Recently we covered Skype as a communication and collaboration tool and discussed how its free version lacked the group video calling and other enterprise-grade capabilities. Today we bring you an excellent tool that enables small businesses to hold video conferences and meetings with up to 50 participants absolutely free.
Meet Zoom, the intuitive all-in-one video conferencing software that promises HD video conferencing and desktop sharing for free.
The breathtaking simplicity of Zoom beat tools like WebEx or GoToMeeting by miles. Don’t believe me? Take a couple of minutes to install Zoom. You’ll be amazed by the non-existent learning curve and outstanding audiovisual performance. To start, you can sign up for a free account at www.zoom.us and install Zoom app on your desktop, iPhone or Android phone. You will be given a “personal meeting URL” which you can share with your team members and invite them to join the meeting on their phone, desktop or even landline.
From the moment you launch Zoom, the interface disappears into the background and a layer of seamless usability takes over. Your video starts right away and you join a meeting or invite people to your meeting using the easy-to-figure controls placed neatly along the bottom of the screen. The participants are shown in small screens along the top of the host and a larger screen is displayed when each person talks.
Your invitees can join the meeting by entering your meeting ID or personal link with little or no waiting times. Even if they don’t have Zoom, they can install it in less than five minutes (depending on the Internet connection) and be right with you. The voice quality is flawless and the HD video is crisp.
There are no immediately visible downsides to Zoom, except that the free version is restricted to a time limit of 40 minutes and accommodates no more than 50 participants. You can hold unlimited one-to-one calls or meetings, however.
If you need to hold meetings longer than 40 minutes or add more participants, you’ll need the Pro version, which costs you an affordable $15 a month. It has many additional features, including the ability to add up to 100 participants for an additional fee. Medium businesses, which have more than one host holding the meetings, can use the Business version for $20 a month.
Zoom integrates seamlessly with DropBox, Google Drive and OneDrive, allowing geographically dispersed teams to instantly access, update and share documents. It also integrates with other cloud products such as Slack, SalesForce, Skype for Business, HipChat, Facebook, and countless other products.
On the whole, Zoom has a robust offering of enterprise-grade video conferencing features packaged behind a simple and user-friendly interface. If your business requires video or voice collaboration among three or more people on a regular basis, Zoom is a tool you must try.