When the best video conferencing app fails

I’ve used a lot of different video conferencing software during the last nearly 12 years of working full time. I’ve used WebEx, Go-To Meeting, Join.me, Google Hangouts, Clearslide (truly the worst, and of course, predictably, the very worst company I worked at licensed their disgusting software), among others that I cannot even remember now. But until I joined my latest company, I had never experienced the beauty and glory that is Zoom. Zoom is truly everything amazing and everything one can ask for when it comes to video conferencing software. It is so intuitive that it pretty much defines “intuitive.”

You do not need to download any new software or apps; if you simply have the meeting link or dial-in number, you can click on the link, immediately be added to the conference, and listen in via your phone if you prefer phone audio. No stupid plug-ins or applications to install. The app is the most intuitive. Want to screen share? Click the big green “SHARE SCREEN” button on the bottom. Want to end the meeting? Click the red “LEAVE MEETING” on the bottom right. Want to raise your hand to ask a question and not seem rude to to the presenter? There’s that option, too! On top of that, you can even create a white-board, sub-conference rooms. Concerned about not getting enough sleep last night? Well, there’s a solution for that, too: enable airbrushing on your video! And the sugar on top for fun: you can change your video background (in the event you don’t want your colleagues to see what your bedroom looks like if that’s the only available room in your house to take a video call). Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time (or so it looks like) in Newfoundland in my work meetings.

So while it was great news to hear that Zoom decided to make their app free for non-businesses during the current COVID-19 pandemic and allow the world to easily connect with their loved ones while we all self-quarantine, it was frustrating this morning to find out that my meeting quality was not as high; the audio was failing. Other times, the video was not working. Screen-sharing was lagging. I ended up rescheduling a meeting today for another time because of this failure. I don’t think they had enough bandwidth to cover for their extreme generosity, and so now, even if only temporarily, people like me have to suffer a little.

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