ZOOMING IN ON AFFORDABLE BUSINESS VIDEOCONFERENCING
While enterprise-level "telepresence" systems have been available for decades, they were inconvenient and hideously expensive, with base systems often topping $100,000. Then along came Apple's FaceTime in 2010, and the world changed. Workers began using FaceTime and a whole host of other consumer-level products while IT departments scrambled to keep up. Conference calling systems, screen-sharing systems, and webinar systems quickly cobbled video into their platforms. Demand soon exceeded capacity--sometimes literally, but more often in performance, stability, and features. Small business users wanted enterprise-level security with a simple click-and-join user experience.
Zoom was designed from the ground up specifically for videoconferencing, webinars, online courses and training, and video demos. Its web interface and apps are extremely convenient and easy to use, and I particularly like the deep focus on security. Zoom claims both System and Organization Controls (SOC) 2 audits and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance.
Zoom can host and broadcast online meetings for as many as 100 interactive participants (add-on packages increase this limit to 500) and up to 10,000 in view-only mode. It provides high-quality video, audio, and screen-sharing capabilities and allows users to start and join a meeting instantly with a single touch of their mobile device or browser. Meeting originators can invite other participants to join the webinar with a URL that can be copied and posted to social media, sent via instant message, or emailed. I find this feature particularly useful when dealing with people with limited permissions who cannot download and install a local client. They can just click a URL and join the meeting directly through their browser. Zoom integrates with Oudook, Microsoft...