The coronavirus has changed the way the world does business. No longer can we have face-to-face meetings or host large events as a business. Instead, we are left with only one option: virtual events. However, to make the most of these, you are going to need a platform. And the Zoom platform will allow you to host a variety of events.
Today, we will look at the pros and cons of using Zoom.
What is Zoom?
Zoom is a cloud-based video conferencing service. It is intended for businesses to work remotely and offers a wide range of services to accommodate any business’s needs. These include video and audio conferencing, collaboration, chat, and webinars.
It supports both desktop and mobile users.
Zoom has become extremely popular in the world of business with over 20,000 companies choosing to use the service.
A Zoom Meeting is what you can use on a normal subscription and is intended for up to 100 attendees. It also supports larger audiences with Zoom Rooms. These support up to 500 slots for people, but it does require an additional subscription.
The platform also supports social media integration like Zoom Live on Facebook.
Who Is This For?
While Zoom is intended for businesses, the size of the company is important. As you might have noticed, Zoom Meetings and Zoom Rooms support a lot of members, and that isn’t necessary for everyone.
In reality, if you are a fledgling company with only a handful of employees, Zoom will meet all of your needs, but you may not want a subscription just yet.
There is a free version of Zoom that is perfect for very small businesses, but there is a catch. The meetings are limited to 40 minutes. You can host unlimited meetings, which is a workaround for this limit.
However, if this is too constrictive, there are cheaper and outright free ways to communicate with a staff of that size using other platforms.
More than likely, Zoom will better serve a company with over 10 employees that is intending to grow its ranks. This is because once your staff reaches over a certain size, there are no free services to host a full online conference.
Zoom has a lot of benefits for businesses. Keep in mind that depending on your plans for using Zoom, some of these may not apply or be relevant to you.
Here are the pros of using Zoom to keep your employees connected:
1. Supports Large Audiences
One of the main advantages is the ability to host very large online conferences. This is ideal for businesses with a lot of employees and not many services can match the sheer number of attendees allowed in a Zoom Room.
This is also great to have when you want to host collaboration events with other businesses or talk with future investors.
However, it isn’t just for employees. If you are using Zoom for Webinars, it can allow up to 10,000 virtual attendees to sign up. This is a very large audience and will be far too much for those just entering the Webinar scene. But the option for growth is definitely there.
2. Stream Your Meetings/Webinar on Facebook
Hosting any type of event is no easy task, and one of the hardest parts is making it easy for attendees to join. However, Zoom has a great way to do this by being able to stream any meeting or webinar on Facebook.
As we all know, Facebook is the most popular social media site on the internet with over 2 billion monthly users. This means that almost everyone will already have a Facebook account set up that is working, and if not, it’s free and easy to do.
This is also a great way to increase your Facebook followers. For example, you can stream a webinar with Zoom on your Facebook Business Page.
3. You Can Use Zoom For Free
While Zoom is a subscription-based service, it does allow you to hold unlimited 40-minute long meetings for no charge. This is great for those looking to trial the service or for new very small businesses that are looking for a free conference service.
This is especially useful during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many small businesses were not prepared to transition to an online work setting. This transition is not only hard to make, but expensive. Using the free version can help you save money and keep things simple.
After all, Zoom is very easy to use.
4. Google Calendar Support
More than 1.2 billion people utilize Google Calendar to help them keep track of their daily activities. Zoom is fully compatible with this service, which will help all of your employees keep track of their next online conference.
Organization and scheduling are some of, if not the most important aspects of hosting an online meeting. Unlike in an office setting where you can regularly interact with people and remind everyone about a meeting, an online meeting relies heavily on everyone remembering it.
Thus, making sure your event is compatible with Google Calendar is a great starting point.
5. Scalable for Small, Medium, and Large Business
If you are a new business owner, odds are you are still trying to find employees and have a plan for your business growth. However, what many first-time business owners forget is that they need to make sure they pick a platform that can handle and sustain the growth.
This is known as being “scalable.”
If you do not pick something scalable, you run the risk of spending a lot more money swapping services. This is not only a financial burden to do, but it can take a lot of resources and man-hours to ensure the platform change is seamless.
Zoom is fully scalable and businesses can upgrade their subscriptions to match their needs at a moment’s notice.
6. Easy to Use
Last, but certainly not least, is how easy the platform is to use. This is critical for many businesses making the transition to online conference calls. This will significantly reduce the number of roadblocks and headaches your business will face.
Everything is very intuitive to use for both the person hosting the call and for everyone attending. This is all thanks to the excellent interface the platform developers have put together.
This makes the platform ideal even for the most non-tech savvy entrepreneurs out there.
While Zoom has a lot of great features to offer businesses, there are some downsides. And just like how some of the benefits may not be a factor for you to consider, the cons are no different.
It is very likely that some of these may not affect you in any way depending on your usage.
Here are the cons of using Zoom:
1. Too Many Subscriptions and Add-Ons
Zoom is a subscription-based service that is reasonably priced at starter levels. However, one subscription is not enough.
Most services require an additional subscription (or add-on) that has multiple tiers based on the number of attendees you plan for. While many of the starter plans are fairly priced, the larger plans are questionable.
For example, hosting a webinar that can allow up to 10,000 attendees can cost you several thousand dollars a month.
While this is an extreme example since attendance does not tend to be that large for webinars, you can easily make this money back if you are popular enough. However, the high price can make it very difficult for small businesses to even get started in the first place.
The main problem with this is that you may only need a specific service once or twice throughout the year. The subscriptions are not flexible enough for these needs.
2. Lack of Comment Control
A big part of any online event is the ability for people to comment and message each other in a live chat. While zoom has a lot of customization in this department, it does lack one very important feature: the ability to delete inappropriate comments on the fly.
While Zoom does take inappropriate behavior seriously, it often takes too long to actually do anything about it. This can be devastating for public events because there is often a bad apple among the bunch.
However, this might not be a problem if you plan on just using zoom for meetings and not public events. It is very unlikely that an employee will do anything inappropriate since they will be among their employers.
Zoombombing is a new occurrence on the platform that results in unwanted individuals crashing a conference call. Typically, this will result in loud or inappropriate behavior by someone not affiliated with anyone on the call with the intention to disrupt it for fun.
This bad behavior has mainly been a result of COVID-19. As we all know, the virus has forced most business activity and meetings into the online environment. Unfortunately, many of these businesses or institutions do not understand the importance of security and discretion when it comes to passwords to enter a call.
It is important to note that not all “Zoominvaders” happen as a result of exposed passwords. Hackers have found ways to obtain them so in some cases, the invader is not anyone’s fault.
4. HD Video Is Not the Standard
With the rapid growth of 4k video, HD video quality (1080p) has become the standard on most platforms. Unfortunately, Zoom is not one such platform. It normally supports 720p for the current speaker.
While this will not largely impact a meeting, it has been a sour point for many users that have come to expect 1080p as the bare minimum in 2020. And due to the increased platform usage, they have even temporarily suspended their Group HD service.
It is worth mentioning that some services do have access to 1080p video quality, but you will need to pay more for it.
5. You Need to Download An App
While this might not sound that bad, it is actually a really big flaw. Unlike most other conference platforms, Zoom does not work without downloading an app for your browser. This creates a barrier of entry for employees that can cause employers quite a few headaches.
Many businesses will have a lot of problems with their first meetings because employees forget to actually download the app. This can delay or even force the meeting to be rescheduled as a result. Of course, with proper preparation and awareness, this can be avoided.
But, it is worth pointing out this can be avoided if you choose to stream the meeting on Facebook.
6. Inconsistent Cloud File Sizes
You can store all of your meetings in the cloud depending on your plan. Each plan has different limits on the storage capacity of your cloud. But, actual videos can greatly vary in size.
Typically, these recordings will take up around 1 GB of space. However, there are many instances where these videos can be many times bigger than normal. And this can be quite a problem for those with limited space and poor internet connections.
Of course, things like resolution and length will make a huge difference. There are situations where a video is just much larger than it should be, without explanation.
Overall, Zoom is a terrific platform that offers a lot of features that businesses will find useful. It is one of the best video conference platforms available that suit businesses of any size. However, it is not without its flaws. These are quite minor when compared to the benefits but still something to consider.
As with any service, I always recommend trying it out for yourself. Thanks to the unlimited, 40-minute meetings you can do for free, there is no reason to not give it a try. In fact, you may very well find out that the free version is more than enough at your current staff size.
What has your experience been while using Zoom? Are there any Zoom integration options that you would recommend to others?