Telecom giant Verizon (NYSE:VZ) is capitalizing on an unexpected opportunity created by the coronavirus pandemic. On Thursday, the company announced it would begin the process of acquiring video conferencing platform BlueJeans. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The global COVID-19 outbreak has forced millions to work from home for far longer than they may have ever planned to. A recent survey from market research outfit Clutch indicated that 66% of employees in the United States were working from home at least part of their time spent doing their job, while 44% of the United States' workers were doing their jobs from home at least five days per week right now. These employees still need to communicate with one another, though -- sometimes in a live, real-time setting -- spurring an unexpected need for video conferencing solutions.
Several such platforms exist, including Zoom Video Communications (NASDAQ:ZM) and Slack Technologies (NYSE:WORK). Not all of these options have proven ideal for the role they've been asked to play, however. Shares of Zoom, for instance, were pummeled last month when security flaws in its software were exploited.
Larger technology names are also in the video conferencing space, and some are looking to improve their service. Alphabet's (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Google offers a video calling app called Meet, which on Thursday unveiled and integration with Gmail and an interface update that makes it appear more like Zoom's app. Like Verizon's decision to acquire BlueJeans, Meet's updates are aimed at a remote meeting market that's still a moving target.
Verizon also says BlueJeans is part of its 5G growth plans, which include business-minded offerings.