With physical distancing recommended as the most effective way to curb the transmission of COVID-19, most of the global population have adjusted to the 'new normal' and have adopted virtual learning, working and communicating.
Across the world, a large percentage of virtual classrooms, meetings and friendly catch-ups take place over a relatively new video conferencing service – Zoom. COVID-19 has seen a large boom in the popularity of Zoom, with it being the preferred method of communication for the Australian education system, workplaces and as the best platform to share a quick video chat with friends.
The Zoom app has been installed about 3.7 times more than Skype and 8.6 times more than Google Hangouts onto mobile devices, making it currently the world’s second most popular mobile app (second only to TikTok). So, what exactly has made Zoom different?
Zoom was originally designed as a service for corporate clients with paid subscriptions that included enhancements and extra features. However, when the global lockdowns started, Zoom lifted the limits for the free version of its video conferencing software – firstly, in China and then for education systems in many countries, helping drive its popularity around the world. The free version of Zoom allows for up to 100 participants with up to 40 minutes of video time - a very generous unpaid package.
Incredibly easy to use, Zoom found its popularity because of the simplicity of its platform. Starting or joining a session is easy with the video quality remaining stable throughout; a feat other video conferencing platforms have struggled to achieve. It also does not come with a range of confusing add-ons or complicated features. Instead, Zoom simply combines video conferencing, online meetings, messaging, and conference room support all in one convenient package.
It also seems to be the little points of difference of Zoom that have helped it stand out against its competitors. For example, Zoom has a built-in beautification filter, and the ability to adjust your virtual background – a big favourite amongst the non-professional (and sometimes professional) users of the platform.
But more important than any of the other features, the functionality and call quality of the Zoom is what will maintain its dominance in the video conferencing market. As well as being easy and free to use, Zoom also boasts better overall call quality, the ability to record meetings and can share high-quality content over calls – all these distinct features are what have helped to set Zoom apart from the competition.
"What Zoom has done is kind of democratised video conferencing for all kinds of businesses and made it very simple for everyone from yoga instructors through to board room executives to deploy video," says Alex Smith, a senior director at tech analysis firm Canalys.
The boom of Zoom also means that the new ways of working that have come about due to COVID-19 will be easier to maintain, even as the Australian workforce begins to slide back into a more traditional work routine. With the wide availability and high quality of modern video conferencing, we might start to see a decline in the traditional meetings, catch-ups or even in the need to travel for work. Investing in Zoom allows for a greater amount of connectivity across businesses and more flexibility in work schedules and communication.
Luckily for Christie Spaces, Zoom's first and only gold-certified integrator and resell partner happens to be one of our happy members at Christie Spaces Adelaide Street! With their assistance, we have installed twelve Zoom Rooms across our six properties - bridging the gap for our members who have opted to return to the office and those who continue to work from home.
Rolling out Zoom Room technology in our smaller meeting spaces first, VC Systems recommended a combination of both the 55" and 75" DTEN Zoom Boards to provide a variety of functions for our members. Our Zoom Room's are highly intuitive and easy to use, so much so that shortly after installation users were seamlessly collaborating, wirelessly sharing their screens, video conferencing and utilising the whiteboard function - without any training or instructions.
Christie Spaces would like to say a big thank you to VC Systems, Zoom and DTEN for their expertise in installing and maintaining our Zoom Rooms. Booking some time in any of our twelve Zoom meeting rooms is easy with our Christie Spaces members app. Our Zoom Rooms have the built-in ability to create or join a meeting, share your screen/content or use the screen as an interactive whiteboard.