of education.