What is Zoom? The free video meeting platform you can use in the UAE

If you're working remotely in the next few months, you may well be invited to Zoom your colleagues

Shot of two colleagues video chatting with each other on a computer at work
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More people than ever are working from home at the moment, due to the global coronavirus pandemic. While working remotely may be peaceful and productive, there are still times when we need to connect with colleagues, which has cast a spotlight onto video conference and meeting platforms that work in the UAE.

Zoom is one such platform. It bills itself as a "remote conferencing services" platform, which allows users to connect via audio or video call directly, or dial into larger video conferences.

Video Call Facetime Chatting Communication Concept
Zoom works on phones, tablets, desktops and laptops. Courtesy Zoom

How Zoom works 

You can use Zoom on most devices, including phone, tablets, desktops and laptops.

You simply create a profile, which is completely free for the basic package. If you connect through your company email address, you will be able to automatically connect to colleagues through the company directory.

However you can also add contacts to your address book using phone numbers and email addresses.

For meetings, you can either start one manually, and invite relevant attendees from your contact book, or you can set up channels, which are effectively a set group.

When starting a meeting with a channel, all listed participants will automatically be contacted to dial into the conversation. On phones and tablets, you'll find channels when you click the contacts tab on the bottom menu, then click channels at the top.

Up to 100 people can be in meetings, and they can last up to 40 minutes in the free basic package. There is no limit on one-to-one conversations.

You can also meet with people who aren’t in your contacts by sharing your meeting key ID to join.

This is what it will look like when a number of colleagues dial in: 

Zoom will also allow you to schedule meetings in advance, and on mobiles – if you switch notifications on – meetings will come through just like a phone call. Missed Zoom meetings will also appear in your recent call log.

There is also an option to break out during meetings into smaller groups of up to 50 participants.

Naturally, there are paid-for options, which start at $15 (Dh55) per month and include longer meeting durations and the option to record meetings.

As there is more attention on remote meeting platforms, Zoom has noticed a surge in members.

A notice on its website reads: "Due to increased demand, dial-in by phone audio conferencing capabilities may be temporarily removed from your free Basic account. During this time, we strongly recommend using our computer audio capabilities. If you require dial-in by phone audio conferencing, please see our other package options."