Using Zoom as a Video Conferencing Tool

Credit: zoom.us

By Anna

COVID-19 Disruptions

Credit: NUHS @Facebook

The world has been stopped in its tracks by the Coronavirus Disease, also known as COVID-19 or CCP Virus. The World Health Organisation has declared a global pandemic, highlighting the need for more intensive management and control of the disease.

Some of the initiatives being championed across the whole world for combating this disease is the frequent washing of hands and the use of alcohol-based sanitisers.

Credit: MOH

More critical is the enforcement of stay at home orders by governments across the world, with many cities making it compulsory for people to stay at home. These measures are aimed at minimising public interaction and halt the spread of this disease.

Singapore has also taken some drastic measures, including banning entertainment spots such as clubs and bars, imposing restrictions on public gatherings and restricting incoming foreign tourists and business visitors.

Credit: MOH

What has for decades and centuries been considered normal is no longer the case. Quarantines, isolations, and social distancing are the new norm, and it is no longer business as usual.

But should isolation and social distancing signal the end of all social and business interactions?

Is it still possible for business meetings and conferences to continue?

Yes, with the usage of technology. Many tools for collaborative working and conducting remote meetings are available and can be deployed to ensure that important meetings continue, whether in isolation or not.

One such critical remote meeting tool is Zoom.

What Is Zoom?

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Zoom is a video conferencing service that enables users to chat, have online meetings remotely and collaborate through the sharing of documents and presentations. Zoom uses web-based tools to enable users to have online discussions over audio, video or both via their personal computers or mobile applications.

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Zoom has some pretty awesome features that allow users to record video sessions, collaborate by sharing screens and explain what is on the screen of another user. All these are available on one Zoom platform.

What’s more awesome is that a Zoom meeting can host up to 100 participants concurrently. And that is just for the basic application.

With add-ons, you can increase the number to 500 participants, or even more if you purchase additional host licences.

Credit: support.zoom.us
Credit: support.zoom.us
Credit: support.zoom.us

This makes Zoom an amazing video-conferencing tool for you to host seminars, webinars, conferences or classes for a large number of people, as you share your notes and PowerPoint presentations. Besides, you will be able to allow your participants to share their screens too, and type their responses for everyone to see.

Zoom Account

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To use Zoom, you do not necessarily need an account, which means that anybody that you invite for a Zoom meeting can attend the meeting without having to register and open an account.

You will, however, need to create a user account if you intend to host an online meeting.

Do I Need to Install the Zoom Program on My PC?

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Zoom offers a web-based video-conferencing service that will not require a user to download any software or plugins. You can simply access the service directly from your browser, making it easily accessible, even while using a borrowed device.

You will quickly find that Zoom is a vital and efficient resource that you will need daily. You can therefore download and install the Zoom application on your desktop for Windows or Macintosh. You can also download Zoom on your mobile phone for use on an Android or iOS device.

Additional Requirements for a Zoom Meeting

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Zoom is not heavy on resource requirements, making it easily accessible and within reach of many people. To use Zoom, you only need standard video conferencing accessories and a modest internet speed.

First of all, you will need a video camera connected to your device. This camera can be either built in or an additional accessory for your computer, for example, a webcam. Virtually all computers and smartphones these days come with a standard built-in camera, to allow for video conferencing and webinars. 

You also need a microphone, which again comes with most devices. If your device has no built-in mic, you can use standard headphones plugged into your device or a USB microphone. Most users prefer to use headphones, for better hearing and privacy so that other people are not distracted by your conversation.

Internet Connectivity

For the internet connection, a bandwidth of 1 Mbps will be sufficient for a Zoom conference. This internet speed is basic for most internet service providers, and even with intermittent service or poor network coverage, it is possible to have a decent Zoom meeting.

If you are using mobile data, you would expect to use roughly 100MB of data, for a 30-minute video conference on Zoom.

Setting Up a Zoom Call

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Setting up a Zoom call is easy. You simply log in to the application or program from your PC or smartphone, and click on the Select Schedule icon. From there, you will enter your meeting details including topic, time, duration and also select the video and audio options.

Credit: support.zoom.us
Credit: support.zoom.us

You can then share the Zoom link, meeting ID and password with your meeting participants, or send a calendar invite with the necessary details.

So How Much Does It Cost to Use Zoom?

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For all the amazing features available with Zoom, you will be pleasantly surprised to realise that it is a free service. This makes it a great tool and resource for individual users and small and medium-sized enterprises.

With your free Zoom, you can host an unlimited number of meetings for up to 100 participants, for a maximum of 40 minutes per session.

If you intend to have short online meetings with a small number of users, then you do not need to upgrade to a paid service. The basic free service will work for you just fine.

Credit: zoom.us
Credit: zoom.us

Zoom also has paid plans with even more amazing features, and you can consider upgrading to one of its three plans for more elaborate online meetings. These plans will allow you to have longer online meeting sessions of up to 24 hours and will give you other features including company branding, custom emails, user management, admin feature controls and reporting tools.

In conclusion, businesses and all of us must innovate and adapt in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Using video conferencing tools such as Zoom to keep in touch with one another and continue collaborating is a good way for meetings to continue in compliance with social distancing requirements.

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