What is Zoom?
Zoom is one of the most popular video conferencing software tools in the world. After becoming massively popular with small businesses, universities, and individuals alike during 2020, Zoom has become a household name in video conferencing.
Part of Zoom’s main appeal is its free plan, which gives small businesses access to 40-minute high-quality video meetings with a wide range of features.
Table of Contents
- What is Zoom?
- Zoom Review Summary
- Zoom Pricing & Cost
- Zoom Key Features
- Zoom Customer Support
- Zoom vs. Competitors
- Is Zoom Right For You?
Zoom Review Summary
Zoom was founded by Eric Yuan in 2011. The company is headquartered in San Jose, California, and has seen massive growth in the past few years. At the end of 2019, Zoom usage was at 10 million daily meeting participants, and now that number stands at around 300 million daily meeting participants.
Zoom offers video conferencing features like screen sharing, video recordings, chat, breakout rooms, and webinars. It’s one of the foremost video conferencing options because of its wide range of features, most of which small businesses are able to use for free.
Possibly the biggest downside of Zoom is that, in spite of numerous security measures, Zoom meetings have been notoriously infiltrated by hackers. However, the vast majority of users will not encounter this problem while using Zoom.
Overall, we recommend Zoom to most small businesses, regardless of their size or industry, due to the high-quality video conferencing available for free. Customers can join from a desktop application or directly from a browser, making it easy for all users to join meetings instantly.
Zoom Pricing & Cost
Zoom Meetings pricing begins at $149.90 per license per year and can cost up to $240 per license per year. Zoom’s free plan is very popular because customers can host up to 100 participants, have unlimited 40-minute meetings, and have access to private and group chat.
Because Zoom’s free plan is so feature-rich, we highly recommend it for startups and small businesses over the paid plans. However, if you require meetings that extend beyond 40 minutes, you’ll likely need to upgrade.
|Pro Plan||$149.90 per license per year|
|Business Plan||$199.90 per license per year|
|Enterprise Plan||$240 per license per year|
There are separate pricing plans for Zoom Phone, Zoom Rooms, Zoom United, and Zoom Video Webinar. Likely the most-used of these additional options, Zoom Video Webinar, starts at $690 per license per year for up to 10,000 attendees.
Some optional add-on plans are described below.
|Audio Conferencing||Starts at $1,200 per year|
|Large Meetings||Starts at $600 per year|
|Cloud Storage||Starts at $480 per year|
|Premier Support||Pricing Varies|
Zoom Key Features
This review discusses Zoom’s features, usability, and customer service availability. We’ll make notes about where the software either shines or falls short in terms of the above three sections. We’ll also include real images of the software to give you a sense of what it’s like to work with the tool.
To learn more about how we research and rate software tools, read about SoftwarePundit’s review methodology.
When you first sign up with Zoom, you’ll be assigned a unique meeting link. It’s extraordinarily easy to start your meeting or link Zoom to Google Chrome, Microsoft Outlook, or Google Calendar.
There are many commonly-known features in Zoom’s meetings, including screen sharing, chat, different views, background edits, and more. We’ll go into the most important of these features below.
Screen sharing allows individuals to demonstrate what is happening on their computer screens to the entire group. This feature is crucial for any business that has collaborative projects, conducts product demos, and more. You can share:
- Your entire screen
- A specific window
- A particular tab
Multiple participants will also be able to share screens simultaneously. These features are included in the free plan, so you do not need to pay for this capability.
Within Zoom, you can send chats during the video meeting. You can send chats to the entire group or chat one-on-one with another meeting participant. Chats sent to individuals are private and are not visible to other participants in the group.
With many individuals working remotely now, employees may wish to hide their physical rooms to protect their privacy. With Zoom, you can add a stock image that creates a virtual background.
There are some other background edits that can be done during videos, like face blurring and background noise suppression.
Zoom is one of the best webinar providers on the market. We’ll go over Zoom Webinars pricing and the included capabilities, which will help you decide if they’re the company you want to go with.
Webinars will look much like meetings, except visitors will not have the same capabilities as they do within meetings. They can raise hands or submit questions if the host allows.
Zoom Webinars Pricing
Your Zoom Webinar plan will depend on how many participants you want to allow for. There are plans for 500, 1,000, 3,000, 5,000, and 10,000 attendees. If you require up to 50,000 attendees, you can inquire about custom pricing. However, most small businesses likely will need nowhere near that many attendees.
For $690 per license per year, you’ll be able to host unlimited webinars with no time limit for up to 500 attendees. Additional features include:
- Interact with attendees
- Audience engagement reports
- Live streams
- Cloud recordings
- CRM and marketing automation integrations
Security has been a significant problem for Zoom users over the past year and a half. Zoom meetings have notoriously been infiltrated by hackers and hate groups, and Zoom has implemented or enhanced many security features in response.
At the end of 2020, Zoom rolled out end-to-end encryption for increased privacy and security for certain Zoom meetings. Zoom meetings are automatically secured with 256-bit AES encryption. These are fairly technical specifications, but the bottom line is that Zoom has taken steps to increase the security of their meetings.
Additional in-meeting security features, which can be manipulated and dictated by the meeting host, will be described below.
Waiting rooms allow meeting hosts to see who is attempting to enter each call, and decide whether or not to admit them to the meeting. Below is an example of how hosts are notified when someone enters the waiting room.
Hosts can view the list of waiting room attendees, where they’ll be able to individually admit attendees one by one.
For both meetings and webinars, hosts can secure their video calls with a passcode. This helps prevent unauthorized users from accessing calls. Passwords and waiting rooms are not only available, but required, in most cases. Hosts can choose which they’d like to implement, but one is needed for added layers of security.
Passcodes are randomly assigned, but hosts can change the passcode to a specific set of numbers if they so choose.
Additional In-Meeting Security Features
For added individual security, the host can either allow or disallow participants from sharing their screens, using the chat function, muting or unmuting themselves, starting their videos, and more. These capabilities prevent attendees from sharing unwanted content with the rest of the meeting.
Zoom Customer Support
Zoom offers numerous self-help options for customer service, including live chat, a Help Center, video tutorials, and more. Customer support specific to paying customers depends on your plan level, where higher-paying customers receive more specialized support.
|Customer Support Channels||24/7 Live Chat|
|Other Support Resources||Blog, Help Center, Developer-Specific Help Page, Video Tutorials|
|Application Status Page||Yes|
Zoom Alternatives & Competitors
Zoom competes with many popular video conferencing software tools. A list of alternatives can be found below.
For an article that compares Zoom to all its competitors at once, read our Zoom Competitors & Alternatives article.
We've written articles that directly compare Zoom to its competitors. Some one-to-one comparisons can be found below:
Is Zoom Right For You?
If you need a free, high-quality video conferencing platform and your meetings typically last for less than 40 minutes, then Zoom is one of the best options on the market.
In spite of a few issues, namely the tediousness of downloading the application and the difficulty in joining a meeting from the browser, Zoom remains a reliable, low-cost option for small businesses and startups.
If you are interested in trying Zoom, sign up here.