In the first two months of 2020, Zoom added 2.22 million monthly active users, and one of them might have been you. As the COVID-19 pandemic forced companies to cancel events and set up employees for remote work, Zoom became a popular way for coworkers and friends to stay in touch while observing social distancing protocols.
Setting up a Zoom account is fairly easy, and Zoom offers a free plan that suits a lot of people’s needs, particularly those using it for personal reasons. However, for those who need more time or participants — or want to add customizations to their Zoom meetings — there are paid plans that offer these options.
The free version of Zoom — known as Zoom Basic — is a great way to test the waters if you’re new to the video conferencing platform. It lets you host meetings as long as 40 minutes for up to 100 participants using HD video and HD voice.
In your Zoom meetings, you’re able to use virtual backgrounds to camouflage your surroundings. You can also share your screen, present to the attendees, and use whiteboarding features. Plus, you can set up a personal meeting ID and a password to protect your meetings from uninvited guests.
In addition, the Basic plan allows you to create breakout rooms. These breakout rooms can be useful if a couple of team members need to have a quick discussion outside of the meeting. The Basic plan also includes the capability to record meetings.
Just so you know
Geared toward small teams, Zoom Pro picks up where Zoom Basic leaves off. Your meeting can last 30 hours, although you’re still limited to 100 participants. But you also can manage users and grant administrative privileges, as well as generate reports — like tracking how many meetings you’re holding and how long they last.
Administrative and owner privileges, which you can set with a Pro plan, let you manage the account and turn features — like recording, encryption, and chat — on and off as needed. You can also assign someone to schedule meetings for you.
Zoom Pro includes 1 GB of MP4 or M4A cloud recording, which can be useful if you want to share the recording with people who couldn’t make it to your meeting.
Pricing for Zoom Pro starts at $14.99 per month, per license, with a maximum of nine licenses.
For small and medium businesses, Zoom offers a plan that includes all Pro and Basic features as well as a few more. Zoom Business lets you host up to 300 participants in your meetings and allows you to customize your meeting rooms further. For example, you can use a vanity URL and add your company branding to your portals.
Additionally, Zoom Business gives you the option to deploy Zoom on premises in your own private cloud service. It also provides cloud recording transcripts, integration with learning platforms, and dedicated phone support.
Zoom Business starts at $19.99 per month, per license, with a minimum of 10 licenses.
Large enterprises can use Zoom for video conferencing, too. The Zoom Enterprise plan is designed for big companies, and meeting rooms can hold up to 500 participants. Enterprise plan subscribers can also leverage unlimited cloud storage and a dedicated customer service manager.
Zoom Enterprise includes a feature called Executive Business Reviews, which lets you analyze adoption of the service and track ROI as well as get insight into the product roadmap for Zoom.
Pricing starts at $19.99 per month, per license, with a minimum of 50 licenses.
Zoom for Education
Zoom offers a product just for educational institutions — Zoom for Education. The plans start at 20 hosts and allow for up to 300 participants in a meeting. Hosts can have unlimited meetings. Features include content sharing, digital whiteboarding, integration with learning management systems, and session recording and transcription.
Zoom for Education is billed on an annual basis starting at $1,800 per year. The Large Meetings add-on is $50 per month, per host.
Zoom for Healthcare
Healthcare professionals can use Zoom as well. Zoom for Healthcare provides video conferencing services that comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). This plan allows for 10 hosts and comes with a signed business associate agreement (BAA), which protects healthcare professionals if there is a data breach on Zoom’s end.
Zoom for Healthcare includes collaboration features to annotate records when meeting with other doctors as well as the ability to launch a conference directly from the Epic electronic health records (EHR) system. Each session can be recorded, but clinical applications like patient visits won’t be stored in the cloud.
Zoom for Healthcare plans start at $14,99 per month for up to nine licenses.
If you’re using Zoom exclusively for events, you may want to look into using Zoom Events, which lets you set up event hubs, branded pages that contain all the details of your event.
You can make your events public or private and set up everything from registration to ticketing right from the hub. The top-notch analytics features allow for real-time data collection, so you can alter your events on the fly.
Zoom Events gives your guests the option to network with other attendees or sponsors. There’s a virtual event lobby and expo floor where you can create a more natural virtual environment for guests to mingle and exchange information.
Zoom Events also creates a more natural “backstage” for event presenters, where they can virtually meet with a production crew and discuss presentations before and after going live — and make sure they look ready for the camera.
There are tons of resources on the site that make Zoom Events easy to navigate, and you’ll want to use everything this plan has to offer. Pricing for Zoom Events is $890 per year, per license.
If you’re planning a presentation with a large audience, Zoom Webinar creates a more personal experience between your presenter and guests.
You can host up to 50,000 people and stream your event on popular platforms like YouTube Live and Facebook Live. With useful features like a background noise suppression tool, virtual backgrounds, and studio effects, you’ll have more control over the look and sound of your presentation.
While Zoom Webinar definitely excels during your web event, it also has some great post-webinar tools. You can customize what you’d like your landing page to look like after the webinar and include things like surveys and polls to collect essential feedback. You can also use Zoom Webinar’s analytics tools to track attendance, measure engagement, and analyze any survey data you collect.
You can purchase a Zoom Webinar plan based on how many attendees you intend to host. Pricing ranges from $690 annually for a 500-attendee plan to $64,900 annually if you’re hosting 10,000 attendees. There are several tiers in between, but keep in mind that the attendee number is based on view-only guests. The cap on interactive panelists for your event is 100.
Zoom Rooms is a great solution for hybrid workplaces or schools that want to create a seamless meeting experience. It creates the closest thing to an actual conference room, including a virtual receptionist you can use while in kiosk mode — a great option for office or hotel lobbies.
If you’re using Zoom Rooms in the more traditional office setting, you can take advantage of features for reserving workspaces, checking how many people are in a room, and easily monitoring what meetings are taking place throughout the day.
One Zoom Rooms feature that’s quite impressive is showing multiple people who are using one camera in a single conference room in multiple screens. This is a great way to make sure everyone can see each person in the conference room and promote a more collaborative meeting.
Pricing for Zoom Rooms is $499 per year, per room. If you need to purchase hardware, Zoom can add that for a monthly fee — just reach out directly for pricing.
If you’re currently using three different platforms for phone, chat, and video, Zoom United will consolidate them. In addition to video conferencing, you’ll get access to Zoom Phone. You can make calls from anywhere — including your computer, mobile device, or desk phone — with HD call quality.
Zoom United also includes Zoom Chat, which allows for instant internal or external communication. You can create public or private chats, add tags, and search and pin content within your chat threads.
While there are many other well-known chat apps nowadays, using Zoom for both your video calls and messaging definitely cuts back on extra monthly bills your company may be paying for multiple services.
Zoom United’s pricing plan is split into three tiers: Pro, Business, and Enterprise.
The differences mainly come down to the meeting attendee count, with Pro allowing for 100, Business permitting 300, and Enterprise allowing the most attendees at 500. The prices for Pro, Business, and Enterprise accounts are billed yearly per user, and they break down to $250, $300, and $360, respectively.
Zoom Contact Center
Zoom Contact Center is Zoom for businesses that need to connect with customers. Think of it as a command center that includes all the major channels for customer contact — including phone, SMS, and webchat.
Plus, in typical Zoom fashion, the whole platform is optimized for video. If your business is already using Zoom for communication within the company, adding Zoom Contact Center will cut back on redundant communication platforms.
Management can take advantage of the “agent skills” feature, which lets you categorize your service agents based on their specialties. This ensures your customers can connect to the proper agent right away, and it creates an efficient work queue.
Contact Center is also great at measuring performance data — so you can get real-time updates on how your team is handling calls.
You can get pricing info directly from a Zoom sales rep.
Optional add-on plans
In addition to the plans above, Zoom offers some optional add-ons for licensed users that might fit your specific video conferencing needs.
If you think you need extra storage for the important video calls and webinars you’ll be hosting, you might consider adding up to 3 TB of storage a month. You can download, store, and stream your files from the Zoom Cloud starting at $480 per year.
If you need call out, global toll-free, and local dial-in numbers for premium countries, Zoom’s Audio Conferencing add-on will take you beyond the limits of local toll numbers that are included with all paid plans. Pricing starts at $1,200 per year, based on rates specific to the country.
This add-on will get you direct support from engineers who are ready to diagnose problems via chat, phone, or email. The site doesn’t specifically mention pricing, but it suggests reaching out to a specialist via the online form.
Premiere Developer Support
Looking for the same premiere support but for developer-specific resources? This add-on will be worth the additional cost if you need more than one support plan. The pricing and eligibility gets a little complicated, but you can check it out directly on Zoom’s website.
If you need to expand your meeting room to either 500 or 1,000 interactive participants, consider this add-on that will cost you either $600 or $1,080 per year, respectively.
Collaborate with your team in real time via a digital whiteboard with sticky notes, drawing tools, and more. While this feature is included with all accounts, if you want unlimited whiteboards, you can add it to a Meetings Pro plan for an additional $24.90 per year.
When you’re ready to move from a free account to a paid account, Zoom has an array of options. The different packages are clearly defined and offer the flexibility to make Zoom work for your business regardless of its size.