Dwight Watt - Newspaper Article #497 4/15/2020

Question: What is Zoom?


Zoom is an online service that allows people in different locations to meet together via the Internet.

Now that we are in Shelter in Place many people are learning about the various online meeting platforms. Zoom is a popular one, but not the only one.

With these online meeting platforms one person sets up the time and day for the meeting and sets it up in the platform. This part would be like where you reserve the room to us e for the meeting when we met in one room.

The next part is sending out the invitation which either the software will do if you give it the email addresses of al the participants, or the platform will give a link that you then email to all your invitees.

Then when the meeting occurs each person gets on the internet and clicks on the link in their email and joins the meeting. However to make the meeting more secure so you are not Zoombombed (a new term, not in dictionary yet, but I bet they put in later this year) which is where non-invited people come in your meeting and mess it up sometimes displaying porn, attacking the company, etc. To prevent that when you set up the meeting tell the platform to not put the password n the link but give the invitees the password separately. Second way is many of the platforms have a waiting room, and you can make everyone wait in the waiting room when they connect until you approve them to enter. Not that different from when you have physical meetings. The third way is to lock the meeting when the meeting starts and no one else can enter, but that is problem for late people. Lastly you can mute all the users and stop them from screen sharing and then the abusers can only mess with chat.

WebEx is another popular meeting type software. You can also use Facebook and YouTube to get groups together. I have used YouTube to teach online classes, which is just a different meeting. I use the Blackboard platform to teach online classes and it has a tool I use a lot called Collaborate to do lectures and online live sessions. GoToMeeting is another platform, and I have used On24 to do a seminar internationally.

All these meeting platforms allow us to connect, does not have to be business meetings, could be grandma and Suzy chatting, while staying safe distances and staying safe and well. Once we return to normal, we will see these used more, but their usage had already been climbing. As nice as they can be, a in-person meeting I still prefer sometimes.