Zoom — what is it, features and what are its advantages and disadvantages

Zoom — what is it, features and what are its advantages and disadvantages

Zoom Cloud Meeting or simply Zoom is a platform that offers video calling services over the internet through mobile devices or computers. Its system works through the cloud and allows video conferencing, chat rooms, audio calls, and recording these sessions while they are taking place. Additionally, Zoom is available for different PC and smartphone operating systems.

This application has been specially designed for business use since its rooms can host a large number of users simultaneously and offers different tools that facilitate the control of meetings. In this way, it is possible to share digital files of any type in real-time with the rest of the users, something that allows meetings to be held virtually.

Zoom has a free version that can be used by anyone, however, it also offers a series of additional services as a subscription that a company or group of users can pay for.

What is it for?

The main use of Zoom is given by companies or groups of people that need to carry out video conferences where the participation of a large number of users at the same time is necessary (we speak of up to 1000 viewers at the same time), something that is not possible on similar platforms like Skype. Furthermore, given the different plans that Zoom Video Communications offers, this application is ideal for holding meetings in which it is necessary to share digital material with the rest of the users.

Beyond business use, Zoom works as an attractive alternative to make video calls, calls, or communicate via chat with other people effectively and in real-time. This is because it offers the possibility to chat personally with any user and, if necessary, add new participants to the conversation.

Zoom features:

The main features of Zoom Video Communications are outlined below :

  • It is a free application that has a series of payment plans that extend its functionalities.
  • It works as a means of communication through the internet.
  • It allows us to carry out chat sessions, calls, and video calls.
  • As for videoconferences, it allows the participation of up to 500 people and up to 1000 viewers.
  • Provides tools such as screen sharing, a useful resource for exhibitions, seminars, and conferences.
How does Zoom work?

How does Zoom work?

Zoom has different functionalities according to the plan chosen by the users. In general terms, it works as a streaming platform supported by the cloud that allows real-time video calls, where the main difference lies in the fact that Zoom allows you to save the conferences or conversations that are carried out in it. The following lines highlight the main Zoom features in detail :

Record meeting

One of the main differences and advantages that Zoom offers compared to other similar platforms is the possibility of recording the conferences held. This allows them to be played the number of times a user wants, which is useful greatly for taking notes, remembering details, and other purposes.

Conference scheduling

Allows future meetings to be scheduled. To do this, through the platform it is possible to choose a time and date, select a title, and generate a link that can be shared with the participants who will be invited. Once the time comes, participants will receive a notification as a reminder.

Virtual blackboard

An extremely useful function of Zoom is the option of creating a virtual whiteboard that can be shared on-screen with the rest of the participating users. This makes writing, drawing, or explaining easier and more comfortable.

Simultaneous screen and webcam

It is possible to transmit the screen while at the same time, the video captured by the webcam is transmitted. Thus, explanations can be given or doubts cleared up while the rest of the participants can see the issuer.

Chat tab

In addition to video conferencing, it is possible to have a chat session in parallel to the video foray. This allows you to answer questions or speak privately with one of the participating users.

Using the calendar

Zoom integrates the use of platforms such as Outlook or the Google calendar, which allows you to receive notifications related to meetings or videoconferences through these accounts.

Virtual background

This is a very useful feature that allows you to create a digital background behind the user recorded by the webcam. This helps give a better presentation to the rest of the participants, which is ideal for interviews or professional videoconferences.

Live broadcasts

Zoom Premium plans allow you to broadcast live through platforms such as YouTube or Facebook Live.

Users Management

Both hosts and participants in a video conference have the ability to manage the users participating in a conference. In the case of the host, it may be able to designate other users as hosts, who can kick, chat, or intervene directly with the rest of the participants. Likewise, anyone who is in a conference can activate or deactivate the video or audio of their webcam at any time they want.

Zoom Plans

Zoom Plans

Below are the different plans that Zoom offers according to the plan chosen by the user:

Free zoom

It is the free version of Zoom Video Communications, which allows unlimited conversations via chat. However, group conferences are limited to 40 minutes and allow a maximum number of 100 participants. In addition to this, such lectures cannot be recorded.

Professional Zoom

This plan is available for a monthly fee of $ 14.99 and extends the time limit for group meetings to 24 hours. In addition, it offers tools for business use that allow you to create identifiers for each of the participants in a conference. Likewise, it offers the possibility of recording videoconference sessions on a device or in the cloud.

Zoom Business

It is a plan that has the same benefits as Zoom Professional, however, in this case, the time limit is eliminated. It costs $ 19.99 per user per month and allows you to create a URL dedicated to company conferences. It also offers meeting transcripts that are stored in the cloud and has customer service.

Zoom Enterprise

It is a plan for companies with a large number of employees, its monthly price is $ 19.99 per user and allows unlimited storage of video conference recordings in the cloud.

Accessories

Zoom has different add-ons that allow its use to be extended to Outlook, Gmail, and even browsers. What they are is described below:

Add-in for Outlook

Zoom has an add-in for Outlook, Microsoft’s email platform. Thus, it is possible to download said add-in for free, which allows adding a Zoom button within the Outlook interface. This button allows direct access to the application or simply schedule a meeting and notify other users by email.

Browser extension

Zoom has extensions for the Google Chrome and Firefox browsers, which allows you to schedule conferences, access video conferences, or start the application directly. In addition, it allows integrating Zoom to Google Calendar, which makes it possible to set notifications for future meetings.

Supported Platforms

Zoom has versions for desktop computers and mobile devices.

Mobile devices

The Zoom application is available for iOS and Android, which allows you to install your app on smartphones that have either of these two operating systems. Through this version, it is possible to log in or create an account using Facebook, Google or SSO accounts.

Zoom mobile applications for iOS and Android

In addition, it provides all the basic functionalities of Zoom, also considering the possibility of videoconferencing through the use of the front camera. Likewise, the Zoom version for mobile phones allows you to record sessions in the cloud.

PC/Desktop

The desktop version of Zoom is available to macOS and Windows users, through this version you can access all the usual and Premium functionalities of the platform, in addition to allowing the creation of surveys, recording conferences on disk hard and broadcast live via YouTube or Facebook.

History

Zoom was created by engineer Eric Yuan in 2011 in collaboration with WebEx. Two years later, at the beginning of 2013, the platform began offering its service over the internet and five months later it had more than one million active users.

During those years, different associations were made and new technologies were integrated into the platform, which allowed the development of software that could be launched for different PC operating systems and have more complete functionalities that were oriented to business use.

For the first quarter of 2014, versions compatible with mobile phones with the iOS operating system were launched and by mid-year, Zoom had 10 million users. In this way, little by little the new platform began to become an attractive alternative to other media such as Skype or Google Hangouts.

Since then, Zoom has not stopped growing and expanding its functionalities. In this way, it has gone from allowing videoconferences in groups of a maximum of 10 people, to allow the assistance of up to 1000 users simultaneously for a single session.

Despite this, the history of Zoom has been full of controversy and controversy, since the security policies not implemented from its development to the present are not entirely reliable. This has caused a ban on its use in defense organizations and private companies in nations such as China, the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, and the United States.

Advantages and disadvantages

Thanks to its many advantages, Zoom has become one of the most popular videos conferencing platforms today. However, it also suffers from significant disadvantages that any user should evaluate before opting for this application. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of Zoom:

Advantage

  • As a videoconferencing tool, it has extremely stable connection support, which offers the possibility of videoconferencing with a large number of people with high definition video quality and without cuts.
  • The desktop and mobile versions have an extremely comfortable and intuitive interface to use.
  • It makes it easy to share files with users in a conference.
  • It offers the possibility of adding up to 1000 users to a single session, something that very few platforms are capable of allowing.
  • It has a free version that is not as restrictive as you might think.
  • It allows screen sharing, something extremely useful for real-time explanations.
  • Being an application with payment plans, it has specialized technical support.
  • Premium functionalities are focused on business support, so it can be of great help for the business plans of companies of any size.

Disadvantages

  • Despite having a free version, the true functions of the application are reserved for the paid versions, which can be quite expensive.
  • Despite its success today, it is not as well known as a platform like other media such as Skype or Google Hangouts.
  • It is an application that works over the internet, so it is necessary to have a stable connection to have a video conference.
  • Despite having a fairly intuitive mode of use, it can be confusing for people who are not fully adapted to the use of computers or this type of technology.
  • The controversies it has caused in recent years, as well as the ban on its use in many countries, give important indications of the security risks involved in using Zoom.

That everything you need to know about the Zoom application. If you have any doubt or something better to share with us,, drop your comments below.