Current situation forces us to switch from face-to-face meetings into on-line experience. I was forced to lead my courses this way. Today I had first attempt and wanted to share some info on how it went.
I decided to use Zoom.us, because I had some previous a bit less positive experience with Microsoft Teams and quite very bad experience with Cisco Webex. And thus I wanted to try something else or different. Zoom.us was first that came on my list after removing Teams and Webex from this list. It was also very important to me that free version offers quite a lot and paid version isn’t that expensive at all.
If you’re new to on-line meetings topic then this article might be useful to you. If you have been using this kind of services previously or have otherwise experience in this area then you may not find much value here.
You can attend to any Zoom.us meeting (just as in case of Cisco Webex and Microsoft Teams) via:
- computer — Zoom native application (automatic installation), full functionality,
- any modern mobile device — zoom.us website, a bit limited experience,
- any regular phone — audio only.
Zoom.us offers you:
- full, multi-side audio and video transmission,
- screen sharing, showing others your applications, presentations, video clips, websites etc.,
- chat between meeting participants,
- files sharing,
- virtual whiteboard.
All options are available for all participants, i.e. you can share your screen or see screens shared by others. For dial-in participants audio only is available, but that seems obvious. All options are easily configurable by you (meeting host), i.e. you can disable chat between meeting participants, if you wish.
Zoom is available as:
- free version — unlimited number of meetings with 1 to 100 participants, limited to 40 minutes per meeting,
- paid version (starting with 15 USD per month + taxes were applicable) — above limited to 24 hours per meeting.
You can save your meeting’s chat to .txt file and whiteboard to .jpg file. You can record your every meeting as both audio or audio and video. In free version this is limited to recording to local computer only. In paid version Zoom.us offers you your cloud services along with easily linking and video sharing.
Cheapest plan (15 USD per month) comes with 1 GB of cloud storage.
And this one of the biggest disadvantages of Zoom.us. This is quite very little in nowadays. And you have to upgrade your account to Enterprise (the most expensive one), where plans starts with 1000 USD per month, to get to unlimited cloud storage. Because even Business plan (plans starting with 200 USD per month) doesn’t include any more cloud storage.
In sharp words using Zoom.us is easy, if not to say — intuitive. After scheduling a particular meeting Zoom.us generates meeting’s unique URL. Attending a meeting narrows to clicking it and downloading and running dedicated Zoom application or joining via browser).
For regular phone-only participants you can join via landline phone. Dial-in numbers across entire world are available. Since this is a landline phone number, for most users joining meeting costs nothing.
If you’re using a computer, you don’t need to prepare or install anything in advance. Dedicated Zoom.us application in downloaded, installed and run automatically after you click meeting’s URL.
Zoom.us adapted itself to current demanding situation (quickly increasing number of on-line meetings due to coronavirus pandemia) quite quickly. Just two days ago it was informing its users that it has some issues with phone service (dialling into meeting via a regular phone) and today it turned out that dial-in services are also operational as all other does.
Increasing number of participants from 100 do 500 costs as little as 65 USD per month. This may stand as another argument that Zoom.us infrastructure is doing quite well, even in these harsh times, if they allow to schedule a really big meeting for relatively cheap price.