Zoom is a comprehensive and inexpensive cloud-based video conference platform that is intuitive and effective. It delivers high-quality HD video and audio to up to 200 participants, and maintains a variety of pricing plans suitable for businesses of all sizes and levels of need.
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Zoom offers a wide array of features that meet virtually any company's needs. It has all the essential features we looked for in a video conferencing platform, in addition to some ancillary features that are useful for collaboration and brainstorming sessions. Zoom even offers a free edition that allows users to test out all its features.
Zoom's features include HD video and audio, screen sharing, desktop and app sharing, instant meetings, scheduled meetings, private and group chats, a "hand raise" feature, breakout rooms for smaller group discussions, and whiteboarding for brainstorming and sketching ideas. Zoom secures its platform with SSL encryption and AES 256-bit encryption.
Zoom is unique in that all its features are available to even free users. Free users will experience video conferences limited by time, but will still have access to test out all Zoom's features in unlimited one-to-one meetings. The free edition is so robust, it might even be suitable for very small businesses that don't have much need for conferencing.
Ease of use
Zoom's platform is very straightforward and easy to understand for the end user. While its list of features is long, the dashboard for a typical meeting is not cluttered or difficult to navigate. On the left-hand side of the dashboard in the meeting, users have the option to mute themselves or turn their camera on and off. In the bottom center of the room, users can invite new participants to join, view current participants, share their screen, enter the chat room, or opt to record the presentation. On the right-hand corner is an option to leave the meeting.
Zoom automatically presents the video feed of the active participant, which is generally the person speaking or sharing their screen. When sharing your screen or using the whiteboarding tool, the same options will appear at the top of the screen, as well the option to hand control off to another presenter, or exit the screen sharing mode.
Many of the options available to end users are apparent and self-explanatory. Even first-time users should require little to no training on the software, but even those that do should be able to pick it up quickly.
The lowest paid level of Zoom, the Pro tier, allows you to host a conference of up to 100 participants for $14.99 per host per month. In addition to the basic features, the Pro tier adds admin feature controls, in-depth reporting, and 1GB of cloud-storage for recording.
The next level, the Business tier, costs $19.99 per host per month and requires a minimum of 10 hosts. It builds on the Pro tier by adding dedicated phone support line, an administrative dashboard, an optional on-premise deployment, single sign-on, and company branding. It also makes available cloud recording transcripts and custom emails.
The largest plan available for Zoom is the Enterprise plan, which also costs $19.99 per host per month, but requires a minimum of 100 hosts. This plan bumps up the number of supported participants to 200, adds unlimited cloud storage, and a dedicated "customer success" manager.
Zoom doesn't technically offer a free trial; however, the free Basic version has access to the full slate of Zoom features, only limiting video conference meetings to 40 minutes in duration.
Zoom offers different levels of customer support depending on the subscription level you purchase. All paid subscriptions have access to 24/7 online support and live chat, while higher levels gain access to dedicated phone support. The Enterprise plan has a dedicated account manager that can act as a point person in case of any issues or questions.
Overall, Zoom is an affordable and comprehensive option for video conferencing services. Its high-quality audio and video, coupled with its reliability and stability, make it a great choice for businesses of any size in need of video conference software.
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