Platform Rumble: Zoom

Read on to see how Zoom holds up as a platform, its strengths, weaknesses, and ultimately its Alt Score.

Introduction

Maybe you’ve heard of this one?

As our inaugural episode of the platform rumble, we thought it only logical to review the most popular platform of lockdown. Pushed to its limit and used for anything from catching up with friends to conferences in their hundreds.

Let’s get going then.

What makes Zoom special?

I think we have to start off with an immediate 50 points for completely dominating the market. And in my opinion, they’ve done it by religiously sticking to the following:

  • Keep it simple – their mission statement is “make video communication frictionless”, and I’d argue they’ve stayed pretty true to that. A simple interface and the ability to start a call rapidly are just some of the reasons they came out the block fast when video conferencing was adopted by the masses. And their low technical competence bar meant no part of the masses were excluded. +10 points.
  • Get their first – release fast, perfect it later. MS Teams and Google Hangouts/Meet couldn’t keep up, with features like Breakout Rooms flying out the doors of Zoom. +20 points. Although -10 points for getting out there so fast that they dabbled in some lax security in the early days of the first lockdown.
  • Be reliable – I’ve seen it go down in a “significant way” once. That’s it. +10 points.

Getting down to brass tax…

Zoom consistently releases features that seem to fly under the radar, but many of them add real value. In September 2020, they released a feature enabling people to move between breakout rooms themselves, rather than needing a Host to move them. This is an invaluable feature for mimicking that “wandering” format of things like conferences (+30 points).

They’ve paid attention to the every day issues as well. For example screen sharing video cleanly and reliably remains a challenge for many competitors. Zoom has just released the ability for Zoom to basically “play” a video as if uploaded to Zoom, giving you pause, play, volume control and full screen capabilities while it runs. This gives you a much cleaner and stable stream compared to the classic screen share. +30 points for that one.

We should also give them another +10 points for keeping licenses pretty cheap. It’s mostly in the £10s, not the £100s.

Its weakness remains twofold:

  • Update release coverage – Zoom has done incredibly well to convince so many people to download the application, rather than use it in the browser. However users rarely update their application on a regular basis, meaning using Zoom’s new features can be patchy depending on how “update-happy” your guests are. -10 points.
  • Visuals – its not the prettiest looking platform in the world. Fair play, its not top of Zoom’s list, but that’s still another -10 points.

VERDICT – 130 Alt Points

Zoom remains dominant for a reason – I’d encourage you to make sure you’ve installed the latest version and check out some features you probably didn’t know were there…

Level complete, select your next adventure…

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