Just a few years ago, the word ‘zoom’ would evoke either the buzzing sound of something zipping past you very quickly, or the action of enlarging something to view it better on your iPhone or Android. Now the word has taken on new meaning in the web conferencing software that has taken the world by storm.
The buzz about Zoom (zoom.us), a now highly-successful digital communications platform, has been heard by workers around the world – particularly those working remotely. Forbes dubbed it ‘Best In Class For Video Conferencing’ and credits the company as a key helper in navigating the forced shutdowns of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the video conferencing software has undoubtedly been a game-changer for many, it is not without its limitations. This includes its literal limitations in terms of the features it supports as well as some broader limitations which are not necessarily unique to Zoom. Let’s take a closer look at both and what options you might have to work around them.
Humans aren’t perfect, so we can’t realistically expect our technology to be either.
Video communications technologies might initially seem to be perfect ways to bring people together (without actually bringing them together.) But each has its own flaws that are worth discussing. In the case of Zoom, there are a few we'd like to point out.
First, let's talk numbers. Both Zoom free accounts and Pro accounts are limited to 100 participants maximum. If you have a paid Business account, you can have meetings that include up to 300 participants, and with an Enterprise account, that number jumps to 500.
But unless people are sharing devices, Zoom closes the virtual door on additional people who want to join you.
So while this is great for smaller group meetings, it's not exactly ideal for large meetings or webinars. The admission limit is especially unhelpful when you have a lot of people to talk to and want to give everyone a chance to speak, but can’t because of time limitations – which brings us to our next point.
After the admission limits for free plans and paid Zoom accounts, another issue with Zoom is its limits on meeting duration. The 40-minute time limit for free users can be a bit of a problem if you’re trying to use the software for something like an online class and can’t afford the additional costs of a paid account.
To get around this limitation, if you need to meet with someone for more than 40 minutes, you might want to consider using different software or (as a workaround) scheduling meetings multiple times in a row instead.
When it comes to webinars, Zoom gets a little more complicated. The number of webinars you can host is determined by your account type: Zoom Webinar or Zoom Events. These are different from other Zoom accounts, or the Large Meetings add-on, which starts at $67 per month.
With no limit to the number of webinars you can have, this looks pretty good. What’s worth noting, however, is the cost.
$106 per month for 500 participants is the lowest tier plan. If you’re expecting to host 1,000 people on your webinar, you’d need to get the appropriate package, which charges $452 per month instead.
Navigating these plans and pricing is one of the downsides to the new Zoom, which has expanded to provide a more complex range of offerings.
Have you ever been on a Zoom meeting that was recorded? If you have, you may have heard the host mention that the recording would be stored in the cloud.
Free basic plans, as you might expect, get no access to cloud storage. Pro plans and Business licenses both get 1 GB of cloud storage. To put that into perspective, one hour of video at 720p requires about 1 GB of storage.
Enterprise accounts, by comparison, get unlimited cloud storage.
Zoom’s Gallery View is the layout that displays the most number of participants at once in a grid across the user’s screen.
Some of these limitations are unique to Zoom. Others are not. It’s important to understand that there are wider limitations to live meeting software, and these are constraints users generally feel the more familiar they become with them.
Have you ever been in a meeting or video call, and thought that your time could be better spent on literally anything else?
If so, you’re not alone. Numerous studies have found that meetings are considered to be one of the most wasteful activities in the workplace. And unfortunately, jumping on a Zoom call or joining a Google Meet isn’t much better as far as meetings go.
Live meetings are still live meetings, even if they occur across the ones and zeros of the Internet. With the sudden increase of remote work following the outbreak of COVID-19, live meetings may have actually increased instead of decreased in many cases.
One of the hardest things about working with other people is finding time to actually work with them.
Live meetings are a great way to connect with people in different time zones or locations, but they have their limitations. The biggest one is that live meetings require everyone to be available at the same time.
This can be a big problem if you're working with people in different time zones, or if someone has to step out for an emergency.
It's also worth noting that live meetings can be disruptive to your workflow. If you're in the middle of something and have to stop what you're doing to attend a new meeting, it can be hard to get back into the flow of things afterward.
Flow is a powerful thing, which is why jumping between tasks and platforms in quick concession can be both uncomfortable and inefficient. Smart outreach SaaS platforms, like LaGrowthMachine, let you create fully personalized, multi-channel conversations at scale without having to break out of your flow state.
There are only 24 hours in a day. We only have a limited number of hours to get our work done, and as the world becomes more and more connected, it seems like we're spending more and more time in meetings.
It's not uncommon for people to spend hours in meetings every day. While some of those meetings are necessary, a lot of them are not.
But even if you only have one or two meetings per day, that's still time that you could be using to get actual work done – and the problem with Zoom (and other live meeting software) is that it's very easy to have too many meetings.
There is always a limit to the number of live meetings you can hold. Once you hit that limit, all of your meetings will be scheduled for the same time slot. That means that you'll either have to choose which meetings to attend, or you'll have to purchase a larger plan that can accommodate more meeting time slots.
In our on-demand world, people are used to getting what they want, when they want it. This is especially true when it comes to content consumption. We’re all used to being able to access things on-demand; we can watch TV shows and movies whenever we want, listen to music whenever we want, and so on.
Think of everyone you know who’s subscribed to a streaming service; it’s a market that’s grown from 17 billion to 67 billion USD since 2016.
But when it comes to live meetings, we have to be available at a specific time, or we miss out. This is especially difficult when you take into account the fact that people are spread out all over the world in different time zones.
In live meetings, the host has to worry about technical difficulties, internet connection problems, and making sure they don’t accidentally miss something, all of which can lead to a less than successful meeting.
Meanwhile, the participants have to contend with their own individual problems, such as trying to stay focused when they’re not in a traditional meeting setting or dealing with distractions at home.
Live meetings will always be necessary and important, so that means continuing to navigate their limitations as best you can. However, some live meetings can be more frustrating than others when you are repeatedly delivering the exact same content every time and every meeting is more or less the same. This includes things like sales pitches, product demos, training sessions, and onboarding.
Customer success teams, for example, often find themselves presenting the exact same onboarding session over and over again to new customers. While this kind of high-touch approach is effective, it is unscalable and can be exhausting and demoralizing.
If you or your team find yourselves giving the exact same virtual presentation over and over again, there is a way to get around the broader limitations of Zoom we described above, which is to automate those meetings with on-demand webinar software, like eWebinar.
eWebinar is an automated webinar solution that combines pre-recorded video with preset interactions and live chat to consistently deliver an engaging experience for attendees without you needing to be there to host any sessions live.
Let’s quickly look again at the 5 broader limitations of Zoom meetings and webinars to demonstrate how eWebinar breaks through them all:
If you are interested in learning more about how eWebinar can help you overcome the limitations of repetitive live Zoom meetings, join a 20-minute on-demand demo now!
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