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Zoom meetings jettison complex video infrastructure

With cloud-based video meetings from Zoom Video Conferencing, businesses can host collaborative online meetings in the office and on mobile devices without a complex video conferencing infrastructure.

With its cloud-based video conferencing, Zoom Video Communications Inc. represents the next wave of video collaboration. Zoom combines video conferencing, meetings, webinars and mobile collaboration into one product. The key benefit of Zoom meetings is the removal of expensive video conferencing infrastructure that can be complicated to deploy and difficult to provision and manage.

Zoom meetings let users connect person to person and join a meet-me or scheduled group meeting. Users can install Zoom on Windows, Mac, iOS and Android. As for existing traditional video systems in the enterprise, Zoom allows users to connect their H.323 or Session Initiation Protocol standard-based video systems through Zoom's Room Connector.

Zoom supports new meeting room installations, allowing users to create their own Zoom Rooms using a PC, Mac or iPad. This software-based room system, combined with third-party cameras and microphones, provides users with a full video conferencing experience.

Zoom allows group meetings of up to 50 participants. Zoom Rooms also work with touchscreens to enhance meetings with co-annotation capabilities.

Zoom meetings offer pricing flexibility

Four Zoom cloud meeting price plans scale to suit the needs of small, medium and large customers. Zoom's Basic plan is free and still has most features. However, this plan does have a limit of 40 minutes per meeting on group calls. Zoom's pricing model is based on cost per month, per host.

Zoom meetings price plans
Zoom offers discounts on almost all monthly plans and add-ons if purchased annually.

Customers may purchase other features and services as needed, including:

  • Third-party video system integration, such as H.323 or SIP Room Connector, at $49 per system, per month -- $499 billed annually.
  • Large meeting support with options for up to 100, 200, 300 or 500 participants. Prices vary based on meeting size and account type.
  • Audio conferencing options allowing inbound and outbound PSTN connectivity. Costs are based on country call rate, and customers can pay as they go or buy a monthly plan.
  • Webinar support for up to 100 participants at $54.99, with packages available for 500, 1,000, 3,000, 5,000 and 10,000 viewers.

Business or Enterprise customers can choose to keep meeting traffic -- including video, voice and data -- on their own network by deploying a Zoom Meeting Connector server on premises. These virtualized Zoom communication servers are available at no extra cost.

All four pricing plans offer online and chat support, available through Zoom's website. Phone support is only available for Business and Enterprise plans.

Some plans target specific verticals

Zoom offers three plans targeted at key market segments supporting certain features. The Education plan has flexible packages starting at $150 per month for a 20-host package. Educators can incorporate Zoom meetings into learning management systems and web apps using a RESTful API.

The Healthcare plan is compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. The API Partner plan uses a RESTful API to embed Zoom in customers' web applications. The plan starts at $100 per month for 20,000 minutes or $500 per month for 100,000 minutes.

Zoom sells Basic, Pro and Business meeting packages of up to 49 hosts. Education and API Partner accounts accommodate up to 149 hosts. For larger packages, including Enterprise and Healthcare plans, customers can contact Zoom directly.

Zoom supports a referral partner program allowing third parties to earn commissions, while Zoom manages pre- and post-sales, billing and customer support.

For Business, Enterprise, Education and API plans, support is available 24/7. Response times depend on the severity of the issue. At a fee, Zoom also offers other services, including training, consulting, branding and implementation.

Next Steps

Cloud-first adoption among the UC trends to watch in 2017.

Weigh the pros and cons of high-definition video before deploying.

Virtual whiteboards are the next step in video collaboration.

This was last published in January 2017

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