Zoom is a remote conferencing service launched in 2011, which offers video conferencing, online meetings, chat, and mobile collaboration. It is quickly becoming one of the go-to platforms across industries and schools to telecommute during the COVID-19 pandemic, along with other platforms such as Google Hangouts and Discord. Zoom has recently reconfigured some things to enhance & simplify services during the pandemic, to help those new to the platform become more comfortable with the features.
Zoom offers both free and subscription services, based on what solutions and specifications are needed. Due to high demand at the moment, dialing into a meeting via phone call has been disabled for free accounts.
Additional features are available as add-ons, such as additional storage, join meetings using a toll-free number, and video webinars.
Zoom can be launched straight from a browser, via the mobile app, or by using the desktop client. The interface is very intuitive across all platforms, making it easy to use. Accounts are free to create, and the app, browser, and client are also free. To join a meeting, simply go to the website, launch the client, or open the app, and select “Join a Meeting.” Each meeting has a unique 9, 10, or 11-digit number called a meeting ID that will be required to join a Zoom meeting, which is generated by the person hosted the meeting. If joining via telephone, the teleconferencing number will also be provided in the invite. As noted above, free services have temporarily disabled the ability to dial into via phone, so a microphone will be needed for voice chats.
Here are the steps to create a meeting:
After launching Zoom, click “Sign In.” To sign in, use your Zoom, Google, or Facebook account. You can also log in using SSO. If you don’t have an account, click “Sign Up Free.” If you have a Zoom account but cannot remember your password, click “Forgot.”
After signing in, you will see the Home tab. Here, you can create a new meeting, schedule a meeting in the future, join a current meeting, or share your screen in a current meeting.
If you’d like to schedule a future meeting, you can set it to be a one time event, or a recurring meeting. You can invite your participants ahead of time and include the invitation on a calendar or send it out via email. A non-recurring meeting ID will expire 30 days after the meeting is scheduled for. You can restart the same meeting ID as many times as you would like, within the 30-day period. A recurring meeting ID lasts 365 days. Scheduled meetings can be started at any time before the scheduled time. The links will not expire or become invalid unless it is past the 30 day period for a non-recurring meeting, has not been used for over 365 days for a recurring meeting, or has been deleted from your Zoom account.
If you choose to start an instant meeting, the meeting starts immediately and you can invite others to join this meeting at any time. You can use your Personal Meeting ID for Instant Meetings. An instant meeting ID started from Zoom desktop client, Zoom mobile app, or the Zoom website will expire as soon as the meeting has ended. Instant meeting IDs scheduled through the API will expire after 24 – 48 hours. If you do NOT have the Zoom app installed, go to zoom.us and select “Host a Meeting” to start the installation.
If you start an instant meeting, you’ll have the option on the screen to invite others. If you click “Invite,” the following popup will appear. The meeting ID is located at the top of the popup, and the meeting password is located on the bottom right. From this screen, you can invite others via email, but you can also provide them the meeting ID and password to join.
That’s all there is to it! Zoom was created for efficiency, and it is a very easy website to navigate. They also provide many, many video tutorials and a thorough FAQ to help anyone who would like to learn more or experiment with more advanced features.
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