Real Time Communications Featured Article

Power in the Cloud: Zoom Version 3.0 Offers More in Messaging

August 15, 2014

Cloud-based systems have proven a major benefit to real-time communications systems in the past, and the newest release from Zoom is set to be no exception. Already declared a “Cool Vendor” by Gartner, Zoom is out to prove that it's about more than just the cool factor by bringing in more power to its operations and giving users plenty more to work with.

Zoom's version 3.0 offers with it a variety of new tools to make business meetings much simpler over earlier versions, and in turn, lower costs. Reports suggest that, with Zoom version 3.0 in place, businesses can reduce total cost of ownership by better than 80 percent when compared to certain currently-operating solutions. That's a pretty staggering number, but what's driving those impressive cost savings?

More specifically, Zoom's version 3.0 offers several tools in business messaging. Not only can users send out group texts and images, but can even offer up a push-to-talk messaging system that works on a variety of devices, from desktops to tablets and other mobiles. It's also easy to turn a group messaging experience into a group meeting; so easy, in fact, that it takes just one button press to do so.

Better yet, there's also some augmentation for conference rooms here, with not only Google and Outlook calendar support but also a complete three-screen conference room system that will run equally well on both iOS and MacOS systems. There is substantial support for mobile collaboration tools, including screen sharing for iPad and iPhone apps as well as Android apps and Web-based content outright, and co-annotation systems during screen sharing that work for both the host and the attendees. The service is impressively scalable, able to support as many as 25 panelists and audiences up to 1,000, and a global service that can bring in both toll-free and call-me mechanisms as well.

There's even room here for Chrome extensions, Outlook plugins, augmented host meeting controls and administration management tools, as well as the opportunity to bring in a personal URL to name the virtual meeting room. Given that the service has brought out over 600 million total meeting minutes so far, it's clear that Zoom knows what its users are looking for and seems extremely willing to supply just that. Those who are already in on the action can upgrade at no charge, while those who only recently grew interested can get in for a pro / business account for $9.99 a month.

For those who were interested in getting in on video conferencing, Zoom—thanks to the new version 3.0—looks like a great place to start looking. With the kind of savings that can be realized from a video conferencing system, particularly as a supplement to business travel, it's certainly worth looking into further. Granted, business travel can never be completely replaced by video conferencing—there's always value in that handshake and that “personal touch”--but even if video conferencing replaces half of a business' travel, that's huge amounts of money saved.

As the products improve—just like Zoom version 3.0 shows—the reasons to use video conferencing tools will only increase along with the improvement. Only time will tell just where it all goes from here, but there are major possibilities afoot, and a lot of meetings that formerly took place face-to-face may soon be done over tools like Zoom.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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