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 24 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 host, with a maximum of nine hosts. You can purchase the Large Meeting add-on to include more participants in your meetings. This add-on starts at $50 per month, per host for 500 participants (for a total cost of $64.99 per month, per host).
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 host, with a minimum of 10 hosts. The Large Meeting add-on starts at $50 per month, per host (for a total cost of $69.99 per month, per host).
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 host, with a minimum of 100 hosts. The Large Meeting Add-on starts at $50 per month, per host (for a total cost of $69.99 per month, per host).
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 Meeting 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.
Pricing starts at $200 per month, per account.
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.