Zoom (free): everything you need to know about the videoconferencing tool

“Zoom (free): all about the video conferencing tool”

[FREE ZOOM MEETING] The Zoom video conferencing application offers a free service. It allows an unlimited number of meetings, but caps video conferencing at 40 minutes and 100 users maximum.

With the rise of telecommuting induced by the Covid crisis, Zoom usage has exploded. At the end of its last fiscal year (ending January 31, 2020), the San Jose-based company reported revenues of $2.65 billion, up 326%. But already, signs of the return to the office are emerging. Zoom’s first half of fiscal 2021, which closed at the end of June, came in at $1.98 billion in revenue, up 50% year over year.

Where to download Zoom for free?

To get Zoom, even in free mode, you just need to download the application from the publisher’s website, simply by registering. Zoom can then be downloaded for free in different versions:

How to download Zoom on Apple tablet?

Zoom is available as an iOS app tailored for the Apple iPad. This app can be downloaded from the App Store where it is classified in the Business and Enterprise category.

How to use Zoom for free?

One of the advantages of Zoom Meetings is that it is free. Its main advantage: it allows an unlimited number of meetings. However, the meetings are limited to a maximum of 100 users and especially to a duration of 40 minutes. To use Zoom for free, you just have to :

  1. Register on the Zoom website,
  2. Schedule your first meeting,
  3. Launch it on D-day at H-hour.

How to connect to Zoom for free?

To join a meeting to which you are invited on Zoom, you just have to :

  1. Open the Zoom website or application,
  2. Click on the “Join a Meeting” icon,
  3. Enter the meeting’s username and password,
  4. Allow or not audio and video.

Focus on video customer support

The San Francisco group has also marketed in mid-September a first brick on the CRM front. It is a contact center application, obviously video oriented. Called Zoom Video Contact Center (VCC), it will be marketed in early 2022. Zoom promises to accompany it with templates to facilitate its adaptation to customer support issues and its integration with third-party CRM software in a multi-channel perspective.

How do I install Zoom?

The installation of Zoom is done in a few clicks and allows you to immediately use the free version of the video conferencing application. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Connect to the Zoom.us website, click on the link “Register, free of charge”,
  2. Fill in your date of birth and click on “Continue”, then enter your email address,
  3. A message is sent to you to confirm your registration, click on the link “Activate my account” in this message,
  4. In the page that opens click on “No” to indicate that you are not a school, then click on “Continue”,
  5. Enter your first and last name and a password, then click “Continue”,
  6. Enter the email addresses of the participants you wish to invite to Zoom, or click on “Skip this step”,
  7. Finally, click on “Start the meeting now” to test a first video or on “Go to My account”.
  8. In the latter case, the videoconference scheduling console will appear.

What is the price of the paid version of Zoom?

Alongside the free version of Zoom, there are paid packages available for businesses, depending on the size of the organisation and the meeting and video conferencing requirements. They range up to 19 euros per month per facilitator, and a capacity of 1,000 participants per meeting, including the possibility of taking care of telephony. “Zoom’s meeting solutions typically cost less to purchase than most competitors,” Gartner says in its 2019 video conferencing tools market report. Several more specific options are also available, including video webinar, which allows a meeting to be replayed live on YouTube, for example, or integrations with telepresence systems from Polycom or Cisco.

Why use Zoom?

With its simple and modern ergonomics, Zoom covers the main use cases of web conferencing, from chat and online meetings to digital seminars for up to 10,000 participants. Zoom allows you to create a virtual room with mosaic video of participants (see screenshot below). Users can interact from their computer as well as from their tablet or smartphone. The platform supports real-time transcription and translation in 30 languages. It also manages the booking of meeting rooms equipped with Zoom screens.

In parallel, Zoom offers collaborative features: screen sharing for PowerPoint presentations, for example, file sharing, or the management of interactive and collaborative whiteboards to exchange ideas and brainstorm remotely, including through an immersive environment using the Oculus headset from Facebook. Participants can also communicate via instant messaging alongside the video meetings. Like Google Meet or Microsoft Teams, Zoom can also be used to add custom backgrounds or to project a virtual setting (such as a classroom or conference room) in which users will be integrated on the screen.

In the future, the Zoom Rooms Smart Gallery feature will allow users to create the equivalent of Slack messaging channels tailored for video conferencing. In the same vein, Zoom Continuous Collaboration will introduce third-party content co-editing, and Zoom Widget will give users access to their meeting calendar and to the people present in a meeting at a glance in order to warn potential latecomers via Zoom Chat. The launch of all these developments is for “soon”, says Zoom.

Zoom (gratuit) : tout savoir sur l'outil de visioconférence
In its free version, Zoom can support up to 100 simultaneous users. JDN / Capture

Another strong point, the San Jose-based company integrates a cloud-based telephony system. Called Zoom Phone, it is available in 40 countries, including France. Based on an IP-based telephone exchange (IPBX), this service manages incoming and outgoing calls on the switched telephone network (PSTN).

Founded by Eric S. Yuan, ex-vice president of engineering at WebEx (another video conferencing tool), Zoom has raised no less than $145.5 million since its creation in 2011. In its latest Magic Quadrant on web conferencing technologies, Gartner ranks Zoom in its Leaders quadrant.

What are the alternatives to Zoom?

Zoom is known for its fluidity and extreme ease of use. However, Zoom is far from being the only platform in the video conferencing market. Its main competitors include Cisco WebEx, GotoMeeting, Microsoft Teams and Skype of course, but also applications such as Blizz (TeamViewer), ezTalks, Livestorm, U Meeting and Whereby. Another solution: the open source video conferencing tool Jitsi.

What OS does Zoom support?

On a computer, Zoom offers an application for Windows. On Mac and Linux, you will have to be satisfied with the web version of the solution. Extensions for Chrome and Firefox will allow you to benefit from the main features of the video conferencing application on either operating system.

On mobile, Zoom is the subject ofapplications for Android and iOS designed to create and manage meetings. In all cases, it is possible to access your Zoom user account in web mode, whether on PC, Mac, tablet or smartphone.

How do I start a video meeting on Zoom?

Zoom offers a very intuitive experience and ergonomics. To start a video meeting on Zoom, you just need to do the following

  1. Open an account on Zoom.us if you haven’t already done so
  2. Click on the blue “Schedule a new meeting” button
  3. Set the date and time of the meeting
  4. Copy and paste the meeting invitation into an email to invite participants
  5. On day D at time H, you just have to activate the meeting.

By default, the application selects several security functions: entering a password to access the meeting or activating the “Waiting room” which allows the organizer to control access to the meeting, including visually. Of course, you have the possibility to uncheck these options.

What is Zoom Rooms?

Zoom Rooms is designed to equip physical meeting rooms with the Zoom video conferencing application. With a view to integrating its platform with videoconferencing equipment (combining screen, camera and microphone) and telephony equipment (Zoom Phone), the publisher has signed a series of integration agreements with IP communication system manufacturers, including DTEN, Neat, Poly and Yealink.

Zoom Rooms capitalizes on artificial intelligence to cut out the faces of participants captured by the telepresence screen camera in order to allocate each one a thumbnail within its videoconference mosaic. The goal is to better present and distinguish them. Called Smart Gallery, this feature is available in beta and is supported by Neat and Poly solutions.

What is Zoom Events?

Zoom Events is a version of Zoom Meetings designed to manage online events. It orchestrates the creation of events up to the management of the ticketing and the associated invoicing. A whole range of features are offered to promote participant engagement: conference or workshop rooms, networking services via a virtual agora, event hubs. Dashboards are designed to track registrations, ticket sales and attendance.

In parallel, Zoom has opened a marketplace to help its clients promote their events to the general public. Called On Zoom, it is currently in beta version.

What is Zoom for Home?

It’s a set of touchscreens that are marketed and delivered with the video conferencing application pre-installed in order to facilitate access to the service from home. For this occasion, the functionalities of the web conferencing environment (planning, launching, joining a meeting…) have been optimized for this type of terminal.

Several “Zoom for Home” devices are available. These are models signed Dten or Facebook via the Zoom on Portal application. Amazon Echo Show and Google Assisted Smart Displays (including Nest Hub Max) will be supported by the end of the year.

Can we trust Zoom?

Zoom offers as standard A Security featureGotoMeeting is a standard application designed to facilitate the setting of global meeting security (activation of passwords to access meetings and to protect recordings shared in the cloud, validation of participants by the organizer, etc.). The application implements in parallel, with meeting identifiers of 11 digits and the possibility to associate passwords combining letters, numbers and special characters. In the same logic, Zoom detects and blocks pirate connection attempts. It also allows its paying customers to choose the cloud region via which their meetings will be orchestrated and hosted. They can select a data center from eight locations: Latin America, Australia, Canada, China, USA, Europe, India and Japan/Hong Kong. Finally, in its version 5.4 introduced in mid-October 2020, Zoom offers end-to-end encryption of exchanges, including in its free offer. Supporting meetings of up to 200 participants, it relies on the same encryption protocol (AES-256) historically used by the platform to protect meetings on the device. Allowing users to use their own encryption keys, this service nevertheless prevents access to several features: meeting recording, captioning, access by phone or one-to-one chat. Finally, it is not supported by the Zoom web version, and implies downloading and installing the video conferencing application locally.

However, all of Zoom’s measures should not prevent meeting planners from applying good security practices. The application should be downloaded from a trustworthy website, as the popularity of the tool has led to a proliferation of pirate sites designed to spread viruses to computers visiting them. Furthermore, it is strongly advised not to uncheck the “Waiting room” option, especially to prevent the risk ofZoombing. It is also recommended to choose different passwords than those used for other applications.

How to avoid being a victim of Zoombombing?

If you have not set up Zoom correctly, you may be confronted with what is called Zoombombing. This is the intrusion of a malicious person publishing pornographic or hateful images in your virtual meeting in full view of all participants.

Aware of the problem, the American platform has strengthened its security procedures around meetings. From now on, it activates by default the access to the meeting by password, as well as the Waiting Room function which allows meeting organizers to control the entrance of guests. It is obviously tempting to want to uncheck these two options to make it easier to organize a meeting. Requiring users to enter a password is indeed restrictive. However, bypassing these requirements creates the risk of being Zoombed.

What are the differences between Zoom and Messenger Rooms?

In response to Zoom, Facebook has launched its own consumer video conferencing service. Called Messenger Rooms, it allows you to create virtual “rooms” that can accommodate up to 50 people, compared to 100 for the free version of Zoom. No need to have a Facebook or Messenger account to participate in a room. A simple link sent by a member of the social network is enough. Objective: to offer a simple socialization environment for aperitifs, birthdays, clubs… Based on the Zoom model, Messenger Rooms displays a mosaic interface with videos of participants. Facebook ensures that it has taken the lead in terms of security. “There are tools to evict people easily. We can lock the room or close it if it goes wrong,” reassures Mark Zuckerberg.

At the same time, Facebook is offering a version of Messenger Rooms for professionals. It is available via Workplace, the version of its social network designed for businesses. “Workplace Rooms is a simple way to make scheduled and spontaneous video calls from your computer, smartphone […]. Anyone can participate, even if they don’t have a Workplace account or the application isn’t installed,” says Facebook.

Zoom (gratuit) : tout savoir sur l'outil de visioconférence
The interface of Messenger Rooms is inspired by Zoom. JDN / Capture

What are the differences between Zoom and Microsoft Teams?

Where Zoom focuses on video conferencing, Microsoft Teams is primarily a collaborative messaging designed for teamwork. Zoom can be used in Teams via an ad hoc extension. However, Microsoft Teams also integrates video conferencing features, especially those from Skype for Business. The two offers are therefore increasingly competing. In its 2020 Magic Quadrant for remote conferencing solutions, Gartner also ranks Microsoft among the leaders in the sector.

Zoom (gratuit) : tout savoir sur l'outil de visioconférence

Zoom App

The Zoom application is very easy to use. Depending on your needs, several offerings are available, with different options, such as integrating the app with scheduling tools, such as Google Calendar, or monetizing and setting up surveys. The Zoom solution is simple, but its potential is impressive. The Zoom application can be downloaded both in web mode, but also for Android and iOS.

Zoom also offers a plug-in that allows its solution to be used via a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). A technology that allows employees to connect remotely to their workstation inside the company. Designed for Citrix and VMware VDI offerings, this plugin supports the main features of the platform: screen sharing and annotation, whiteboarding and meeting recording. It supports up to 1080p resolution.

Zoom App Marketplace

With an ecosystem strategy, Zoom integrates with over 1,500 third-party applications or Zoom Apps. Offered via a marketplace called Zoom App Marketplace, these integrations range from collaboration applications(G Suite, Microsoft Teams, Slack…) to customer relationship management applications (Intercom, Salesforce, Shopify, SurveyMonkey, Zend, Zuora…) and project management (Asana) through to analytics applications (Domo, New Relic…)

Zoom recorder

Zoom offers an option to record a meeting or a speech, with the possibility to use a virtual whiteboard, which is ideal for online training for example. Online meetings can also be recorded on the cloud for later viewing.

Zoom in France

The Zoom solution has been booming for a few years in the world, and particularly in France where it is attracting more and more companies from different sectors. Among its customer references in France, Zoom includes Deezer, Havas and Sanofi(read the article At Sanofi, 69,000 employees start meetings on Zoom every month).

Zoom Community

Zoom offers a community space to share best practices for using its video conferencing solution, to ask questions and to get advice. Complementing the existing help center, Zoom Community includes discussion forums on the publisher’s various products: Zoom Meetings, Events and Webinars, Phone System, Chat, Rooms and Workspaces, OnZoom (the marketplace dedicated to virtual events)… But also forums on sector-specific implementation issues (education, health, etc.) or forums dedicated to events organised on Zoom.

Video conferencing tools

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