This is the third installment in our blog series about video conferencing/collaboration software packages. Last time, we took a deeper dive into Microsoft Teams, and in this installment, we review Zoom.
Last October, Zoom counted over 10 million registered users. As COVID-19 chased many business professionals into their home offices, the subscription rate ballooned to over 200 million users by March. Let’s take a closer look at this incredibly popular videoconferencing platform.
Zoom offers both a free and paid version. The free version will handle calls with up to 100 participants for 40 minutes. When the time limit approaches, a warning appears on the hosts system giving him or her the ability to gracefully end the call. If you continue past the 40 minutes, the call abruptly ends, though the host and the users can simply log back into the same meeting ID and continue for another 40 minutes. The free version allows unlimited 1:1 meetings.
Pro Version Features
A major advantage of Zoom that contributed to its incredibly high adoption rate is its ease of use. Zoom offers a frictionless experience for all users: users can join a conference without the need to download an application to their device. This is a major benefit and is a common feature with today’s top video conference programs.
The Pro version starts at $14.99 per month per host and provides many cool features including:
- Unlimited number of meetings
- Custom personal meeting ID
- An easy-to-use scheduler
- 1 GB of MP4 recordings of your meetings
- Meeting duration of up to 24 hours
Challenges: Security & Call-in Availability
After their meteoric rise, Zoom hit a rough patch addressing some security issues when it was revealed that they maintain recordings of calls (when the users select that option) on servers in China and don’t use best practices to encrypt those files at rest. They have since changed some procedures, but the China connection has left many users a bit uneasy. With over 700 employees based in China, there has been some movement away from Zoom. In fact, Zoom is banned for use by all New York Public Schools.
Another downside of Zoom is the lack of guaranteed call-in numbers for those who need to join your conference via a regular phone system. Additional charges are required to ensure an available call-in phone number for participants in your conferences.
In summary, Zoom is a ubiquitous, easy to use, value-priced option, but in today’s climate where technology products with a Chinese connection are suspect, you may want to look at some of the other more secure products available.
Check in next time where we’ll evaluate a lesser known player in the space: Blue Jeans
Authored by Donald Nokes