Demand for the Zoom video app has soared since the global COVID-19 outbreak with everyone from private tutors to yoga instructors taking advantage of the free video app as they find new ways to reach customers. There’s also been a massive increase in remote working as world leaders tell everyone to work from home where possible, so Google searches for online collaboration tools has also increased, with Zoom making the most impact.
A relative newcomer to the video communication app scene, Zoom is at the top of the global app charts for both iPhone and Android and its sharp rise in popularity over February and March 2020 correlates perfectly with the Coronavirus outbreak.
Zoom describes itself as an “easy, reliable cloud platform for video and audio conferencing, collaboration, chat, and webinars across mobile devices, desktops, telephones, and room systems”. In layman’s terms, it’s a way to broadcast video or audio with people you specify.
What can the Zoom video app be used for?
- Teaching something to others (school classes, keep-fit sessions, voice coaching, painting, etc)
- Holding online meetings, either one-to-one or as a group
- Staying in touch with family, friends, classmates, or club members
- Holding an online event or conference such as a social media marketing summit
True to its name, Zoom has seen extremely fast uptake all over the world. A quick browse of Facebook in the last few weeks has shown friends of mine using it to continue giving classes to their theatre school students during the UK lockdown, to freelance colleagues using it to hold meetings with prospective clients.
The app is also great for personal use, keeping in contact with friends and family during this uncertain time is a welcome relief for those who have relatives in different towns and countries.
Pros of Zoom
- Viewers don’t need to have a Zoom account to join in your session
- Integrates with lots of other software (such as your calendar and email)
- Free account allows you to add up to 100 participants
- Lots of people using the app so you’re less likely to have to teach your audience how to navigate it
- You can share slides and other content via the screen sharing feature
- Users report Zoom as having very stable video quality
- Lots of useful features such as chat, screen annotations, and conference recording
Cons of Zoom
- Free version only allows meetings of up to 40 minutes at a time if there are 3 or more participants (although this limit has been lifted for schools during the Coronavirus pandemic)
- Zoom collects large amounts of user data so it’s wise to do a privacy check-up before using it
- Public meetings, which some users may choose to hold to reach their audience, can suffer from trolling and unwanted participants
Most will be able to utilise the free version, although if you want to upgrade, pricing starts at £11.99 per month. For those who see real value in replacing their business income during the pandemic, it’s not too expensive.
Want to learn the Zoom basics?
Due to its surge in popularity during the COVID-19 social distancing, Zoom has released a YouTube video playlist showing new users how to sign up and use the app. You can also visit the Zoom online resources centre, which has the most up-to-date information on how to get started. The resource centre also allows you to watch live daily demos and attend webinars produced by others that may interest you.
Let me know how you got on in the comments section, below!