Zoom is Becoming a Lifeline During COVID-19. As the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage the world, global gatherings and conferences are shutting down. First, it was the Mobile World Conference, then Facebook’s F8 and Microsoft’s MVP summit. Many other gatherings were canceled or rescheduled as the world sought to fight the spread of the virus.
On March 15, 2020, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention advised against gatherings of more than 50 people for about 8 weeks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
And it is not just large gatherings that have been canceled or suspended in the face of coronavirus. Schools have been closed indefinitely and small meetings moved from physical spaces to safer, online platforms.
Companies followed suit and had to allow their staff to work from home.
With people across the globe stuck at home with an emphasis on social distancing, their only option is using video calling options to conduct business and keep in touch with schoolmates, colleagues, and family members.
And though there many service providers in the video, chat, messaging and conferencing field, people are increasingly turning to Zoom, a remote conferencing application with its headquarters in San Jose California. Zoom provides remote conferencing, mobile collaboration, online meetings, and chat services.
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As a result, people are tuning in to weddings and meditation sessions while workers are using the app to interact and reach out to clients. Students are tuning in to lessons remotely as teachers take their profession online.
So, why Zoom?
Zoom is known to be highly reliable with less possibility of outages even when used repeatedly. Unlike some applications which can only be used on specific devices such as Apple’s FaceTime for iOS, Zoom is available on devices running Android, Windows, iOS, Chrome, and Macintosh operating systems.
In addition, people using the services can video call for free as long as they keep the call under 40 minutes and have fewer than 100 people participating in the call.
Zoom is not only a great video-conferencing app, but it also comes with features designed for fun, such as the ability to create a virtual background or picture upload among many other benefits.
On March 13, Zoom lifted the 40-minute restrictions on free basic accounts for K-12 schools in the U.S. By March 29, Zoom had lifted the 40-minute limit for most K-12 schools in Europe and Asia. These actions have endeared the app to many as students and teachers can now keep up with school work.
While Zoom is a great app during this crisis, there are major privacy and security issues that are getting users concerned. For a start, Consumer Reports says that Zoom’s data collection practices are questionable. According to the group, user content such as profile images, videos, files, instant messages, and whiteboards can be used by advertising companies or used to develop a facial recognition algorithm.
As the pandemic bites, Zoom is riding the waves and helping people wait out the storms. In the meantime, users hope that these security and privacy issues will be addressed by the company.
Ultimately, even with the privacy concerns, if you intend to give Zoom a try, you can sign up for Zoom free here.