If everyone in your online meeting promises to wear pants, videoconferencing can be a great way to communicate. You’ll find a lot of common features among the videoconferencing and screensharing tools, but Zoom is stepping up and standing out. The free version lets you connect up to 25 cameras for up to 40 minutes (and unlimited one-to-one meetings), and paid plans start at ten bucks a month.
Zoom will blow you away with the ease of starting a videoconference. From any computer or iOS/Android device, a quick download lets you start a meeting. With a couple of clicks, you can see your own video image on your screen and invite others. The video quality is super duper, and the audio is great as well.
In a meeting, you can collaborate and share in a number of ways.
From a Mac or PC:
- View everyone in a meeting, and Zoom can automatically change the spotlight to the person who is speaking.
- Share your screen and give control to other attendees (even in the free version).
- Choose which window to share, or share your whole desktop. If you have two monitors, you can show one desktop or the other.
- A menu bar gives you sharing options, audio/video control, participant management and annotation functions.
- When you are viewing a shared screen, the participants will shrink to smaller windows so you can still interact.
- You can allow participants to annotate your screen with arrows, lines and more.
Sharing Mobile Screens
When you start or join a Zoom meeting from a mobile device, you can share photos, go to a webpage or share files from a number of cloud services.
Once you share something, you and your colleagues can use tools to highlight and annotate as you discuss.
One of the coolest Zoom features is the ability to share your iOS device via a PC (notice those key words — just for iOS to PC shares right now).
When you choose to share your iPhone/iPad, Zoom lets you create a link to an iOS device on the same wifi connection via AirPlay. A dialog box gives you step-by-step instructions to mirror the screen of your iOS device to your computer so attendees can see apps and activities on your device.
For Mac users, Zoom doesn’t yet have that functionality built in, but the Reflector App lets you create that connection and show your screen.