Many of us are now being forced to work from home due to the global coronavirus pandemic. But that doesn’t mean work can slow down, meetings still need to scheduled, client calls need to be made and colleagues need to have daily and weekly catch-ups.
Messaging each other or using apps such as FaceTime is all well and good, but for larger conference calls, only dedicated software will do. That’s where Zoom comes in. There’s a good chance you wouldn’t have heard of it before the Covid-19 virus forced the world into quarantine (we certainly didn’t here at DMARGE), but the app has seen monumental growth in the past couple of months – first time installs increased 213% compared to the week commencing March 2nd – and currently sits atop the free apps chart on Apple’s App Store.
One reason for its popularity is the ability to see everyone involved with the call at one time. Some other video apps only show the person talking, or just a few of the most recent people to have spoken, in the window view. With colleagues needing to stay closer than ever before, being able to see and check in on one another so easily is paramount.
It’s so popular in fact that people are finding new and inventive ways to use it aside from regular video conferencing. We’ve scoured the web to find the interesting new uses people are finding for it, as well as experiencing it for ourselves.
We were invited to a Samsung media briefing before the coronavirus put Sydney into lockdown. This meant the event was formally cancelled, but Samsung still needed to show its latest product to us. They invited us to join a Zoom meeting so not only could we still put names to faces of company and PR representatives, but they could still show us the product and give us a full walkthrough of its features.
Governments around the world have shut the doors on gyms to help slow down the spread of the virus, but people still need to keep fit. Doing home workouts can often be easier said that done, as we wouldn’t be surprised if you lacked motivation to do some ab crunches in the front room.
It’s therefore why some gyms and personal trainers are turning to Zoom so that they can still coach people and provide a curated exercise programme that people can easily follow along with at home. John Field, Bondi Gym Agoga owner and head coach, said, “We started up a registry will all our equipment and decided to lend it out to members.”
“Whether we’re open or shut it’s about that community engagement.”
“So our online [classes] have been all via zoom, so everyone can see me and they can also see each other, which I’ve had tremendous feedback on [like] ‘I thought it would just be like Fb live and just be able to see you, but being able to see everyone else makes us feel like, in a funny way, we’re still in the same room’ [people have said].”
Yes, you read that right, baptisms.
Dumbarton United Methodist Church in Washington D.C., USA recently held a congregation service that was streamed live using Zoom. Part of the conference included the baptism of baby boy, with many users logging in to watch the service from their homes (and one user logged in whilst on the beach). Everyone who signed in to watch was also asked to pledge donations online, instead of the usual communion plate.
Debbie Woodcock, one member who logged in to watch said, “I have never felt so much in communion with my community of faith as I did this morning while sitting alone in my house!”. The Dumbarton United church will continue to hold sermons online for the foreseeable future.
The Atlantic reports that college students in the US are using Zoom to have house parties, with each participant being in their own home. Governments are urging people to not host house parties to minimise the number of large groups hanging out together. Thanks to Zoom, everyone can see other at the same time and you can even change the background surrounding your floating head to pretty much whatever you please, injecting some fun.
Schools have also been affected by the global lockdown, but kids and students still need an education. Zoom is ideal for hosting virtual classrooms, and teachers have even gone to great lengths to put together packs for school children so they still have materials to work with when they’re all in the virtual class together.
Harvard students have had to make the adjustment to using Zoom as well, and while many said it wasn’t the same as being in a physical room with each other, some agreed that it actually made it easier to ask their professors and lecturers questions compared to being in an auditorium.
The Covid-19 virus is showing no signs of slowing down and a vaccine is still a long way away. Video conferencing software such as Zoom will undoubtedly only get more popular and more and more of us will have no choice but to communicate with one another from the confines of our own homes.