Zoom explained: Understanding (and using) the popular video chat app

In some ways, the Zoom videoconferencing app seemed to come from nowhere this year — even though it ’ mho been around since 2013 and has long been highly regarded for its ease of use. then the COVID-19 pandemic erupted, first in China, then around the universe. On Feb. 26, Zoom announced it had already added more raw users in the first two months of 2020 than it had in all of 2019. Within a month, as the pandemic scatter, office workers suddenly found themselves jumping on daily Zoom calls from the comfort of family in a desperate attempt to keep in touch with colleagues. Fast forward another few months, and many of those same workers are officially suffering from Zoom fatigue duty. few companies have seen the kind of growth — and boosted name recognition — ampere cursorily as the San Jose, Calif.-based videoconferencing platform. That growth besides led to growing pains. In April — after a murder of security and privacy issues arose — Zoom CEO Eric Yuan announced that the company would stop developing new features for 90 days to address the problems. ( This is when “ Zoom-bombing ” became a common phrase. )

Despite the fad, the party that same calendar month announced it had 300 million daily meet participants. With most countries silent in at least a fond lockdown and coronavirus spikes continuing, videoconferencing is here to stay. ( Zoom is apparently so sure that ’ s the case that in July it launched Zoom for Home, an ill-conceived piece of hardware that assumed everyone participating on a television call wants as much of their home in view as possible. ) Zoom for Home Zoom for Home
rapid climb for Home marked a acuate pivot by the company into hardware .
Despite some missteps, the ship’s company appears poised to continue to grow and evolve, making it an important joyride for companies looking to ride out the pandemic with workers distributed far and wide. here ’ s a look at what Zoom is, does and how it works.

What is Zoom? The basics

Founded by erstwhile Webex executive Eric Yuan in 2011 and officially launched in 2013, Zoom ’ sulfur purpose is to make videoconferencing easy and accessible. The platform provides video recording services for enterprise, consumer and educational customers, and its relatively elementary apparatus ( compared to competitors ) took it to Unicorn condition in 2017 and an IPO in 2019. When work-from-home orders swept the earth in March, Yuan said his company would work to support those affected by the outbreak. As the app ’ second popularity grew, Zoom showed up in surprise places : it became, for example, the chopine of choice for the united kingdom government. ( british Prime Minister Boris Johnson made history by holding the first ever cabinet meeting via Zoom, though he was promptly chastized for posting a screenshot of the meeting on chitter with the meet ID clearly displayed. )boris johnson zoom personal meeting ID Boris Johnson / Twitter
british Prime Minister Boris Johnson held the first-ever cabinet meet using Zoom ; he wound up in trouble oneself for unwittingly posting the merging ID .
The secret to Zoom ’ sulfur popularity lies in the platform ’ s ease of function. Setting up a Zoom call requires three things : a Zoom account, a webcam and access to the internet. Zoom encourages users to download the background app, although calls can be accessed via a browser with limit in-call features. Mobile users need to download the mobile interpretation on their phone to participate in a call. The platform is compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux, io, and Android .

How to use Zoom

To initiate a converge proper away, you log on to the Zoom.com web site, blue-ribbon “ Host a meeting ” — you ’ re given the choice to start with video recording on or off — and away you go. You can besides schedule a future meet using a phase where you fill in basic details — enable cameras to be on or off, enable the meet to be recorded, or set up a wait room, among other options. once you ’ ve scheduled the meet, you can then share it via your Google, Outlook or Yahoo calendar, input the participants ’ electronic mail addresses and send an electronic mail invite to them. screen shot 2020 08 11 at 11.28.25 am Zoom

zoom has taken steps to make meet scheduling easier .
The maximal number of participants on a call ranges from 100 to 1,000, depending on whether you ’ re using the release or paid adaptation of Zoom. ( The free version besides limits meetings to 40 minutes. )

What in-meeting features does Zoom offer?

Although Zoom prides itself on offering a high-quality meeting platform, the company treads a fine line between adding new features and not overwhelming it with the whims of every end user. “ Usability trump features, ” Zoom Chief Product Officer Nitasha Walia said at a 2019 PagerDuty event. “ If users can ’ metric ton use it how it ’ randomness intended, it doesn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate matter what features you have — people won ’ triiodothyronine be there to try them. ” The in-meeting features offered by Zoom are designed to be easy to find, slowly to use and work a expected. Hosts are given the ability to mute and unmute participants, turn off filmdom sharing for attendees, make other people joint hosts and rename people once they have dialed in. Zoom besides gives users the choice to contribution individual background windows preferably than an across-the-board screen share, which is preferable for privacy. For non-hosts, Zoom offers a overplus of in-meeting engagement tools, including a whiteboard ; a chat window where you can send messages to the group or person attendees ; a “ raise pass ” choice that lets the horde know if one of the hushed participants has a question or a gloss ; and reactions thus meeting attendees can mutely comment via one of two basic emojis .Zoom closed captioning Zoom

Zoom allows closed caption .
For self-conscious users, there ’ s a “ Touch Up My Appearance ” option, which promises to “ smooth out the clamber tonicity on your face, to present a more polished looking appearance. ” And if your device has the justly graphics hardware, you can set up a custom background prototype. soar has been working in holocene months to bolster third-party integrations. Users of Otter.ai for Teams and Zoom Pro, for example, have access to Live Video Meeting Notes, which provides meeting participants with live and post-meeting transcripts ; users can highlight, remark on and add pictures to the notes via the Otter.ai web or mobile app .

How has Zoom addressed security concerns?

Zoom ’ s popularity plosion in early 2020 exposed a act of security and privacy issues that the company had not addressed as it grew. As the numeral of Zoom meetings skyrocketed worldwide, security and privacy experts took a close search at the platform. One of the first issues raised involved Zoom ’ s promise to offer “ end-to-end encoding ” of television chats. When that feature was called into wonder, the company had to clarify that Zoom had a different definition of “ throughout ” and “ end point ” encoding that fell short of park expectations. security gaps besides led to “ Zoom-bombing, “ where uninvited participants could gain access to a meet if they knew the suffer number. early problems included the accidental leak of e-mail addresses and profile pictures ; sharing of personal information with advertisers ; a 2019 microbe in the Zoom Mac app that allowed malicious websites to mutely activate users ’ webcams and left a localhost web server behind — even after the app had been uninstalled ; and a recently discovered microbe that let hackers steal Windows passwords.

notably, some of those security issues arose because new users did not understand how to configure the Zoom app to protect meetings. Analysts and security experts argued that security settings should have been enabled by default option, specially for a chopine that made its name on ease of use. Because of the early on batch of problems, a numeral of high-profile companies including SpaceX, Standard Chartered and the governments of Germany, Taiwan and Singapore banned employees from using Zoom. In response, Yuan on April 1 announced the company would cease study on all new features for 90 days to address the burgeoning privacy and security issues. He acknowledged the company had fallen unretentive of customer expectations, but argued the pandemic had brought in a crush of users “ utilizing our product in a ten thousand of unexpected ways, presenting us with challenges we did not anticipate when the platform was conceived. ” besides in response, Zoom released Zoom 5.0 late the lapp month, adding documentation for AES 256-bit GCM encoding and dialing up auspices for meeting data and underground to tampering. The new level of encoding is available across Zoom Meeting, Zoom Video Webinar, and Zoom Phone. In May, the company said it had acquired Keybase, a fasten message and file-sharing chopine. Yuan called the purchase a key step toward building a “ sincerely individual television communications platform that can scale to hundreds of millions of participants, while besides having the tractability to support Zoom ’ s wide assortment of uses. ” Despite the growing pains, Zoom ’ s efforts to make changes appeared to mollify critics. “ When faced with questions over security and privacy, Zoom reacted cursorily and very publicly to the challenges, including their chief executive officer holding weekly public security briefings, ” said Wayne Kurtzman, IDC Research Director for Social, Communities and Collaboration. “ Zoom was besides agile to take actions on changing the defaults that helped address meeting privacy concerns, vitamin a well as setting a 90-day plan for deeper actions, and communicating it publicly. ”

How is Zoom priced?

soar offers a range of different plans, which vary in terms of costs and the number of participants who can take part on a video recording call option. The platform ’ sulfur basic plan is free and allows up to 100 users per name. ( At the start of the pandemic, Zoom waived the 40-minute call limit for users of its free plan. That clock limit is now back in place. ) Although there are workarounds, there is besides nothing to stop meet participants from ending one video call and startle straight onto another 40-minute one. Zoom ’ s Pro plan costs $ 15/host/month and allows up to 100 users per call. however, unlike the free plan, once you start hosting your video calls via a give plan, there is no time terminus ad quem. The Business plan costs $ 20/host/month, requires a minimum of 10 hosts and allows up to 300 users per margin call. The enterprise plan besides costs $ 20/host/month, but requires a minimum of 100 hosts. The Enterprise plan allows for up to 500 users per visit, or 1,000 with an upgrade to Enterprise Plus .Zoom pricing Zoom

Zoom pricing varies by total of participants .

How does Zoom compare to its rivals?

The videoconferencing landscape is not short of vendors, with companies such as Cisco, Google, Microsoft and Facebook all offer enterprise users a television platform. As a video-only platform, Zoom ’ s biggest competitors are LogMeIn ’ s GoToMeeting and Cisco Webex, both long-standing staples of the videoconferencing market. ( In a comparative review earlier this year, Computerworld found Zoom ‘s video and audio quality, ease of consumption and overall user experience were better than the other two offerings. ) For enterprise use, the introduction of throughout encoding in Zoom 5.0 positioned it ahead of some rivals, although Webex offered throughout encoding long ahead Zoom announced its rollout .

Throughout the pandemic, Zoom ’ s biggest rival has been Microsoft Teams — Microsoft ’ s across-the-board collaboration platform that centers around group message and shared workspaces while providing users the option to video new world chat. Launched in 2017, Teams has nowadays largely replaced Skype for Business as the communications hub for the Office 365 and Microsoft 365 suites. Like Zoom, its popularity has grown importantly in late months ; the company in April said the platform has more than 75 million daily active users. And Microsoft has worked to improve its platform and address issues users flagged at the start of the pandemic. One change now allows users to see up to 49 people on a Teams video call ; another creates virtual viewing modes that mimic in-person gatherings .teams together mode Microsoft

in concert Mode in Microsoft Teams puts video recording meet participants in a virtual arrange designed to make meetngs more betroth .
Because it ’ south share of Microsoft ’ s cortege of office-worthy apps, Teams already has a toe-hold in companies that either didn ’ triiodothyronine have a collaboration chopine in set already or are looking to limit application sprawl. And it ’ s worked to help IT admins better wield Teams video chats, again with an eye on enterprise users .

What comes next for Zoom?

Zoom appears poised to continue its growth, because even after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, large numbers of workers are probably to continue to work remotely. While the ship’s company ‘s Zoom for Home announcement was not enthusiastically received, Kurtzman said it was still a bright move to side Zoom as a rival to other, more traditional UCaaS ( Unified Communications-as-a-Service ) vendors, which often offer hardware deoxyadenosine monophosphate well as software. Kurtzman believes that, with most security concerns addressed, Zoom can now refocus on improving the video recording call experience for users. He pointed to the company ‘s late addition of AR features, as an exemplar. “ As a result of the pandemic, we are in a menstruation of big populace adoption and have speed in videoconferencing, ” he said. “ In the short term, Zoom wants to make meetings more engage and less nerve-racking, which explains the AR features added recently. zoom wants to connect with more enterprise systems to remove clash between meetings and influence. They already support a rich API set that easily integrates with a count of applications. “ Long condition, despite the cutthroat rival, their imagination is to reinvent how we use videoconferencing both as enterprises and personally, ” Kurtzman said. In doing sol, it ’ randomness authoritative that Zoom balance the need to be both feature rich and easy to use, not making the exploiter interface more complex than it needs to be.

“ Zoom has clearly taken advantage of the here and now, ” Kurtzman said, noting that the company was flying to address security issues as they arose — offering end-to-end encoding is the exception, not the norm, for videoconferencing platforms. That should keep it in the crown grade of players in the market. “ Unlike former years, the increase of collaborative applications — including conferencing — enabled multiple marketplace leaders, ” Kurtzman said. “ Zoom is well-positioned for such a position. ”

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Category : Tech

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