Finding reliable digital solutions to the issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t been easy. There are so many alternatives that sometimes it’s hard to separate the viable and useful ones from the glitchy and unreliable.
Some services have struggled, while others have flourished and demonstrated the resilience of their systems. One of the services in the latter category is the one we’re covering in the next couple of posts – Zoom.
Zoom started in 2011, with the goal of making videoconferencing more reliable. This was a pretty huge goal back then, as most services were glitchy, buggy and unreliable at best, with calls dropping and people unable to connect a regular occurrence. Since then, however, technology has developed, and now, with more reliable and prevalent broadband and mobile broadband services along with more solid and dependable servers, the idea of a smoother and less buggy video chat experience is something achievable.
Zoom itself came into popularity in 2019 in the tech industry – but it was the COVID-19 pandemic that really made it take off, for both personal and business users. This time last year, using the phrase “Zooming” to refer to using a video chat app would probably have not been widely understood; this is not the case now. The app has made such an impact on the industry that it’s entered the general lexicon – alongside “skyping” and “facetiming”.
Rather than being an all-purpose communications app, Zoom has a singular focus – to provide smooth, high definition, reliable and easy to use video conferencing for use by individuals or teams of any size – and this is what it does.
They have worked hard to establish and maintain reliable servers and a service that works when and how its users need it to – and for the most part, it’s held up. There are some outages and issues as can be expected when there is such a high demand for this kind of service, but on the whole, the experience of users has been positive. Many people have come to rely on using Zoom for large daily group meetings, and some groups have even used it to hold lockdown parties.
You can schedule meetings using iCal, Google Calendar or Outlook. Zoom has a standalone desktop app, but also has various plugins to make it work with other apps, such as a plugin for Outlook and for Skype for Business. There are also browser plugins to enable you to easily host or schedule an event with one click in your browser. You can also use it in-browser as a web app.
Next time on the Geek Blog, we’ll be having a look at some more of Zoom’s features; make sure to bookmark us and check back soon!