Getting the best out of this videoconferencing software for your team.
Ever since the outbreak of COVID-19, the demand for video conferencing has crossed limits and has become a necessity most people cannot do without. Initially, it was seen as a tool used in order to stay connected with colleagues and family settled overseas, or in another city at the very least. But today, every individual who can afford the Internet uses this technology to stay connected with contacts both personal and professional.
Gone are the days when only corporations used video conferencing regularly. In times of social-distancing and government imposed lockdowns, one of the most popular video conferencing solutions options is Zoom. It simplifies group conferences and lays out an easy way to engage people on any device.
Primarily employed for professional purposes before COVID-19, Zoom listed on the NASDAQ exchange in 2019 under the ticker ZM, and has seen its share price more than double since February as schools and offices turned to it for essential communication.
Zoom comes with a multiple range of features like one-touch start and join, group messaging, and even virtual background features. In light of the ongoing health crisis, video conferencing technology has emerged as a crucial component of running an efficient and connected business.
But even then, a majority of users are unaware of the large potential that Zoom Meetings has to offer. Not just a regular video conferencing platform, Zoom provides interactive features for its users to collaborate better. Through its various plans and schemes, users can make the most of its features.
Beyond the free ‘Basic’ plan, Zoom has three other tiers of premium plans, including Zoom Meetings Pro, Zoom Meetings Business, and Zoom Meetings Enterprise. Each of these plans come with extra benefits as compared to the Basic plan, primarily in terms of allowing a larger number of people dial into a call at the same time. Some of them also provide cloud storage, cloud recordings, cloud recording transcriptions, IP address moderations, and more.
The interactive features of the platform come in the form of unique add-ons such as meeting reactions, viewing another participant’s audio status, virtual background selection and preview, toll free-dialing, and more.
1. Through reactions, participants can engage more deeply in meetings and make use of icons like a thumbs up or a clapping icon. They can also express encouragement without really interrupting and breaking the flow of the meeting. If being used for entertainment purposes, a group of friends or family can use these icons to make the conversation more personal rather than keeping it formal. These reactions are overlaid right on top of the video feed, and disappear within five seconds of appearing.
2. Viewing another participant’s audio status makes it simpler to keep a track of who has connected their audio during the course of the meeting. This in turn clarifies to the person speaking whether the other person has heard them or not.
3. The video preview section has a newly added option where one can select or change their virtual background before joining the meeting. Virtual backgrounds with a green screen are ideal for creative enterprises, recording studios, broadcasts and presentations. Only admins have the option to upload backgrounds on the Zoom Rooms web portal. The other room participants can select their preferred background (or keep it blank, or select none at all) during a meeting.
4. Other than business and personal use, Zoom is also quite popular amongst educational institutions. The company offers an Education package, which includes video breakout rooms, accessibility features for users with disabilities, and support for conferences, mobile, and desktop rooms.
5. Zoom also has a feature called Zoom Rooms. This feature gives its users options including Internet-of-Things (IoT) room control, virtual background with green screen, waiting rooms, digital signage with split screen layout, and access to a ‘whiteboard.’
Zoom Rooms’ native room control enables users to control and moderate IoT devices, such as lighting, air conditioning, and others, directly from the Zoom Rooms Controller. Waiting Rooms have been designed as virtual areas where the users can wait before joining a meeting. They also prevent the person from joining a meeting until the host is ready. Through Digital Signage, admins can choose different content for the split-screens and vary the content shown in each screen as per their wishes.
6. One can use Transfer Zoom Phone Call to transfer active Zoom Phone calls from one Zoom Room to another user, and can have multiple active calls simultaneously. It is also possible to merge the calls if required.
Zoom phone calls can be switched to video meetings anytime. Admins can create numerous device profiles for different meetings and these can be linked to cameras, speakers, microphones, and several screen layouts.
In addition to the above, Zoom Rooms for Touch is a device that allows people working together in a room and remote participants to collaborate on a single whiteboard.
As events around the globe turn to digital solutions to keep the show going, Zoom’s Webinar functions have become a popular choice. It offers interactive features like Question & Answer, live chat, polling, raise hand, and an attention indicator which helps monitor how engaged an audience is with the content provided.
To aid telehealth groups and medical professionals, Zoom has designed “Zoom for Telehealth” as these professionals need video support to check on their patients at times. Zoom for Developers is also available for creative minds.
As COVID-19 intensifies, Zoom has rolled out features to suit almost every kind of user. Despite a spate of security incidents that left Zoom under fire from users and shareholders, the platform’s wide variety of features may still make Zoom the most competitive and flexible choice for users.
Header image by Gabriel Benois on Unsplash.